Skin Care Brand Nivea Sparks Outrage with Misguided ‘White Is Purity’ Ad

German skin care brand Nivea is under fire for posting an ad online with the phrase “White Is Purity” over an image of what appears to be a white woman dressed in white. Shortly after, social media followers responded with messages expressing their dislike and branding the ad as racist.  

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The ad, which appeared on Facebook, was targeted to the company’s social media followers in the Middle East and was meant to promote their “Invisible for Black and White” deodorant. “Keep it clean, keep bright. Don’t let anything ruin it, #invisible,” read the caption. Online commentators wasted no time in expressing how offensive the ad was to anyone who is any other color or race than white. And because the internet never forgets, social media users have resurrected a Nivea for Men ad from 2011 featuring an African American male with the tagline "Re-Civilize Yourself" that many found to also be racially offensive. 

Nivea has since deleted the ad and the brand’s parent company, Beiersdorf Global AG, issued a statement to the Washington Post apologizing for the inadvertently offensive ad: “That image was inappropriate and not reflective of our values as a company. We deeply apologize for that and have removed the post,” the statement read. “Diversity and inclusivity are crucial values of Nivea. We take pride in creating products that promote beauty in all forms. Discrimination of any kind is simply not acceptable to us as a company, as employees, or as individuals.”

Despite the brand’s quick response, many on social media remain up in arms about what some are calling a glaring misstep.