Nivea pulls 'white is purity' ad after outcry

Posted at 7:39 AM, Apr 05, 2017

LONDON (CNNMoney) -- Nivea has withdrawn an advert that was branded racist on social media and shared by right wing groups.

The German skincare maker's ad for a deodorant included a picture of a woman and the slogan "white is purity."

It was posted on Nivea's Middle East Facebook page with the caption: "Keep it clean, keep it bright. Don't let anything ruin it."

The post sparked a backlash, with social media users accusing Nivea of being racist and insensitive.

"Come on Nivea. This is so racist that I do not even know where to begin. Speechless. In future, refer to clothes or products, not colors," Scott Bellows posted on Twitter.

Beiersdorf, the Hamburg-based company that owns Nivea, Eucerin and other skincare brands, said it decided to take the advert down due to what it called "concerns about ethnic discrimination."

"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 After realizing that the post is misleading, it was immediately withdrawn," the company said in a statement.

The advert was also shared by accounts that have previously posted content promoting white supremacist views.

This is not the first time Nivea has run into trouble with its advertizing. Back in 2011, it apologized for an advert that featured what appeared to be a mask of a black man with an Afro hair style and a beard. The copy accompanying the ad read, "Look Like You Give a Damn. Re-civilize Yourself."

It's not alone, either.

Pepsi was accused Tuesday of appropriating the Black Lives Matter movement to sell soda, after it ran an add that showed model Kendall Jenner offering a Pepsi to a police officer during a protest.

Chinese detergent company Qiaobi apologized last year for an advertisement that showed a light-skinned Chinese woman throwing a black man covered in paint into a washing machine.

After undergoing a wash, the man emerged as a light-skinned, clean Chinese man.