First things first: this ad is outrageously offensive.The ad — promoting Nivea’s line of men’s skincare products — features a neatly dressed black male model about to toss the decapitated head of another black man with an afro and beard.
The ad’s message? “Re-civilize yourself.”
As Styleite’s Justin Fenner writes:
“The message here is clear: If you’re black, embracing a tonsorial style that isn’t close cropped and clean-shaven will make you look like a total beast and no one will ever trust or hire you. You’d better run to CVS and get some Nivea products before your chance for a good life washes down the drain! Offensive? Absofuckinglutely. True? Not at all.”
While Nivea has other ads with other models that boast the campaign’s tagline “Look Like You Give A Damn” (including one featuring a white male model holding the decapitated head of man with shaggy hair and a beard) this ad is the only one to mention re-civilisation.
After sparking outrage and claims of racism, Nivea pulled the ad Thursday afternoon, according to the Huffington Post.
Nivea also posted this 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.”
Here’s a look at the full ad below.