nivea-recivilize

This image juxtaposes two ads for Nivea skincare products. In one, a black man is shown wearing a conservative white button-down shirt, grey sweater, and tailored jeans. His hair is cut short. In his hand he holds a mask with an afro, which he has apparently just removed. His stance suggests that he is about to heave the mask away from himself. The text of the ad reads, “Look like you give a damn,” and “Re-civilize yourself.” In the other ad, a white male in a business suit stands tall, also holding a mask. The tag line for this ad reads, “Sin City isn’t an excuse to look like hell,” implying that the man has been partying in Las Vegas.

discussion

Why did Nivea create these two ads for the same product?

Looking at the ads, what are the different stories you might imagine about these two men?

What is implied by the imperative statement, “re-civilize yourself”? How do these ads reinforce appearance-based prejudices and stereotypes?

Why might Nivea think this would be an effective way to market their product? Why do you think this campaign was controversial and criticized?