PHOTO Is this Nivea “Re-civilize yourself” ad racist?

Nivea's Re-civilize yourself advertisement is considered by many to be racist

Usually it’s a good thing when your company becomes a trending topic on Twitter, but such was not the case for haircare product line Nivea, who are all the buzz thanks to a controversial new ad that many people find offensive and racist.

The ad, seen above, features a clean-shaven, short-haired black man wearing a gray sweater tossing the head of a black man with a beard and Afro (which I assume is to represent his pre-Nivea self) with the caption “Re-civilize yourself.” Also on the ad is the campaign slogan, “Look like you give a damn.”

I don’t think I need to explain how insensitive it was for the company to use this imagery combined with the notion of a black man with an afro and beard being “uncivilized.” The combination even has AlterNet wondering if it is perhaps the most racist ad ever!

And in case you were wondering, the other ads in the campaign do not mention “re-civilizing yourself.” from did the research and here’s what she discovered:

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.

There has been no official response from singer Rihanna, who is currently the face of Nivea.

So what do you think? Are people over-reacting or is this ad indeed horribly racist and offensive?

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