Nivea Apologizes For Ad Some See as Racist

Mark R. Bryant, MSNBC, August19, 2011

Nivea USA, maker of skin care products, boosted its profile this week, but not in a civilized way.

An ad in Esquire magazine showed a clean-cut black man ready to heave a dark-skinned head with long locks and an unkempt beard, with the words, “Re-civilize yourself.” Reactions fanned across the Web, with accusations ranging from racism and ignorance to we’re-reading-too-much-into-this.

BlackAd.jpg

“Are you suggesting that Black men are uncivilized to begin with? There is too much history rooted in reducing Black people to comparisons to apes, monkeys, etc.,” wrote one blogger.

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(A similar ad image, but with a white man and no reference to re-civilizing, garnered no such blowback.)

WhiteAd.jpg

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A spokesman for the Nivea’s parent company, Germany’s Beiersdorf AG, passed along this mea culpa: “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.”

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  • Istvan

    You can never win with blacks. I get what was meant: a man needing a shave and a haircut will look more civilized after he cleans up with Nivea products. Of course they didn’t mean all blacks are uncivilized.

    Blacks are like children, little ones at that, they take everything literally. Not to mention they have a bad self image. And that is not OUR fault.

  • Mr.White

    Hmm….the black guy doing the ad apparently didn’t have any problems with it. Imagine that….

  • Anonymous

    “Are you suggesting that Black men are uncivilized to begin with? There is too much history rooted in reducing Black people to comparisons to apes, monkeys, etc.,” wrote one blogger.

    ==> Actually, only the blogger is suggesting that. Which speaks volumes about what he or she really thinks.

    “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.”

    ==> Well, they failed, because now they’ve gone and offended me, by pandering at such a base level, instead of telling people to get a grip. Furthermore, “diversity” is NOT a value, “equal opportunity” has nothing to do with this situation, and obviously they DID tolerate insensitivity, if they now think that the ad is insensitive. Finally, are they removing the “white” ad, too, or is that the kind of “insensitivity” they tolerate?

  • Pro-Magnum Man

    I think that liberals are actually shooting themselves in the foot with this complaint. Exactly what the blogger in the above piece was mentioning it. I doubt that a racist right-wing White would have gotten upset and caused a stir with”are you saying blacks are uncivilized”? Statement.

    No it’s usually the libs who put words in their own mouths about this type of thing. They are the true racists. They are probably the ones who thought of this. How stupid. Complain about something worthwhile for once in your shallow lives. Not a lame brain commercial. Uh-oh. I said lame brain. Who was I talking about, blacks or PC libbers? The second group, although many in the second fit the first.

  • Anonymous

    A spokesman for the Nivea’s parent company, Germany’s Beiersdorf AG, passed along this mea culpa: “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.”

    ————————————-

    And I will never buy Nivea again, since you offended ME by apologizing to blacks.

    So you go ahead and apologize to these blacks and keep praising the “diversity” values that you hold dear and I will refrain from purchasing any of your products forever.

  • Flatuleesha O’dur

    Have any of these people EVER seen photos of some of the slaves just in from Africa back in the 1800’s??? YES they were uncivilized — they were from tribes that hunted with spears and snares, and circumcised young boys as their “coming out” ritual. No anesthesia. REAL civilized, wouldn’t ya say? So people who squall and complain that “Africans aren’t uncivilized” — look to their “Roots” and think again. They certainly WERE uncivilized. Today, they don’t LOOK like their ancestors, but, if you check out the flash mobs, black on white beatings & murders, black rioting because they aren’t getting their way — I don’t see ANY difference between the BEHAVIOR of the Africans of the 1800’s and those of today.

  • Rhialto

    This is a good example of blacks dominating whites. If blacks tell whites that something is racist, whites must stop doing it – end of discussion.

    That said, I think this ad illustrates the importance of timing and sequencing in propganda. If Nivea had run the white ad first, then an ad using a Mongolian Genghis Khan type, then the uncivilized black ad, there probably would have been no reaction from blacks. Nivea would have established that all types of men should look metrofied, and that Nivea is not singling out one particular group.

  • Mr. Hyde

    “re-civilize yourself” infers the group in question was once civilized – sounds more like a compliment to me.

  • Anonymous

    I just found my new favorite product!

  • Anonymous

    As long as we are looking at advertisements there is an ad for some insurance company that goes like this: A black guy’s car is smashed up; he tears the exterior of the car off, and lo and behold (thanks to the insurance company) there is a new car underneath and he gets in and drives away. The visual though, shows him tearing the exterior off and just leaving the trash on the street! I am surprised there has been no outcry; I guess the professional protest class has not picked up on this.

