So Nivea has released this ad of a dude hurling an afro’d version of himself with the caption “Re-civilize Yourself.” And so, the blogosphere is going all “WTF” about the ad’s racist undertones. Personally, I think it’s a grave marketing misstep that completely ignores its customer. I mean, how do you plan to sell lotion if you piss off black people? Aren’t we like a bajillion percent of the market?
Oh No They Didn’t is more eloquent:
It occurred to us that there might be an entire campaign based around the tagline, “Re-civilize yourself.” No such luck. Although Nivea has several other ads with the words “Look like you give a damn,” and one where a white guy is holding a long-haired mask, none of them mention anything about civilization. The fact is, the ad itself is still racist even if it is part of a larger campaign. A person flipping through a magazine won’t know the context. All they’ll think of is a vicious stereotype of black people that still endures, and all they’ll see is a black man trying to fit into a white world by shedding his former “uncivilized” self.