It’s been a bad week for brands. Just after Pepsi released (and then pulled) an ad featuring Kendall Jenner quelling a protest by handing a Pepsi to a police officer, another brand appears to have provoked social media ire. Nivea retracted a deodorant ad today with the slogan “White Is Purity” after it attracted serious backlash.
— ⚡️Hayley ⚡ (@HayleyZorEl) April 3, 2017
The ad, which feature a woman with wavy tresses tumbling over an all-white outfit, was posted on Facebook and targeted at followers in the Middle East. But people were quick to condemn the German skin care company’s message, linking it with white supremacy.
— Cecilia Davenport (@CWDaven) April 3, 2017
Pepsi: We've done it. We've created the most tone-deaf ad of the week. Maybe the year!
Nivea: Hold my beer. pic.twitter.com/jdNfdvqjOg
— Madison M. K. (@4evrmalone) April 5, 2017
— Élan B (@_NaturallyChic) April 3, 2017
On the other hand, the campaign was also picked up by alt-right and white supremacist groups, which commented with imagery of Hitler and Pepe the Frog, who was branded a hate symbol last year.
This isn’t the first time Nivea has been accused of racist marketing. In 2011, the company ran an ad for its Nivea Men line featuring a black man tossing a black head with an Afro along with the tagline “Re-Civilize yourself.”
The company has since pulled the “White Is Purity” ad off Facebook and issued a statement saying, “That image was inappropriate and not reflective of our values as a company. We deeply apologize for that and have removed the post. Diversity and inclusivity are crucial values of NIVEA. We take pride in creating products that promote beauty in all forms. Discrimination of any kind is simply not acceptable to us as a company, as employees, or as individuals.”
The brand also spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday sending apology tweets to anyone offended.
— NIVEA USA (@NIVEAUSA) April 5, 2017
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