The "Natural Fairness Lotion" ad tells Black women that their product can help "restore her skin to its natural fairness". The surprise however is that brands that were previously more inclusive and celebrated ethnic diversity are now cynically tapping into the same insecurity that boosts skin-bleaching sales in emerging markets.
Nivea, a personal care brand known for its skin- and body-care products, is now facing an onslaught of criticism for a skin-lightening product it launched in Africa, which, allegedly, specifically targets black women.
Witnesses of the advert took to social media to voice their concern, with a journalist stating, '"Dear Nivea, Who told you, one must be light skin to be handsome?" We would like to emphasize that this campaign is in no way meant to demean or glorify any person's needs or preferences in skin care.
They said: "Our intention is never to offend our consumers". We will. Every African everywhere should stop buying any Nivea product. While reminding consumers that their product ranges embrace diversity, the Facebook post showed no real acknowledgement of the racial insensitivity of the ad.
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She can then be seen applying the lotion all over her body which literally changes her dark skin tone to a much lighter (and unnatural) complexion. We love our skin in it's original creation. The ad came with a tagline: "Re-civilize yourself".
Another day, another beauty brand racial misstep.
Fuse ODG, a British hip-hop artist who comes from Ghanian heritage, also expressed outrage over the Nivea ad, saying, "Kindly take down these billboards you have placed all over our beloved countries in Africa".
The brand has yet to apologize or make a statement regarding the ads. Whichever it is people of colour refuse to be quiet any longer and they can expect continued backlash from reckless insensitive marketing campaigns.