Nivea pulls ‘white is purity’ ad after backlash

The official Nivea page on Facebook is putting out 'pro skin whitening' adverts with the slogan 'white is purity' Source: Facebook

Nivea has withdrawn an advert that was branded racist on social media and shared by right wing groups.

Used on their Facebook page, in a post that was geographically targeted to appear for users in the Middle East, the caption underneath read “Keep it clean, keep it bright”.

Although obviously referring to the product, the German brand nearly immediately faced complaints on the post that was captioned: “Keep it clean, keep it bright”.

Crisis communications expert Nicole Matejic says that while uproar over the Nivea ad is not surprising, the situation shows that even when a brand comes up with an angle they think will work for their customer base, the nature of social media is that all ads can be seen by a much wider audience.

The ad for its “invisible” women’s deodorant was posted on the brand’s Facebook page and featured a model pictured from the back, wearing a white robe, with the slogan “white is purity” written in blue capital letters.

Nivea said it rejects all forms of discrimination. “Don’t let anything ruin it, #Invisible”. We sincerely apologise. The post has been removed.

Nivea immediately apologised and removed the image following a groundswell of consumer backlash, with the brand’s owner, German cosmetics producer Beiersdorf, saying in a statement it was “deeply sorry” for the image.

“Diversity, tolerance and equal opportunity are fundamental values of NIVEA”, they added. “We value difference. Direct or indirect discrimination must be ruled out in all decisions by, and in all areas of our activities”.