Nivea suffered an embarrassing marketing fail after its decision to stage a pre-game haka at a recent AC Milan match backfired on social media.
The Beiersdorf-owned cosmetics giant staged the marketing stunt prior to AC Milan’s home fixture against fellow Serie A side Carpi when actors dressed as Milan players walked onto the pitch and performed their version of the haka which was dubbed the "Tekitanka”.
The electronic advertisement around the stadium promoted the stunt under the banner 'Men, this is your ritual' alongside the #Tekitanka hashtag. The fake team even had their own manager, J. Maori; a not so subtle nod to New Zealand culture.
AC Milan had been promoting the Tekitanka stunt in the days leading up to the fixture on its Twitter however it was unclear what the hashtags actually meant.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) April 20, 2016
Nivea’s decision to showcase their own version of the traditional Māori ritual closely associated with New Zealand’s culture, and made popular by its rugby teams, did not go down well across social media though.
@acmilan embarrassment to football, performing their own Nivea 'Haka' tonight. Could not imagine Maldini/Cafu doing it, dark days #Tekitanka — Gussy (@gussy_mc) April 21, 2016
Ac Milan performing the haka highlights eveything that is wrong with football
— James Brennan (@JamesDBrennan95) April 21, 2016
This club has won the European cup 7 times. State of modern football. Don't even think about it @ManUtd#Tekitankapic.twitter.com/XM455pcc1O — James Stirling (@jimmystirling) April 21, 2016
The fact that AC Milan just did the Haka as an advertising stunt is absolutely comical and a complete mockery of the club.
— Alex Mascitti (@IFDMascitti) April 21, 2016
Following the backlash Beiersdorf Australia’s managing director, Clynton Bartholomeusz, released an apology.
“NIVEA is a global brand, with a presence in over 200 countries. While we were not aware of the activity taking place at the Serie A game in Italy this morning (NZT), we recognise the Haka is of great significance to the Maori culture and to New Zealand as a nation and we apologise for any offence this has caused.”