Nivea Responds To Outcry Over Racist ‘Re-Civilize Yourself’ Ad

Yesterday, we stumbled upon a Nivea ad which posited that black men with afros were not only unkempt, but uncivilized. It was, in other words, utterly offensive if not totally racist. In response, our very own Justin Fenner wrote what may be one of the most thoughtful and well-argued takedowns we’ve published on this site. And now Nivea has responded.

In a message posted to the brand’s Facebook wall, they wrote:

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.

While we’re glad this ad will never be used again, we’re not sure how “crucial” diversity and equal opportunity really are to a company that would put an ad like that out in the first place. Moreover, why does this keep happening?

But in the meantime, we’re curious. Justin’s post (and Nivea’s apology) have garnered more than 595 and 100 Facebook responses respectively — which means there’s clearly a lot of talking going on. What do you think of the ad and, more importantly, what do you think of Nivea’s response? Do you think they handled it appropriately? Could they or should they have done more? Let us know in the comments.

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