One of Nivea's final ads from FCB reimagines men's historical victories through a sensitive lens

One of shop's last major efforts for client highlights the 'softer' kind of male achievements

Published On
Nov 15, 2019

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In a new era-spanning cinematic ad from Nivea, the brand reimagines men’s important contributions throughout history—but through a more “sensitive” lens.

Instead of honoring wartime victories or knockdowns in the ring, the blockbuster spot shines a light on moments when men revealed their softer side: a soccer player embraces his teammate after a victory perhaps a little too enthusiastically, a boxer hugs his fallen rival, a Viking father braids his daughter’s hair, an apparent royal tells his dying dad, “I love you.”

The ad goes on to point out that history actually failed to properly honor such men, but guys of today have the chance to step up. A voiceover reads, “Be proud, be strong, be sensitive,” followed by the line, “Here’s to pioneers. Here is to men who are strong enough to be sensitive.”

The film, directed by Nicolas Perez Veiga via Primo, is running on Nivea Switzerland’s Youtube channel. Created out of the shop's Mexico office, it's the final major effort from FCB for the brand, arriving after the agency in June decided to part ways with the client.

Ironically, the relationship ended amid rising tensions that stemmed in part from alleged homophobic reactions that FCB experienced with Nivea. The brand reportedly had rejected one of the agency’s pitches that showed two men’s hands touching, with a member of the client team remarking, “We don’t do gay at Nivea.” That comment allegedly happened during a call with FCB creatives, including one who is gay, according to people familiar with the matter. FCB said that it would resign from the global account when contracts expired at the end of this year.  

In a statement provided to Ad Age at the time, Nivea parent Beiersdorf said, "Unfortunately, there have been isolated, controversial Nivea communications over the years. We always valued the respective feedback of our consumers and consider it as a motivation to continuously learn, adapt and further improve our brand communications. What is highly important to emphasize is our strong commitment to diversity, mutual respect, equal opportunity and tolerance—this stance and belief is shared and lived throughout all levels of the Beiersdorf and Nivea brand organizations."

Last week, Beiersdorf appointed Publicis Groupe to handle global work on Nivea, and this week it named WPP to handle global creative work on other brands.

Contributing: Jack Neff