In Africa, the brand Nivea, creates controversy with its advertising campaign for products to obtain a clearer skin.
In certain regions of Africa and Asia, Nivea has launched the “Natural Fairness” beauty line, products that are supposed to restore and revitalize fair skin.
In a spot appearing in West Africa, the Nigerian beauty queen, Omowunmi Akinnifesi, applies this lotion to “visibly brighten” her skin and “take care of it” as if clear skin was synonymous with health, youth and prosperity.
During the sequence, the skin of the model becomes lighter as it applies the lotion. This is the latest message in a series of media slogans designed to make people of color understand that their darker skin tone is unacceptable, explains Quartz. These messages offer a series of tips to be able to have a clearer skin.
This form of racism has been so internalized that even as brands have attempted to highlight ethnic diversity, African and Asian consumers have continued to spend billions of dollars on skin whitening products.
The announcement of Nivea, broadcast a few months ago, came back on the scene after the controversy over the advertising deemed racist brand Dove. In this spot, we see a young black woman who becomes white thanks to the shower gel Dove.
Nivea reacted on Facebook by issuing a statement to defend himself: “The campaign is not meant to devalue or glorify people’s needs or preferences for skin care. ”
The line “Natural Fairness” made of natural ingredients and UV filters aims to reduce the production of melanin due to sun exposure, adds Nivea.
In the past, Nivea commercials have offended people of color. In 2011, the brand had apologized after the broadcast of an advertising campaign with the slogan “Re-civilize-you”. This advertisement showed a black man getting rid of his afro hairstyle.
This year, Nivea aired an advertisement in the Middle East with the message “White is purity”. In the Philippines, various brand products also promise whiter skin.
These marketing approaches seem contradictory for a brand that has previously produced advertisements for all skin types. Nivea had resorted to this for the singer Rihanna.
However, in emerging markets, Nivea seems to cynically exploit public insecurity, a sentiment that stimulates sales of skin-whitening products, concludes Quartz.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.