A major advertising agency has cut ties with Nivea skincare after rising tensions—and a serious allegation of homophobia.
As Ad Age reports, Interpublic’s FCB announced that it will not renew its contract with Nivea when it expires at the end of 2019. The decision comes after a Nivea team member allegedly rejected a design from the ad agency’s creative team of two men holding hands, balking over the phone, “We don’t do gay.”
Stefan de Loecker, executive board chairman of Beiersdorf AG, Nivea’s parent company, at a press conference in February.
Unbeknownst to the Nivea team, one of the FCB creatives on the call is gay—and although FCB declined to comment directly to Ad Age on the matter, an internal memo obtained by the magazine confirms that the agency is indeed letting its contractual ties to Nivea run out.
FCB or agencies underneath it have worked with Nivea, which is based in Hamburg, Germany, for more than 100 years.
Although it’s unclear when the homophobic remark in question was made, FCB Global CEO Carter Murray noted in the memo that the skincare brand was informed of the agency’s decision back in April.
I don’t do Nivea. pic.twitter.com/gcmrQjVXTe
— THE Scott Mahaney (@TheScottMahaney) July 2, 2019
“There comes a point in every longterm relationship when you reflect on what you’ve accomplished together and set your sails for where your journey will take you next,” Murray wrote. “Sometimes that journey ahead demands tough choices that lead down different paths.”
Had FCB not resigned the account, the agency would have been forced to address or even defend the Nivea team member’s alleged remark.