Nivea dropped by ad agency after allegedly saying: ‘We don’t do gay at Nivea’

Emma Powys Maurice July 2, 2019
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An ad for Nivea Skincare, which has been accused of homophobia (Nivea/The Drum)

Nivea Skincare has been dropped by one of the world’s largest advertising agencies after a senior Nivea employee allegedly said “We don’t do gay at Nivea” when shown an advert that featured two men touching hands.

The agency, FCB, announced in an internal memo that it would be dropping Nivea as its client after a 100-year relationship together.

According to AdAge, tensions between the two businesses had been rising for years.

The final straw came when the homophobic comment was made in a call to an openly gay member of its creative team in response to an ad he proposed.

“There comes a point in every longterm relationship when you reflect on what you’ve accomplished together and set your sails for where your journey will take you next,” said FCB’s CEO Carter Murray.

“Sometimes that journey ahead demands tough choices that lead down different paths.”

He added that the decision followed “much reflection and discussion on our creative ambitions.”

Nivea called the claims “unsubstantiated speculations”

Nivea spends on average $300 million on measured media advertising a year — but this total represents only 1 percent of the agency’s global revenue.

A spokesperson for Beiersdorf, the company which owns Nivea, Campaign US the company wouldn’t comment on “unsubstantiated speculations” which occurred during Pride month.

The spokesperson goes on to state that the allegations do not reflect the values of Beiersdorf, Nivea and their employees worldwide.

“No form of discrimination, direct and indirect, is or will be tolerated. We are strongly committed to diversity, mutual respect, equal opportunity and tolerance — this stance and belief is shared and lived throughout Beiersdorf.”

FCB is holding its clients to account

Asad Dhunna, director of communications for Pride in London, told The Drum that it was heartwarming to see a business choose between morals and money.

“This will be a huge morale boost to staff [at FCB],” he said. “All too often people go back in the closet or are afraid to come out to their clients, so for the agency to have their back and resign the business sends a really strong signal.

“It shows how far we’ve come for LGBT+ rights within the world of advertising and also sets an example for other agencies to hold their clients to account.”




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