Nivea Says 'White Is Purity' In Controversial New Ad

Nivea pulls a deodorant ad with questionable language that white supremacists took as a nod to their movement. The world thinks they should have known better.

Wikimedia Commons: Holger.Ellgaard

Skin care giant Nivea touched on a sensitive topic in their recent deodorant ad, and it caught the attention of white supremacists and everyone else.

The ad was meant to sell their Invisible for Black & White spray deodorant and originally appeared on the company's Middle East Facebook page. Beiersdorf, the German company that owns Nivea, has deleted the ad, but another ad for the same deodorant still appears on the page and isn't any better.

The company has apologized for their racial insensitivity and has sought to re-establish their views on equality and diversity, especially since white supremacists on the internet apparently took the ads as a corporate wink toward their movement.

Mic reported that threads on Twitter and 4chan lit up with comments about the ad as members called on each other to give their support to the brand. However, while racists rallied, others took massive issue with Nivea. One Facebook user called out the company's trend toward racism by placing this new Nivea ad next to another that caused equal controversy in 2011.

As Nivea should have known, people didn't react well to their foolishness — proven by the fact that it didn't take long for #Nivea to take off on social media.

In response to public outrage that the other Middle East Facebook page ad remained, a Beiersdorf representative stated that the ad was part of a broader campaign throughout the region that linked the color black with strength and white with purity.

"We never intended to hurt anybody or raise any wrong interpretation," they said.

That's good to hear, but let's be a little more aware, Nivea. White and black are not just colors on the color wheel and haven't been for some time; in a world crippled by racism, those words come loaded.

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Fabian Bimmer

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