Nivea pulls ad deemed “racist”

I checked my calendar, just to be sure, and, yep, it’s 2017.  Whoever handles the Facebook account for Nivea’s Middle East division might want to update theirs.

This week, the skin care company found itself apologizing for an ad for its Invisible deodorant which reads “White is Purity”, featuring what appears to be a white woman sitting in her bedroom.  The caption on the Facebook post read “Keep it clean.  Keep it bright. Don’t let anything ruin it, #Invisible.”

It didn’t take long for Nivea to hear from the public. The company was assailed on social media with complaints about the racial insensitivity of the ad.

In the midst of this controversy, on the website 4Chan, some affiliated with the alt-right praised the ad, with one user writing “Nivea has chosen our side”.

After two days, Nivea pulled the ad and issued an apology.

“We are deeply sorry to anyone who may take offense to this specific post. After realizing that the post is misleading, it was immediately withdrawn.”

This is not the first time that the brand has been accused of racially-insensitive advertising.  In 2011, the company ran an ad showing a clean-shaven black man holding a mannequin’s head, which had an afro and a beard.  The caption of the ad read “Look Like You Give a Damn. Re-civilize Yourself.”

The company pulled the ad after calling it “inappropriate and offensive.”


An opinionated technologist, JP launched Death By Social Media when he saw just how easily and how often people's misunderstanding/abuse of social media created personal catastrophes. As a result, he wanted to provide a resource that would provide cautionary tales for those seeking to avoid similar fates.