Nivea Gets Rid Of Racist Uncivilized Black Man Ad, Apologizes For Being Inappropriate & Offensive

- By Bossip Staff

So Nivea thought it was a good idea to print an ad showing an unshaven black man and saying that’s the epitome of uncivilized…now they’re sorry:

Boiling over on Twitter this afternoon are claims that a print ad for Nivea’s “Give a Damn Campaign” is racist. It features a clean-shaven black man getting ready to toss away his scraggly unshaven head and the words “Re-Civilize Yourself.” The debate is being helped along by any number of sites, including Clutch, The Root and Huffington Post, all of which have posed a version of the question “Is this ad racist?” along with a photo of the ad.

But what few of them are doing is running the other ad in the campaign, which features a clean-shaven white guy getting ready to toss away his scraggly unshaven head and the words, “Sin City isn’t an excuse to look like hell.”

Some wondered if at any point during approval a red flag was raised by someone on Nivea’s marketing team or someone at agency DraftFCB. The entire debate–including demands that Rihanna drop her association with Nivea–could likely have been avoided if the company had simply swapped the ad copy.

One thing I noticed while watching the debate was there was split opinion in the black community as to whether the ad was actually racist. On Facebook, “Tii’s Natural Hair Care Fan Page” posted the ads side by side and wrote, “In my opinion, if you look at both ads, you can clearly see that they are referring to cavemen…not afros.” And many of Rihanna’s fans argued she had no reason to drop the brand. Those folks seemed outnumbered by and countered by people who weren’t asking questions and were just plain angry.

One tweet baldly stated that “Nivea claims that black people aren’t civilized.” Others called the ad “unapologetically racist.”

All that said, Nivea wasn’t interested in debating its ad, instead, taking to Facebook with the following message:

“Thank you for caring enough to give us your feedback about the recent ‘Re-civilized’ NIVEA FOR MEN ad. This ad was inappropriate and offensive. It was never our intention to offend anyone, and for this we are deeply sorry. This ad will never be used again. Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of our company.”
In a longer statement Beiersdorf, Nivea’s parent company, said, “Beiersdorf, as a company, represents diversity, tolerance and equal opportunity. Direct and indirect discrimination must be ruled out in all decisions and in all areas of the company.”



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  • godsgem

    I’m glad black people stood up and made a difference. No stop buying their products!! Show them how civil we really are!

  • homicidalbrainiac

    I don’t think it was intentionally racist. I can definitely see why some people are upset, but I don’t think that was the genuine intent of the company. I’m sure like most companies, Nivea’s first interest is making the most profit that they can. I don’t believe they would spend money on an ad campaign designed to alienate a large portion of consumers. The slogan could have easily been used for either ad. It was an innocent faux pas in my opinion.

  • Fuego

    This was blown way out of proportion…

  • iLovSpanishWomen!!

    Uuugghh! Enough w the f*kn race card!! Go get a job n maybe you’ll be busy enough to not notice these things and show them how “civilized” we really r!!

  • thunderkitty

    @homicidalbrainiac~Co-sign, this one slipped through the cracks, I don’t think this was intentional. I just hope companies don’t stop representing us in ads for fear of backlash like this…

  • southern twist

    I don’t think its racist i mean just show a male with alot of hair! Black guys when there hair grow out its an afro when white males hair grow out its long stop being so dayum sensitive

  • Use your third eye first!

    Its not about the pictures, its the words. The ad with the black man states “re-civilize yourself” the ad with the white man is about a weekend trip to vegas. Why both of the ads couldn’t say re-civilize yourself? Think people!

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