  • Bo Sears
  • Brad

    “We are deeply sorry for a recent ‘Re-civilized’ NIVEA For Men ad. This ad was inappropriate and offensive…”

    Wimps!

    I use a certain Nivea after shave cream, that helps my skin. There are other alternatives, and I intend on using them now. Not because of the add, but rather their amazing limp wristed response to the PC crowd. Pathetic.

  • Anonymous

    Funny, but there’s no outrage at the GEICO ads (“So easy even a caveman can do it.”) that featured a *white* caveman. Imagine if they used a black man….

    Funny, but there’s no outrage at the CapitalOne ads that use *white* barbarians (“What’s in your wallet?”). Imagine if they used a black man….

    Actually, this racist double-standard is getting tiring. Seems like only whites, esp white men, can be the butt of jokes.

  • Brown-Eyed Devil

    Nivea deserves the heat for producing such disturbing images-whatever the racial makeup of the people portrayed in the ads. I grew up around ad folks, my mom worked in two major agencies in San Francisco in the 1960s & 70s. I met people in both firms that I still admire, like I did as a child, to this day, 50-something that I am. This is the hackwork of talentless careerists, members of the gaming console generation who are as souless as they are facile. It’s part and parcel with the continuing slide downwards of the West. Even in the minor disciplines we are constantly reminded of how far we’ve fallen.

    Well, stuff you, Nivea. Bow and scrape before the purveyors of multiculturalism. I’ll do what sensible folks do, and buy house brands.

  • Anonymous

    Looks like two great ads.

    Whites flip the page.

    Blacks pee their pants and scream.

    What’s new?

  • Anonymous

    What’s really wrong with the ad is that Blacks have never been civilized so it’s impossible to “re-civilize” them in the first place.

    Also, the mask that the Black man is holding suggests that sometime in the past he had more White-ish features, although hairy. After using Nivea, the White-ish apeman became more African looking, and therefore more “civilized”?

  • MrGJG

    Anon 7:08PM wrote,

    “Well, they failed, because now they’ve gone and offended me,”

    White people (assuming you’re white) can not be offended.

    White people can be racist, misogynist, nativist, nihilist, and a whole host of other ist’s denoting negativity, but they can never be offended.

    It’s known as white man’s burden, so I suggest you get used to it because it’s only going to get worse.

  • Anonymous

    It is so foolish for these companies to keep “apologizing” …blacks just hit them more and could care less.Actually it makes these companies look like pandering wimps.

  • Alexandra

    How can one “recivilize” oneself if one has never been civilized to begin with?

  • ProudtobeWhite

    Nivea ad execs need to grow a backbone and flip off the PC crowd. It bothers me that Germany is always so quick to grovel when a few whiners scream racism…

  • Anonymous

    Complaint I sent to Nivea via their website:

    I am offended that you chose to apologize for your ‘Re-civilized’ ad. Groveling to black hate groups is a sign of weakness and shows that you are a company without principles. I will not purchase any more of the face scrub product from your company after my current supply runs out. Any company that promotes the idea that “diversity” is a crucial value, is a company that is working towards the destruction of western society. Shame on you.

  • AmericaFirst

    To Brad at #12 and Brown-eyed Devil at 314: I’m with you. I have regularly used Nivea products for myself, but not any more.

  • Daniel

    @ Istvan. Actually you may be wrong. I have heard that research indicates that blacks have an EXCEEDINGLY positive self-image. Imagine what happens when a population with an average I.Q. of 75 (85% is not the estimated real I.Q. but just that of the intellectual ‘elite’ i.e. those at school or in jobs) meets ANY non-narcissistic reality other than their own. “Serial killer? Jobless? Rapist? Zero entrepreneurialism? Ka-ching! Here’s to us!”

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    My head strong 17-year old decided to take himself out of 12th grade AP English this year and check into a ‘regular’ 12th grade English class called “College Prep English”, mainly to give himself a break.

    When he entered the “college prep” class he said the White, openly gay teacher was holding a copy of the black version of this ad ranting and raving to his students about how “racist” the ad was for the following reasons:

    1. The ad was set on a football field: RACIST!!

    2. The mask or head was black and about to be “thrown away:” RACIST!!

    3. The ad inferred that blacks are uncivilized: RACIST!!

    The 17-year old realized after rant #1 that he was in the WRONG class and wouldn’t be able to tolerate it, but couldn’t leave without making a statement. He told the teacher that HE, the teacher was making the ad racist, reading racism into the ad, that when blacks let their hair grow out, that’s what they look like, also, a lot of blacks play football, how exactly is that racist? Fortunately, the 17-year old, wise beyond his years, knew to get out — especially after he glanced at the fifth-grade level vocab list.

