Friday, August 19, 2011

“Nivea for Men” AD Controversy…

nivea-1Recently a new ad campaign was released to promote the “Nivea for Men” skincare line.  Two models were used, an African-American(Black), the other Anglo-American(White).  The controversy was created when a storm of consumers reported to Nivea that the ad with the Black model was offensive.  The ad shows a clean shaven black model, holding a mannequin head of a black male with coarse hair depicting an afro and full facial hair with the words “”RE-CIVILIZE YOURSELF”” written in bold type overlaying the picture.  At first glance it gives the appearance that the ad is subliminally saying that natural, coarse African-American hair is uncivilized and I tend to agree, it does appear to focus on that.
What’s interesting to me is that Nivea’s products are specifically for the skin, not for hair, so why was there Nivea2a need to depict unkempt hair as obsessed to an unshaven man with a  full beard and moustache since that’s the central product lines focus?  Now if you compared this ad to the one with the White model, they are almost identical, with the White model holding a mannequins head depicting a white male with unkempt hair and full facial hair, however it uses the words””SIN CITY ISN’T AN EXCUSE TO LOOK LIKE HELL!”.  Both ads however have the ad disclaimer, “LOOK LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN”, which is another key reason why so many were offended. 
I don’t feel like the ad was intentionally used to disrespect one group of people over another, but you would think that Nivea’s public relations and marketing departments would use a bit more scrutiny in approving their ad designs.  The backlash lead to Nivea officially offering a public apology and ad retraction.  It was even brought to light that the executive over the entire Nivea Men’s care line ad campaign is African-American himself.  Even with such revelations, all parties should be more sensitive to not offending consumers.  In particular African-Americans, who out of all consumers in the United States spend the most on hair & beauty products collectively.  All in all, Nivea, let’s get it together!  P.S. – Your face and body lotion for men is phenomenal!  If you would like to send me some samples please feel free to email me:, thanks in advance!
[All pictures are property of Nivea, Inc.  For more information on their product line please visit]


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