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Nivea perspires after ‘White is Purity’ ads embolden white supremacists


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

April 4, 2017 | 4 min read

Skincare brand Nivea has taken down a Facebook post that was accused of spreading white nationalist rhetoric.

Nivea White is Purity

Nivea's White is Purity ad

Promoting its non-stain deodorants, a Facebook post originally intended for the Middle East region showed the back of a woman bathed in light, followed by the strapline, 'White is Purity'.

Although obviously referring to the product, the German brand almost immediately faced complaints on the post that was captioned: “Keep it clean, keep it bright. Don't let anything ruin it," according to BBC News.

The ad was appropriated and shared by some social media users keen to sincerely spread hateful rhetoric, however, underlining how brands must be more vigilant their copy does not have an alternate meaning, especially with hate groups seemingly on the rise.

The company said in a statement: “There have been concerns risen about ethnic discrimination due to a post about Nivea Deodorant Invisible for Black & White on our Nivea Middle East Facebook page. 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 After realizing that the post is misleading, it was immediately withdrawn.

"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."

Below are some reactions to the placement.

​One Twitter user, commenting on the incident, also brought up the brand's 2011 misfire 'Recivilise Yourself'.

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