August 18th, 2011
03:40 PM ET
Cutting edge or just cutting?
Skin care company Nivea has offered a mea culpa for an ad that became quite the trending sensation on Twitter Wednesday.
The advert for Nivea for Men appeared in the September issue of Esquire magazine and featured a clean-cut, African-American male holding what appeared to be a mask of a black man with an Afro hair style and a beard. The copy accompanying the ad read, "Look Like You Give a Damn. Re-civilize Yourself."
Once a pic of the ad was tweeted, the outcry was fast an furious from those complaining that the ad was insensitive and racist. The controversy resulted in #nivea being a trending topic on Twitter.
"Adding Nivea to the list of companies that will not be getting my money," tweeted blogger Septembre Anderson, who appears to have been the user who first tweeted a pic of the ad. "Post-racial my ass..."
Beiersdorf AG, the parent company of Nivea (which boasts singer Rihanna as one of its spokesmodels) released the following statement to CNN regarding the controversy:
"We are deeply sorry to anyone who may take offense to this specific local advertisement. After realizing that this ad is misleading, it was immediately withdrawn."
The statement went on to say that "Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of NIVEA: The brand represents diversity, tolerance, and equal opportunity. We value difference. Direct or indirect discrimination must be ruled out in all decisions by, and in all areas of our activities. This applies regardless of gender, age, race, skin color, religion, ideology, sexual orientation, or disability. Nor should cultural, ethnic, or national origin, and political or philosophical conviction be of any significance."
What do you think of Nivea's ad?
8/19 Update: Some of the comments have focused on the fact that the ad may not have been as controversial if the model was white. Nivea did have just such an ad which you can see here.
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