GRSJ 300: Culture Jam Assignment

This ad by the Nivea was put out in the last year in Africa. Nivea specialized in personal body/skin care and is still selling products at a high rate. This advertisement’s purpose is to attract buyers who want to have “fairer” and beautiful light skin. Nivea was under fire and was accused of racism for this ad. The brand then acknowledged it had “missed the mark” of beauty and took it down. There multiple issues with this advertisement and the company itself. The first one I wanted to address was Nivea’s definition of beautiful from this advertisement. Their standard of beauty does not include dark skinned people. The whiter you become the more beautiful you are. It seems as if Nivea is telling African American people that their race is less beautiful than the white race and by using their product they can become like them too. The second problem about this billboard was its location. This billboard was found in Ghana; A region of the world that is majority dark skinned African Americans. Not only did they have the audacity to even make this advertisement, but they also purposely sent it out to the places that had a black dominant population.

This wasn’t their only controversial ad either. Even before this ad they had one that stated “white is purity” “keep it clean… Don’t let anything ruin it”, which received backlash by the community. From this reasoning, it almost seems like they know their ad are racist, but still put it out anyways. They last issue I wasn’t to address was how they handled the criticism form the public about this advertisement. The brand acknowledged that they had “missed the mark” on their billboard. This does not sound like an apology and was certainly not their first time making this same mistake. At this point it should be unforgivable and the brand should be put to question.

The philosophy of my jamming was to expose what they were really trying saying to the people in Africa by showing this advertisement. At the bottom of the poster I wrote “Wish you looked like me?” to portray what many African Americans see when society places an image of beauty that doesn’t fit them. In our generation, society constructs an image of beauty through TV and all social medias. For females, the definition of beauty is your shape, race and looks rather than one’s individual character. Young black girls are being born in this generation and constantly being told they are not beautiful from their phones and televisions.

With the issues of depression and low self-esteem rapidly growing in our world, this will only get worse if we don’t repair our image of beauty in our society to include all races around the world.

By mocking this advertisement in this way, I am attempting to highlight that beauty is not defined by race. Individuals should not change the way they look to fit society’s way of beauty. In conclusion, this Nivea advertisement is enticing women into buying their product by telling them they are not beautiful because of their skin. This is not the kind of message that any advertisement should be portraying. This is undeserved by black women around the world and telling them to cover up their natural looks to conform to the society’s should be looked down upon in every company, institution and society.



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