NIVEA HISTORY - 100 YEARS IN THE MAKING
ONE BLUE TIN
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
THE NIVEA BOYS
When people of all ages began spending more and more of their leisure time outdoors, the previous beauty ideal of paleness and fragility gave way to a completely new look. Fresh, fit and healthy was now the way to go. Times had changed so decisively that we knew NIVEA needed to change, too. But while our creative team worked hard to transform our product designs, it was a chance encounter that led to the birth of our new advertising campaign.
Our Head of Advertising, Juan Gregorio Clausen, was strolling through Hamburg when he passed by a photographer’s shop. Hanging in the window was a photo of three happy, cheeky and fresh-faced young brothers: Rolf-Robert, Peter and Wilhelm Wiethüchter. Juan knew instantly that this clean and wholesome family image captured the essence of the new NIVEA perfectly. So after we acquired the rights to the photo from the boys’ parents, the Wiethüchters became the new stars of our advertising in 1924. The campaign was a huge hit, and the brothers were soon greeted with cries of “Hello NIVEA!” wherever they went. And that wasn’t the only attention the boys received.
Soon after our campaign launched, we were inundated with fan mail from girls all over the country. Photos and letters streamed in, filled with adoring sentiments like “We think that you are really cute!” and “It’s a pity that you do not want to marry us, we like you a lot!”. The campaign was such a success that it wasn’t long before the NIVEA Boys were joined by the NIVEA Girls…
THE NIVEA GIRLS
Although reality TV shows like Idol, The X-Factor, The Apprentice or Top Model are commonplace today, these kinds of media-led talent quests were unheard of back in 1925.
So when we placed an ad in a Berlin newspaper, announcing our nationwide search for three NIVEA Girls, it generated huge public excitement. Especially as we weren’t searching for glamorous models, but ordinary, everyday girls:
“We aren’t looking for great beauties, debutantes or young ladies with kiss curls. We’re looking for naturally pretty, healthy and clean-looking girls.”
One young mother, Mrs Fröhlich of Flensburg, north Germany, saw the ad and decided that her three daughters, Margot, Elfriede and Hertha, would be perfect. When their father heard about her plan, he made it clear that he didn’t want his daughters to be “advertising girls” – so Mum submitted their entry without telling him!
It was lucky for the girls that she did, because the Fröhlich sisters ended up beating more than 1,000 other girls to win the competition. And strangely enough, it turned out that the family wasn’t even familiar with NIVEA, as they’d just moved to Germany from Samoa, where our products weren’t available.
Happily, Mr Fröhlich came round to the idea of his daughters becoming our NIVEA Girls, and they went on to star in our ads. And just like the NIVEA Boys before them, it wasn’t long before the Fröhlich sisters were greeted with happy cries of “Hello NIVEA!” wherever they went.
NIVEA has been globetrotting almost since the day we were born, thanks to a special skincare ingredient called Eucerit.
Invented by one of NIVEA’s founding fathers, Dr Isaac Lifschütz, Eucerit made it possible for a skin cream to remain stable over time – which lead directly to the creation of NIVEA Creme in 1911. This was the first skincare cream that could be exported around the world without losing any of its quality or consistency.
Just three years after NIVEA Creme made its debut in Hamburg, it was available on every continent, and nearly half of NIVEA’s sales came from overseas. By 1914, our products were produced not only in Hamburg, but also in Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Mexico, Moscow, New York, Paris and Sydney.
At the time, this kind of rapid international expansion was unheard of in the skincare industry. We were in uncharted waters – which meant that we often had to employ a little ingenuity when introducing NIVEA to new markets.
In South Africa, for instance, all our advertising had to appear in not one, but three languages – English, Zulu and Xhosa. In the UK, we needed to replace NIVEA Creme’s blue tin with plastic packaging when we realised that British people associated the aluminium tins with shoe polish.
In cold countries like Austria, we emphasised our products’ ability to protect the skin from the snow, wind and rain. Meanwhile, the NIVEA Sun range and other products more suited to hotter climates were marketed much more heavily in countries like Australia. All of these practices continue to this day.
We also made a point of creating products tailored to the skincare needs of people in different countries long before this became the norm. In the 1930s, for example, we saw that there was a huge demand in Asia for skincare products that could lighten the skin. So we created NIVEA Whitening Paste, which was an instant success. Even now, NIVEA products with whitening ingredients remain our biggest sellers throughout Asia.
