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Nivea — the Whitest Cream Ever

The Nivea brand is one of the most recognized body-care brand in the world. It was founded a century ago, in 1911 by the Poland and later German company Beiersdorf after developing water-in-oil emulsifier Eucerit (“beautiful wax”) to combine fats with oil for longer period. Before the conventional skin cream composition was expensive and quickly became rancid. The new agent was devised by Dr. Isaac Lifschütz, who had spent years on elaborating the formula, which would combine an active substance, fat and water and become a stable base for ointments. Pharmacist Dr. Oscar Troplowitz, the owner of the company since 1890, called the new cream Nivea (snow-white).

The new oil-in-water creams appeared on the market shortly after their invention. The yellow tins, in which the cream was sold, were made in the Art Nouveau (French for ‘new art’) style, which was popular then. The brand started the advertising campaign was based on the poster “With the likeness of a Lady”, which was designed by famous poster artist Hans Rudi Erdt in 1912. He applied the image of “perfect women” of the period, who were tender and fragile. In 1919 the Nivea portfolio started to expand with introducing new toiletry products such as powder, soap, hair milk, shaving creams, facial toners and tanning oils.

In 1924 the company introduced a completely new and minimalistic packaging design. Blue and white became the colours of the brand, which is still unchanged. The positioning was shifted from elegant ladies to active people, especially to those who liked to spend time at the seashore. The colour combination was reflected not only on the tins and tubes, but in print and film adverts as well (“Welss in Blau” commercials of 1932, for example). The ads were always simple, cute and informative, providing the consumers with useful information as to skin care and weather forecast, saying that the last now wasn’t able to worsen the skin since the people used Nivea.

After the WWII the German company Beiersdorf lost the right of owning most of its brands, but through the 90s it managed to regain them. The iconic “Creme” lettering appeared on the brand’s product packaging in 1959. Now the company places only this one word on the tin, as it was already not necessary to specify the purpose of the globally recognized product.

In the 60s the company launched a massive ad campaign, making Nivea ball its “face”. The ads featured a blue beach ball and people who play with it. The TV commercials and prints once again highlighted the role of the brand in active daily life of common people. It was for the first time that the company promoted not some individual product, but the whole brand.

In the 70s the brand was opposed to more expensive product by other manufactures with the “Creme de la Creme” (Cream of the creams) campaign. In 1972 it launched the baby line, which was extended in 1996 and provided balanced skin-care for little kids. The new Nivea Baby Care soft and tolerated products were perfect for cleansing and moistening the baby skin.

The “Only me” advertising campaign, which kicked off in 1973 and were in use until 1988, performed in the child-like naïve painting style which was popular then, underlined at benefits from using Nivea, each print told about at least one of them. Nivea was positioned as a day cream, a night cream, a cream for different weather conditions, a moisturizer and a protective cream.

The brand added more varieties to the man skin care portfolio in 1980 by introducing the After Shave Balm without alcohol. It was greatly welcomed in Europe as the product didn’t dry and irritate the skin, made it look softer and younger, which was a weighty argument.

The brand hit the hear care market with its shampoo in 1983. The advertising campaign had a slogan “This is the care frequently-washed hair needs”, and over a couple of years the range was extended with a conditioning rinse. The new additions were soon joined by shower gels and Nivea deodorant (it appeared in 1991 with a light white feather as a symbol). Now the beauty portfolio was almost full, as it still needed decorative cosmetics. This was soon introduced as well. In 1997, the Nivea Beauté make-up range was introduced with its trendy selection of styles and colours, becoming popular mainly on the European market.

• Dr. Oscar Troplowitz called the new cream Nivea because in Latin the word “nivis” means snow. He wanted to stress the pure whiteness of the new products and its perfect naturalness at the same time.
• 1920 One of the first animated Nivea cinema advertisments, called “Eulalias Verjüngung” (“Eulalia’s rejuvenescence”) promotes the Nivea Creme available in a tube.
• During the pre-war and war period Elly Heuss-Knapp, one of the first women in advertising business and a wife of President of Theodor Heuss the president of Federal Republic of Germany, provided the promotional materials of the brand, which were performed in the white-and-blue coding. She made everything possible to pull the brand’s image away from Nazi ideology.
• The company says that over 98% of the components in its Nivea Creme are totally natural and so the product is safe to be used.
• The first brand’s website was launched in 1996 and renewed in 2007.

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