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Reports: Body Care Giant Nivea Dropped by Ad Agency after Alleged 'We Don't Do Gay' Remark

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Jul 2, 2019
Reports: Body Care Giant Nivea Dropped by Ad Agency after Alleged 'We Don't Do Gay' Remark

The global body care brand Nivea is set to lose the services of ad agency Foote, Cone & Belding when the current contracts between the companies run out at the end of 2019, media reports said. The rift comes after more than a century of the two companies working together — a relationship that had survived a recent merger and subsequent rebranding.

The end of the longstanding relationship was allegedly prompted by a homophobic comment uttered by a Nivea employee during a conference call with the ad agency, according to a report at Campaign.

The Campaign report did not offer details as to what was allegedly said, but according to a story at Ad Age a team member with the body care brand said that "we don't do gay at Nivea."

Among those on the FBC end of the call was an openly gay employee, the Ad Age article said.

The call was only one instance in what Ad Age described as a couple of years of increasing train between the two business entities over LGBTQ imagery and messages. Nivea reportedly refused a suggested campaign that featured an image of two men's hands, Ad Age said.

Nivea navigated around the issue with a carefully worded statement to Campaign in which the brand referenced "unsubstantiated speculations" concerning the end of the relationship between itself and the ad agency but then went on to deny homophobia, reported Yahoo! Finance.

"No form of discrimination, direct and indirect, is or will be tolerated," the brand's spokesperson told Campaign. "We are strongly committed to diversity, mutual respect, equal opportunity and tolerance -- this stance and belief is shared and lived throughout Beiersdorf," the company that owns the Nivea brand.

The spokesperson spoke optimistically of "a new beginning in Nivea's brand management and creative work."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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