Nivea, a personal care company that specializes in skin and body care released a controversial ad sometime in August of 2011.
Nivea pulls ‘re-civilized’ ad that sparked racial controversy – Elizabeth Flock
The raw and authentic image of a black men is continuously misconceived and deemed destructive. Are the characteristics of being civil based on the majority of people who have financial influence or is this idea genetically built into humans DNA? The company decided to have the ad removed indefinitely, but one might conclude, the fresh and clean cut image of the black man in the ad, is the standard and solution to end one who constantly experience racial profiling.
The ad displays a young athletic man model of African decent, holding a bodiless head, with an un-groomed face and a full head of hair in a bushy-like style. The model appears to be in the motion of throwing the head far away from him. He has a strong grip on the hair of the bodiless head and his face expression displays a look of heavy physical exertion.
The sky is clear and blue, the sun shines bright behind him. Furthermore, a ray of light streams down from the top of his shoulder, across his body and down to the top of his kneecap. In addition to his buzz cut and a clean-shaven facial appearance.
This descriptive imagery is the perfect example of a brand new individual and beautiful reboot at life for any human being. One would presume this European appearance is more desirable in the eyes of the majority. The model in the Nivea’s ad seems like a simple and easy solution for black men in America. If you don’t want to be harassed, experience injustice, and mistreatment then look like you give a damn about yourself. Black men need to be shown how to be civil, because the physical characteristics of people of European descent are civil.
Does appearance dictate if a man is civilized or uncivilized? The company’s objective was to demonstrate a more rejuvenating, clean, fresh and appealing man; but in the eyes of whom? Should there be a standardized appearance for black men or men in general to mitigate racial profiling?
It is normal human behavior to want to formalize and simplify things. Life tends to be more convenient and easier for the superiority to identify uncivilized individuals. Maybe Nivea’s subliminal message in the ad was hint of what makes black men less threatening and suspicious. Regardless of the skin tone of the man or woman behind the marketing and strategy team for this Nivea ad, a human being perception is key to how one perceives another. We are all guilty of stereotyping one another. This ignorant type of behavior has a natural programming effect on the minds of vast audiences around world. We give these characteristics meaningless value and weight, which result in dire consequences.