    Bottom line, the next 12th grade teacher wouldn’t take him, said he was too advanced and to get his *** back to the AP class, especially after the AP teacher called the office demanding that he be sent back. He came home with a cloud over his head about being sent back to AP English but was glad that he was able to say his piece in front of an entire classroom of students. I can only imagine what the rest of their lessons are going to be about!!

    Sigh. Time to talk to the 17-year old AGAIN. He sees so much injustice around him, and rightly so, that he can’t keep his mouth shut. I don’t mind him speaking out against discrimination against Whites, but he needs to be extra careful because of the PC Reign of Terror that we are forced to tip-toe around in. I don’t want him to get hurt, and I mean physically.

    Bon

  • Anonymous

    All I see now on TV commercials are blacks. Many commercials have zero whites in them now, but they dress up the blacks as middle class whites with polo shirts, etc.

    Many other commercials pair white women with black men. I see it so much now I feel that there’s an agenda at work here.

    Every single commercial I’ve seen in the past several years that has a white guy with a) a woman or b) a non-white, features the white guy being clueless and dorky, helped out by the savvy woman or luminous non-white who can barely contain his/her disdain for the clueless white dude.

    Lately it’s been in every TV show now too! Of course there’s Glee with it’s desparate diversity. But take for example the new show “Without a Trace” There are two prominent latinos on the detective squad – one a domincan girl with an accent and some more assimilated guy who moves easily in and out of Spanish. Then there’s the Haitian lead detective with her french name and deep, throaty voice. There’s a couple of white women and a couple of white dudes – one representative of an out-of-touch older generation, and the other a geeky sensitive guy.

    It goes on and on across the channels. I don’t want to watch TV anymore, because I don’t see my culture or people represented anymore.

  • Don’t take it too seriously

    The response of the company was professional and adequate. The apology was a business decision; it was not about whether the company intended to offend anyone, in the first place.

    But obviously many black people are so insecure that they felt offended. I guess this also one of the reasons why Hollywood casts almost exclusively white guys for the role of evil villains or idiots. Blacks or other races simply lack the self-confidence and feel easily offended. In fact, being able to not take yourself too seriously is a sign of self-confidence and power.

  • RegvlvsSeradly

    “Diversity and equal opportunity…”

    The first part of that statement cancels out the second.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Imagine what happens when a population with an average I.Q. of 75 meets ANY non-narcissistic reality other than their own.

    Daniel, you don’t know how right you are!!

    The self-esteem movement (which is actually a substitute for academics) was aimed at blacks and based on a pile of shifting sand — self-esteem is EARNED through one’s own hard work, drive and focus, it is not an endowment handed out without merit (although this is what I see constantly in the schools: black conflated self-esteem based on NOTHING reinforced with meaningless awards, ego-stroking and accolades in a self-perpetuating, endless cycle ).

    Professor J.Martin Rochester writes in Class Warfare:

    Studies by researchers at Case Western University and the University of Virginia found that artificially inflated self-esteem ungrounded in real accomplishments seems to be correlated with violent tendencies…many college students have unrealistically high opinions of themselves and are often unable to tolerate criticism, becoming violent when their exaggerated self-image comes up against someone who dares to say: ‘you are wrong.’

    Violent and criminal individuals have been repeatedly characterized as arrogant, confident, narcissistic, egotistical, assertive, proud and the like.

    No link has ever been found showing that self-esteem programs improve academics.

    Remember Je$$e Jack$on chanting to a black crowd: Repeat after me: I am somebody, I am somebody, I am somebody…

    Bon

  • Incognito

    It goes on and on across the channels. I don’t want to watch TV anymore, because I don’t see my culture or people represented anymore.

    Oh, they’re there all right –our people cast as the hopeless, stupid fat guy, foolish, clueless new guy, “racist” representative of the old guard who resents the new influx of “highly intelligent, educated, erudite” nonwhite employees against whom he’s hopelessly outmatched. Blacks are always available to look down on us, question our motives and “set us straight.”

    White culture is pictured as hopelessly racist, always looking for ways to shut out and discriminate against honorable nonwhites.

    You are right to turn off the TV. I’m about to put a bullet through mine! I also highly resent that I if I want cable or a satellite dish, I am forced to pay for BET and UNIVISION. That alone is a reason to boycott cable/satellite systems.

    Here are two excellent articles on the disparagement of whites in the movies and on TV:

    http://goo.gl/qxhGd

    http://goo.gl/n9Ffx

  • Question Diversity

    29 Incognito wrote:

    I also highly resent that I if I want cable or a satellite dish, I am forced to pay for BET and UNIVISION.

    There are people pushing for “a la carte” pricing for cable or sat systems, i.e. you pay for only the channels you want. Guess who is resisting it mightily? The NAACP, because they know BET would turn into a money pit overnight, and Viacom, their corporate owner, would shut it down before the next sunrise.