August 19th, 2011
Nivea Apologizes for Wanting to 'Re-Civilize' Black Man
Oh, those uncivilized black people—when will they get with the program? Perhaps they should try Nivea’s grooming products! That’s the message of the “Re-Civilize Yourself” Nivea ad above, as a black man brandishes the large-afroed, disembodied head of his former, uncivilized self and prepares to give it the old heave-ho.
The image isn’t going over well, particularly with those who think the head kind of looks like Cornel West. There is a white-man version (see below), but there’s no talk of re-civilizing him. (His ad reads, “Sin City isn’t an excuse to look like hell.")
A person close to the situation tells us the “Re-Civilize” ad ran only once, as part of an advertorial in Esquire. Executives at Draftfcb in New York, which created the ad, referred our calls to Nivea. The brand’s parent company, Beiersdorf USA, emailed us this statement: “We are deeply sorry for a recent ‘Re-civilized’ Nivea For Men ad. This ad was inappropriate and offensive. Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values at Beiersdorf and we do not tolerate insensitivity. It was never our intention to offend anyone and for this we are deeply sorry. This ad will never be used again. 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.”