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No More Racist Smiles: Darlie Toothpaste To Rebrand Chinese Name

No More Racist Smiles: Darlie Toothpaste To Rebrand Chinese Name

The Chinese name of Darlie means black man toothpaste.

Fernando Fong

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A leopard cannot change its spots, but a brand name certainly can.

Online publication Marketing Interactive reported that the famous Darlie toothpaste will have a new Chinese name starting March 2022.

Taiwan-based Hawley & Hazel, which owns the brand, will change Darlie’s current name in Chinese (黑人牙膏) to “Haolai” (好來) which reflects Hawley & Hazel’s name in Chinese.

黑人牙膏, which reads hēirén yágāo, literally translates to “black man toothpaste”.

Hawley & Hazel said the change is in accordance with Darlie’s brand mantra of “Good Things Come with a Smile”.

The mantra represents the company’s mission to help people exude confidence with more smiles.

A Darlie ad in China. (Source: Facebook)

Besides the name change, the brand will also use more stylish fonts while emphasizing the signature Darlie smile.

Hawley & Hazel said the rename will improve Darlie’s brand purpose in accordance with the company’s values.

Darlie’s English name will remain unchanged.

Darlie’s name and design changed over the decades. (Credit: Sinoplice)

Dark Matter

Before changing its name, Darlie was known as “Darkie”.

The word “Darkie” is very popular in America and Europe, referring to blacks.

This created tension among blacks at the time, as they thought it contained racist elements.

Not only that, the black man’s logo on the packaging was also changed to a more polite logo.

In fact, the name “Darlie” itself means “black person” in Chinese.

Following the change of name and logo, the toothpaste expanded its market to several Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand where their names and logos are no longer considered offensive.

By 1989, their products had entered the Taiwan market 75%, Singapore 50%, and another 30%in Malaysia.

What’s In A Name

Hawley & Hazel marketed Darkie toothpaste as a parody of an American minstrel performer, Al Jolson, who was famous for his blackface performances.

Darky, or darkie, is a racist term used primarily in the Western World to refer to black people.

According to lexicographer Richard A. Spears, the word “darkie” used to be considered mild and polite, before it took on a derogatory and provocative meaning.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines darkie as an insulting and contemptuous term for a black person.

A Darkie ad. (Credit: SCMP)

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