Skincare brand Nivea has removed an advert for one of its most popular products after it was criticised as racist and praised by alt-right groups on social media.
The ad, for the company’s invisible deodorant range, featured the words “white is purity” on top of an image of a dark-haired woman facing away from the camera.
The image was posted on the brand’s Facebook page with the caption: "Keep it clean, keep it bright. Don't let anything ruin it," and was targeted towards followers in the Middle East, reported the BBC.
Social media users quickly complained that the ad, which has since been deleted, was racist. some users also suggested the slogan has Nazi undertones. The company has close to 20 million fans on its Facebook page and the ad was reportedly online for the entire weekend.
Wow. Nivea now the deodourant of the alt-right*.
— Joe (@goulcher) April 3, 2017
Still wondering who ok'ed the "white is purity" ad for Nivea...horrible choice for words plus images
— Diana Villegas (@dianaecho) April 4, 2017
... no surprise they had to quickly take this down smh.
Nivea Facebook page shares 'White is purity' advert slogan https://t.co/Gi26NvX19K
— Rebecca (@arbitrarygenius) April 4, 2017
The ad was shared among alt-right users on Twitter and Facebook, with one tweeting: “Nivea has chosen our side and the most liked comments are glorious”.
The brand has apologised and admitted the post was “misleading”. A spokesperson for Beiersdorf, the German company that owns Nivea, said concerns has been raised, "about ethnic discrimination due to a post about NIVEA Deodorant Invisible for Black & White on our NIVEA Middle East Facebook page".
They added: "We are deeply sorry to anyone who may take offense to this specific post. After realizing that the post is misleading, it was immediately withdrawn.
"Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of NIVEA: The brand represents diversity, tolerance, and equal opportunity," the spokesperson said.
"We value difference. Direct or indirect discrimination must be ruled out in all decisions by, and in all areas of our activities."
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