FCB, one of the largest ad agencies in the world, is reportedly terminating its account with the skin care line Nivea when the current contract expires at the end of this year after a Nivea representative made a homophobic remark to an FCB employee.
According to Ad Age, FCB had pitched an ad campaign that included in image of two men’s hands touching. In a telephone call between a Nivea rep and an FCB rep, the Nivea rep said the company was rejecting that image because “We don’t do gay at Nivea.”
FCB Global CEO Carter Murray announced the decision to terminate the account to its employees in an internal memo that did not address the alleged homophobic comment. He said that FCB had notified Nivea of the decision in April.
In the memo, Murray said: “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. Sometimes that journey ahead demands tough choices that lead down different paths. … It is my hope that in reflecting on the incredible journey we’ve had with Nivea around the world and in your markets, you take pride in what we accomplished together and come to respect the many difficult factors we had to carefully weigh to take this step.”
Nivea is owned by Beiersdorf, which is based in Hamburg, Germany Murray’s memo indicated that other Beiersdorf brands, including Eucerin and Hansaplast, will remain under FCB.
Queerty.com included in its article on the break-up a statement from Beiersdorf, saying the decision to for Nivea to split with FCB was due to “profound transformation of our industry and the advertising landscape.”
The statement continued: “We are an international company with more than 20,000 employees with very different genders, ethnicities, orientations, backgrounds and personalities worldwide. Through our products, we touch millions of consumers around the globe every day. We know and cherish that individuality and diversity in all regards brings inspiration and creativity to our society and to us as a company. No form of discrimination, direct and indirect, is tolerated.”