Editorial note: An updated Article on this can be found here
NIVEA’s latest ad, seen here , has them in hot water due to the blatant sexism against men that it displays. The ad, for NIVEA Stress Protect, depicts a man in business clothes in various situations practically falling asleep & suffering badly from extreme fatigue. During this, the voiceover says, in a VERY condescending tone…
“Poor, poor men. Working all day! Your life is so stressful… Women wouldn’t know about that.”
We are then treated to a depiction of a woman, also in business wear, & carrying a baby to boot, looking refreshed, alert, & together. Presumably because she uses this magical product that turns her into superwoman.
The sexism inherent in this ad is so obvious that I won’t insult your intelligence by deconstructing it. Suffice it to say, men are fed up with constantly being depicted like this in ads & are finally starting to speak up about it.
There are a great many comments on the YouTube version of this ad calling out the sexism which is good to see.
A few days ago, Men’s Right Sydney left the following comment:
Yeah, buy Nivea products men. Sure, they think that you’re a useless, whining baby who can’t handle anything half as well as a woman can (I mean, who could? Women are just SO fantastic at EVERYTHING don’t y’know?), but you should definitely buy their products anyway.
I, for one, will definitely be buying as many Nivea products as I can because I just LOVE to support a company that thinks it’s OK to use sexism to belittle men in order to sell women useless goop & make them feel better about themselves.
/SarcasmIn case any other men out there would like to avoid buying the products of a company that apparently feels secure in using sexism to put men down in order to sell their crap, the company that makes Nivea products is called Beiersdorf AG. Its brands include Elastoplast, Eucerin (makers of Aquaphor), Labello, & La Prairie.I urge you all to not only avoid these brands but to lodge a formal complaint with the Advertising Standards Bureau (if you’re in Australia, or your local advertising standards body if not), here:http://www.adstandards.com.au/process/theprocesssteps/initiatingacomplaintMen, had enough of this shit yet?
Look for it in the comments here … What? You can’t see it? Yeah, neither can anyone else.
It would seem that NIVEA has come up with a very new method of Internet censorship, well new for youtube anyway. The comment IS there, it’s just that the only way you can see it is to be logged in as mensrightssydney. Here is the proof:
Now, we can’t PROVE that this is censorship, it could just be some sort of weird glitch, but it does seem suspicious that a comment suggesting that people boycott their product, & complain about them to the Advertising Standards Board, just happened to suffer from a glitch in the system when other comments had no such issues.
When will people realise that censorship just does not work anymore?
If you have seen this ad & think that it’s unacceptable, why not submit a formal complaint with the Advertising Standard Bureau? You can submit your complaint using the web form on their site here.
It’s time that advertisers got the message that sexism against men is just as unacceptable as sexism against women. NIVEA Australia claim to have heard the complaints & are “currently reviewing the ad”. However the fact that they thought that this was acceptable in the first place, plus the fact that they would never have even considered doing this ad with the sexes reversed, makes their reassurances seem hollow.
UPDATE: After trying several more times to post the above comment I finally decided to give up. However, low & behold, 4 days later, the post suddenly appeared as if by magic! Technical glitch? Second thoughts on censorship? Make up your own mind.
UPDATE 2: Turns out that the issue was probably just a glitch in YouTube or Google+’s commenting system & probably not Beiersdorf trying to silence dissent.
UPDATE 3: We finally received a response to the complaint we made to the Advertising Standards Bureau regarding this ad and unfortunately, though not unexpectedly, the complaint has been dismissed.
Obviously we are not exactly happy about this in fact, truth be known, we are hopping mad, but we are in this for the long haul. This is merely one step on the road to true gender equality in the media. As time goes on & more & more people begin to complain to the ASB about this type of sexism, they will realise at some point that the public finds this sort of sexism unacceptable & will change their view. It isn’t going to happen any time soon but it’s going to happen eventually, it’s inevitable.
The thing that really pissed us off about the response that Beiersdorf gave to the ASB was that they supplied the ASB (or the ASB obtained elsewhere) a copy of the ad that was substantially different from the one I’ve seen online & on TV. In the version of the ad described in the ASB response, it claims that the voiceover says…
“Poor poor man working all day…all sweaty and really worn out. Your life is so stressful‟
“Women would’t know about that …we discovered stress protect deodorant.‟
…and goes on to say that…
“…the reason the woman is more capable is because she is using the advertised product – a product which she brings home and gives to her partner.
None of the text in bold actually appears in the version of the ad shown on Nivea Australia’s YouTube page &, although I can’t be sure since I haven’t seen the TV version of this ad since getting this response email, I don’t think the bolded voiceover text is in that either (though I think it does show her giving the man the product – well, tossing at at him at least). The missing voiceover text significantly changes the tone of the entire voiceover & makes it seem less offensive (though still well & truly offensive enough).
I don’t know if this discrepancy in the version of the ad being aired on TV & online & the version described in the complaint response is due to Beiersdorf being sneaky bastards (which I certainly wouldn’t put past them), or the ASB being completely inept (again, quite likely), but something shenanigan-like is going on there.
Since there is such a significant difference between the on air version & the version described, I was going to appeal the decision & tell the ASB exactly what I have just described above…until I noticed that they charge a $100 fee for doing so.
So, apparently you can have all the justice you can afford. I’m sure $100 is chump change for government funded feminist groups but the vast majority of us MHRAs are funded out of our own wallets. Way to uphold the ideals of democracy ASB, nice job.
Information for Boycotters
If you are planning to boycott NIVEA over this ad, please bear in mind that NIVEA is just one of the brands marketed by Beiersdorf. They also make a range of other personal care items under a variety of brands. I have listed these brands below along with suggestions on alternative options…
Elastoplast – Buy Johnson & Johnson Band Aids instead. 3M also make some excellent alternatives.
Eucerin – Bulk standard generic brand Sorboline cream & a good sunscreen work just as well as most skin creams of this type & at a fraction of the cost. If you must use the fancier creams, try Avon, or Procter & Gamble. Both make a range of comparable products.
Aquaphor – Normal Vaseline (made by Unilever) works just as well. Probably also a lot cheaper.
Labello – Avon, Procter & Gamble (under the brand OraLabs), & J&J all make similar (if not identical) lip balm products.
La Prairie – Total waste of money if you ask me, but if you must buy “Anti-Aging” creams, Avon, Procter & Gamble, & J&J all make essentially the same products.
If you are going to boycott NIVEA products, please consider boycotting these other Beiersdorf products too.