Earlier this year, personal care product brand Nivea pulled a men’s skincare ad and issued a public apology for its blatantly racist undertones. As reported on over at GOOD magazine, the ad in question "features a preppy, groomed black man holding the head of his former self, who's sporting a beard, an afro, and a pissed-off expression." The tag line? "Re-civilize yourself." As in, "Hey, black men, get with white mainstream culture and get rid of that 'uncivilized' African hair!"
When a conversation turns to branding (and don't all of your conversations turn to branding?) the efforts of Absolut Vodka, the little alcohol company that could, are inevitably evoked. There's good reason behind this, too. Although ads for alcohol are extremely problematic, Absolut has certainly made a name for itself with a distinct brand. In fact, I'd bet that most of you can conjure up an Absolut ad, complete with their unique typeface and slogans, without even having to consult your Google image search.
That's why I've been a little surprised lately to see Absolut eschew their brand for an over-the-top cinematic spot (one loaded with messages about gender, of course). Behold: