Nivea Apologizes for Racist Ad

Nivea Apologizes for Racist Ad

Company pulls controversial ad that asks Black men to “re-civilize” themselves.

Published August 19, 2011

Nivea has pulled a controversial ad featuring a Black man that many saw as racist and is now busy doing damage control.


The ad, which was published in the September issue of Esquire magazine, features a well-groomed Black man preparing to throw the head of another Black man sporting an Afro and a beard beside the text: “Re-civilize Yourself.” The ad, which ran as a part of Nivea’s “Look like you give a damn” campaign, left many to wonder, does having an Afro and a beard mean you don’t give a damn?


The ad caught the eye of Black blogger Septembre Anderson, who then tweeted it, igniting an uproar on Twitter.


"Adding Nivea to the list of companies that will not be getting my money," Anderson tweeted. "Post-racial my a$$..."


A similar ad from the “Look like you give a damn” campaign, featuring a white man,  does not include the “re-civilize” language and instead reads: “Sin City Isn’t An Excuse to Look Like Hell.”


Nivea has since issued the following apology on its Facebook page: "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."


All eyes are now on singer Rihanna, who recently inked a deal with Nivea earlier this spring. Many are awaiting a comment from her in response to the controversy but she has yet to make a statement.


Nivea is not the first cosmetics company to find itself in hot water over an offensive ad. Dove ignited a similar controversy with an ad featuring three women that seemed to suggest that using the product would turn the consumer from dark to light. And chocolate producer Cadbury found itself in trouble when it ran an ad comparing model Naomi Campbell to one of their chocolate bars.

Written by Naeesa Aziz


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