Colgate reviewing Asian toothpaste brand Darlie amid race debate

The name of the toothpaste in Mandarin is “Black Person Toothpaste”

  4997
Darlie toothpaste (Taiwan News photo)

Darlie toothpaste (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Colgate-Palmolive on Thursday said it is reviewing its Asian toothpaste brand Darlie due to racial equality protests in the U.S.

Darlie is a popular toothpaste brand in Asia owned by Colgate and its joint-venture partner Hawley & Hazel, Reuters reported. The brand used to be called “Darkie” and at one time featured a man in blackface wearing a top hat on the packaging and toothpaste tube.

That image was then changed to a man wearing a top hat, but the name in Mandarin is still “Black Person Toothpaste” (黑人牙膏).

“For more than 35 years, we have been working together to evolve the brand, including substantial changes to the name, logo and packaging. We are currently working with our partner to review and further evolve all aspects of the brand, including the brand name,” a Colgate spokesperson told Reuters in an email.

Darlie controls 45 percent of the toothpaste market in Taiwan, 28 percent in Malaysia, 17 percent in China, and 21 percent in Singapore, according to Euromonitor International. Colgate paid $50 million for 50 percent of Hong-Kong based Hawley & Hazel, the makers of Darlie, in 1985, according to Reuters.

It made changes to the logo and English name in 1989 after pressure from shareholders and other groups, reported Reuters.


Darlie toothpaste in supermarket (Taiwan News photo)

Darlie toothpaste on shelves in Taiwan supermarket (Taiwan News photo)