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Armpit of America ad stinks: Dove yanks plans for unflattering NJ billboard

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The Armpit of America. The uncomplimentary moniker is applied to only one place in America – New Jersey. Unilever Inc., maker of Dove brand deodorant, wanted to freshen the “pit” up some with an ad campaign that asked New Jerseyans to embrace their fetid ways.

But according to ABC News on Tuesday, the planned promotion came crashing to a halt after residents of the armpit-shaped state expressed their disgust.

Dove’s proposed Nutrition Moisture deodorant ad showed a woman with her arm raised, smiling proudly next to a message that read:

Dear New Jersey, When people call you “The Armpit of America,” take it as a compliment. Sincerely, Dove

Offended Facebook users posted on Dove's page in response to the ad, expressing their aversion at Dove for playing up the state’s unofficial nickname.

“Memo to Dove advertising (aka idiots): good luck selling in NJ. I will not buy a Dove product again,” one Facebook user wrote.

“You backhandedly insult NJ and then you try to squirm out of it?” wrote another.

Unilever responded to Facebook users with the statement:

“Thank you for your comments. With our 'Dear New Jersey' advertisement, Dove deodorant never intended to upset the residents of the state. As a result of your feedback, Dove deodorant will not be moving forward with publishing or displaying this ad.”

Why is New Jersey an “armpit?” The state has a blogger that posted the following under the site armpitnj.com:

Obviously, the state is famous the horrible odors that emanate from within its borders. All the factories, oil refineries, skunks, and skanks combine to make a unique brand of BO. Also, New Jersey generally has a bad reputation for its pollution, corrupt politicians, mobsters, and, again, the skanks. For these reasons, just as the armpit is one of the least desirable parts of the body, New Jersey is one of the least desirable states.

Want even more proof of New Jersey’s status as the Armpit of America? Just look at a map of the United States and you’ll see how New Jersey is geographically the armpit of the nation.

Matthew McCarthy, senior marketing director at Unilever, explained their thinking behind the malodorous ad.

"We did not wish to cause any misunderstanding and apologize for any offense. Our intent with the 'Dear New Jersey' billboard, which was one of many ads for our campaign, was to call attention to the fact that armpits can and should be considered beautiful and ask women everywhere to accept this as something that is okay," he said in a statement. "As a New Jersey-based company and longtime supporter of many charitable organizations in the state, we will instead be donating this billboard space to one of them."

Think residents from New Jersey are being too thin-skinned when it comes to the state's reputation as the stinkiest place in the union? Or did Dove go too far? Let me know below.

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