Is this ad really controversial?

nivea ad

nivea ad In case you haven’t seen it yet, this ad caused a lot of controversy. So much so that the company Nivea pulled the ad and apologized.

Re-civilize yourself – look like you give a damn vs “Sin City is No Excuse to Look Like Hell.”

In case you haven’t seen it yet, this ad caused a lot of controversy. So much so that the company Nivea pulled the ad and apologized.

Upon seeing the first ad, I can imagine that one could get up in arms. It is like the ad is saying that the Afro, African hair, nappy hair is uncivilized. Maybe even insinuating that “Blacks” aren’t civilized. We need Nivea to help us.

When I saw the second ad though and realized it is part of a campaign for men to get clean cut, I had to give it a rest to think a bit further. I wonder if there would have been a way to make an ad like this work for us. How to portray a not-clean-cut brother without stereotyping an uncombed afro, nappy hair in general or locs. To be honest I think it’s impossible.

And in their defense, Nivea hired a black executive to include more Black people in their ads. He was in charge of this campaign and he obviously he didn’t think it would be offensive. Maybe he looks like this when he doesn’t give a damn but that’s not really the point. Fact is that this doesn’t sound like a company that is racially insensitive even if it’s just because they want to sell us their stuff.

The only thing that I think can be a bit of a problem is the word re-civilize. I don’t think it’s such a good idea to connect black people and un-civilized in an ad. Now I tell me, what if they had the sentences switched. The black ad with the words “Sin City is No Excuse to Look Like Hell.” would the ad still be controversial?

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