Today, NIVEA is one of the world’s most trusted brands. Our products are available everywhere, from the far reaches of the Australian outback to the high altitudes of the Rocky Mountains.
Yet most people in the countries in which our products are sold see NIVEA as a local brand, which is surely the highest compliment we could ever hope to receive from our fans. We look forward to bringing NIVEA to you and to people all over the world for the next 100 years and beyond.
NIVEA AT THE BEACH
Until the early 1900s, most people spent their leisure time indoors. Tans were considered to be unsophisticated and lower class, as only labourers and other manual workers tended to spend enough time outdoors to get them. All that changed in the 1920s, when the post-war zest for life saw people of all ages and backgrounds head outdoors – and where possible, to the beach – in their spare time. And when Coco Chanel was snapped with a suntan in 1923, it heralded the dawn of a new era. Looking bronzed and brown was officially ‘in’. Of course, this was before people were aware of the link between sun exposure and skin damage. Even so, we were dedicated to helping people avoid one nasty side-effect that many people were already all too familiar with: sunburn. With this in mind, our ads began emphasising NIVEA Creme’s ability to protect skin from sunburn and provide soothing after-sun care. Many also contained information to help people enjoy their time in the sun more safely, such as weather forecasts or advice about protecting skin even on cloudy days. And we released the world’s first sunscreen, NIVEA Ultra-Oil, way back in 1936. By the 1960s, economic prosperity and rising car ownership saw more and more people take their holidays by the sea, and beach culture boomed. Once again, NIVEA was there to help people make the most of their time in the sun. “NIVEA caravans” were a common sight at international resorts throughout the 1960s and 70s, and they gave away the now-iconic NIVEA balls to anyone who’d brought a NIVEA sun protection product to the beach. Demand for these balls was so great that sometimes our caravans didn’t even make it to the beach – they’d be mobbed on the street before they could get there! It was also around this time that scientists first began establishing the link between sun exposure, skin cancer, and skin damage, such as premature ageing. These discoveries spurred our researchers to develop groundbreaking products that would protect people from these effects, and make it easier to enjoy the sun safely.
Over the next few decades, their breakthroughs led to a number of skincare innovations, including:
• Sunscreens with SPF, or sun protection factor
• Spray-on sunscreen
• Moisturising sun creams, such as the NIVEA Sun Visage range
• Specialised products for children, babies and sensitive skin
There’s no doubt beach culture and sun products have changed over the years. But NIVEA’s aim has always been the same: to help people of all ages enjoy the sun, wherever and whenever they want.
THE NIVEA BALL
THE SEARCH FOR
A GLOBAL SUCCESS
Q10 is a natural, vitamin-like substance that can be found in every cell of the human body. It plays a key role in cell metabolism, or the way in which our bodies convert food into energy. When we began searching for active skincare ingredients – that is, substances that produce lasting changes to the skin – it made sense to start by looking at substances that occur naturally in the body. Dr Franz Stäb, one of NIVEA’s leading biologists, was part of the team that started this research 20 years ago. “First, we tested the most important active substances of the metabolism, one of which was Q10,” he explained. “We asked ourselves whether older skin was deficient in these substances, and what would happen if it was given more of them. That was how we discovered the effects of Q10.” When Dr Stäb and his team realised that older skin had lower levels of Q10 than younger skin, their next challenge was to find out how this might be related to skin ageing. What they discovered was groundbreaking: Q10 stops free radicals, or molecules that are known to cause skin ageing, from damaging cells. The next step was to create a skin cream with Q10. But the team found that this wasn’t easy. “We had to play around quite a bit before we managed to develop a formula that prevented Q10 from being destroyed, which can happen very quickly if it is exposed to sunlight,” Dr Stäb said. “We had to find the right mix between the base of the cream and the active ingredient, Q10. That is what makes our Q10 products so special.” In 1998, the first NIVEA cream with Q10 hit the market, and its effectiveness made it a huge success. As Dr Stäb said, “Scientific tests with our Q10 creams clearly prove that they noticeably smooth wrinkles.” Today, a NIVEA Q10 product is bought every few seconds, and our NIVEA Visage Anti-Wrinkle Q10 Day Cream has become one of our bestselling anti-wrinkle creams. Now, products with enriched with Q10 can be found across all our relevant categories, from NIVEA For Men to NIVEA Sun.