Problematic Advertising

Nivea has made a few mistakes. In all honesty, every company has made a few mistakes at some point. It’s how we learn. However. The “White is Purity” ad released in April is a serious blunder. The statement “White is Purity” raised flags immediately on social media as a big no-no. Nivea released the “White is Purity” advertisement to help sell their “invisible for black and white” deodorant line. It was released as a Facebook post with the caption, “keep it clean, keep bright.

Don’t let anything ruin it, #invisible.” That caption didn’t help anyone. Disregarding the fact that it was meant for their deodorant line, the post could easily be re-interpreted as a racist comment. As you can imagine, many people on Facebook and the social media sites it was reposted to pointed this out. Some even said that they were white supremacists, probably as a joke.

The German company Nivea quickly pulled it from the site, though it will exist forever in the heart and mind of the internet.

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Nivea’s Public Relations had to work hard to recover from this little episode, though it is amazing it was allowed to be released. The statement should have raised flags from everyone in their advertising and Public Relations departments. White Is Coming Much like Nivea, Sony also released an advertisement that should have never left their department. In 2006, Sony released an all-white PlayStation Portable that was better than the original black model. When selling it abroad (specifically in the Netherlands), they used a billboard.

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On the billboard, it showed a white woman dressed in all white, gripping a black woman dressed in all black by the jaw, and holding her in a dominating way. It showed this next to the phrase “PlayStation Portable White is coming”. People were understandably upset. While the advertisement was, once again, only trying to advertise a product for the company, it showed content that could easily be considered racist. This Sony ad was especially problematic because it displayed a white woman dominating a black woman. People were quick to respond with comments about Sony’s insensitivity on many social media platforms.

One popular comment received 29,000 likes about Sony paying ten grand for the “most racist thing you can imagine”. They could have done many things differently to avoid this result, such as not make color the deciding factor of their device’s effectiveness, though it’s been done before. The Nintendo Wii made a Black Wii at a later point that was definitely better than the white. It’s strange how this is becoming a trend among gaming systems. Sony had to apologize and take down the billboards. This mistake will stay in the record books of the internet for a very long time.

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Problematic Advertising. (2022, Jul 25). Retrieved from

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