Clicks hair advert: senior exec resigns, TRESemmé to be removed from shelves, employees suspended

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Clicks will be delisting and removing all TRESemmé products from shelf with immediate effect and will be replacing the gap with locally sourced haircare brands.
Clicks will be delisting and removing all TRESemmé products from shelf with immediate effect and will be replacing the gap with locally sourced haircare brands.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images
  • Clicks has removed the TRESemmé brand from its shelves and has vowed to expand its range of local hair products. 
  • This follows nationwide protests over an offensive advertisement that described black women's hair as damaged and dull. 
  • Clicks has also suspended all the employees involved in the advertising campaign and has accepted a senior executive's resignation. 

The Clicks retail group said on Tuesday that it would delist the TRESemmé brand, expand its range of local haircare products and work with the government to develop the local beauty market.

It has also suspended all the employees involved in the advertising campaign that infuriated the EFF and led to nationwide protests on Monday.

READ | Clicks protests continue in Pretoria

On Monday, the EFF targeted Clicks stores nationwide to protest against the hair advertisement that described the hair of the two black women as "dry and damaged" and "frizzy and dull", but the hair of two white women as "fine and flat" and "normal".

Clicks said 425 stores in the country had been affected by the protests but that it was too early to assess the nature of the damage caused by vandalism. Some stores were torched.

On Tuesday, the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg granted an interdict, preventing the EFF from intimidating Clicks staff or customers, but said peaceful protests could continue. 

Employees suspended

In a statement on Tuesday, Clicks CEO Vikesh Ramsunder said all employees responsible for publishing the offensive advertisement had been suspended.

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"Clicks has also accepted the resignation of the senior executive responsible. Clicks is implementing a number of proactive measures to drive diversity and inclusivity, while helping to develop and expand the local beauty market, in partnership with the government."

Ramsunder said all suspended employees would go through a fair and unbiased disciplinary hearing, overseen by an independent, outside chairperson.

He added that Clicks would delist and remove all TRESemmé products from its shelves with immediate effect and would replace them with locally sourced haircare brands of which Clicks "has an extensive range already".


"Furthermore, Clicks will be engaging with all suppliers to enforce their ethical code of conduct. In addition, Clicks has been involved in extensive discussions with the Departments of Labour and Trade and Industry over the past few days and will be working closely with them to help develop the local beauty market in South Africa.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Clicks hair ad: Enough is enough

"We recognise this event has had a significant impact on our people and our customers and we have taken a decision to close our stores for a day on Wednesday, 9 September. We will use this opportunity to engage directly with all our store staff across the county, to provide counselling and support. We will be supported by the ICAS Employee Health and Wellness Programme.   

"We are prioritising our diversity and inclusion training programme for our head office staff. We will be reviewing its content, extending it wider and implementing with more urgency and focus. We are working with the [police] to ensure the safety of our staff, customers and members of the public, and thank them for continuing to shop with us," Ramsunder said.

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