DUBAI: Skincare giant Nivea Wednesday pulled an advert from the Middle East region after social media users claimed it had racist connotations.
Meanwhile, Pepsi also pulled an advert featuring celebrity and model Kendall Jenner after it received intense backlash online for seeming to make light of the recent spate of protests in the US.
However, these adverts aren’t the first time a big brand has left a sour taste in people’s mouths with advertising that seemed to miss the mark.
Nivea Middle East’s ‘White is Purity’ poster
On Wednesday, German skincare brand Nivea apologized over an advert which declared that “white is purity” after social media users raised eyebrows about its racist connotations.
The ad for Nivea’s “Invisible for Black & White” deodorant shows a woman wearing a white robe with the caption across the bottom of the image.
Nivea sent an apology directly to Twitter users: “The NIVEA Middle East post was not meant to be offensive. We apologize. It’s been removed. NIVEA values diversity and tolerance.”
— Scott Bellows (@ScottProfessor) April 4, 2017
Tory Burch's ‘Juju On That Beat’ ad
In March, fashion brand Tory Burch released an advert starring a cast of white models dancing to the popular song “Juju On That Beat,” a hit created by a black artist with an associated dance pioneered by young black people.
The video was lampooned online for featuring no black models.
Chinese brand Qiaobi's laundry ad
In the 2016 advert, a Chinese woman pushes a black man into a washing machine and he emerges as a Chinese man.
The advert was slammed online and the company issued the following apology:
“We have no intentions to discriminate against people of color… Ethnic discrimination is something we strongly reject and condemn… The advertisement and the surrounding controversy have hurt people of African descent. We express our apologies, and also sincerely hope internet users and media won’t over analyze the situation.”
Gap Kid’s 2016 advert
The company was criticized last year when a campaign meant to empower young girls was accused of racism.
In it, a young black girl is seen being used as an armrest for a taller white girl, leading many online to mock the advert.
“Proving girls can do anything... unless she's Black. Then all she can do is bear the weight of White girls,” one person tweeted at the time.
— GapKids (@GapKids) April 2, 2016
Nivea's 'Re-Civilize Yourself' campaign
Nivea is back on the list with its 2011 campaign which featured an advert with a clean-shaven black man in the midst of throwing a black dummy head with an afro.
The tagline? ““Look like you give a damn ... Re-civilize yourself.”
Nivea apologized for the advert, saying: “This ad was inappropriate and offensive. It was never our intention to offend anyone, and for this we are deeply sorry. This ad will never be used again. Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of our company.”
Nivea. Re-civilize yourself. 2011. pic.twitter.com/153vtRrZ4g
— deray mckesson (@deray) January 13, 2015
Sony's 2006 PSP billboard
The tech giant pulled a 2006 campaign in the Netherlands which depicted a white woman grabbing a black woman by the face. The ad, which read "white is coming," was released to hype up the white PlayStation Portable console.
The advert was slammed in the US where it was accused of racism and seeming to portray modern-day slavery.
sony: literally just make the most racist thing you can imagine
designer: wait what
sony: we'll give you ten grand
— enmet (@emmetbroaders) April 4, 2017