Nivea (pronounced [niˈveːaː]) is a German personal care brand that specialises in skin- and body-care. It is owned by the Hamburg-based company Beiersdorf Global AG. The company was founded on March 28, 1882, by pharmacist Paul Carl Beiersdorf. In 1890, it was sold to Oscar Troplowitz. Troplowitz kept working with his scientific consultant Paul Gerson Unna and the German chemist Isaac Lifschütz on a new skin care cream. In 1900, Lifschütz developed a water-in-oil emulsion as a skin cream with Eucerit, the first stable emulsion of its kind. This was the basis for Eucerin and, later, Nivea. Nivea comes from the Latin word niveus/nivea/niveum, meaning 'snow-white'.
During the 1930s, Beiersdorf began producing such products as tanning oils, shaving creams, shampoo and facial cleanser and toners. The trademark "Nivea" was expropriated in a large number of countries following World War II. Beiersdorf completed buying back the confiscated trademark rights in 1997. During the 1980s, the Nivea brand expanded into a wider global market.
1882: Pharmacist Paul Carl Beiersdorf establishes the company on March 28. Nivea originated in Germany. The date of the patent document for the manufacture of medical plasters is taken as the date of the company’s formation.
Paul Carl Beiersdorf produces gutta-percha plasters in his laboratory on the basis of his patent, laying the foundations for modern plaster technology.
1890: Pharmacist Oskar Troplowitz (born in 1863 in the Prussian City of Gleiwitz - nowadays Gliwice, Poland) takes over the company.
1893: The first international cooperation agreement is concluded with U.S. trading company Lehn & Fink for the U.S.
1900: Patent application for Eucerit, an emulsifying agent. Eucerit is the basis for Eucerin and, later on, for Nivea Creme.
Before World War I
1906: The first overseas branch is established in London.
1909: Labello is launched on the market. It is the first lip care product in sliding tube packaging. The term Labello is derived from Latin for "beautiful lip" (labeo = lip; bello = beautiful).
1911: Nivea Creme – the first stable water-in-oil emulsion – is introduced. The emulsifying agent Eucerit is made from lanolin, found in sheep's wool, and is the key to Nivea Creme's unique properties.
1918: The deaths of Oskar Troplowitz and his partner Otto Hanns Mankiewicz result in the formation of a stock corporation (limited company) on June 1, 1922.
Between the wars
1922: Willy Jacobsohn takes over as Chairman of the Executive Board of the newly formed stock corporation. The first self-adhesive plaster is introduced under the name Hansaplast.
In 1925, Nivea remodelled its cream in a blue tin with a white logo.
1925: Nivea is relaunched in blue packaging.
1928: Beiersdorf shares are listed on the Hamburg stock exchange for the first time. Over 20 production sites worldwide are already in operation.
1933: Under the pressure of National Socialist propaganda, the Jewish members of the Executive Board step down. Willy Jacobsohn, the former Chairman of the Executive Board, heads the foreign affiliates from Amsterdam until 1938.
By adopting a policy of "honorable tactics",the Beiersdorf Executive Board, under the leadership of Carl Claussen, steers the company through the Nazi period. Although Beiersdorf retains its own business culture, it must still cooperate with the regime.
1936: tesafilm, an innovative transparent adhesive film, is launched. Later, in 1941, tesa is introduced as the umbrella brand for self-adhesive technology.
After World War II
1945: At the end of the Second World War, a majority of the Hamburg production plants and administrative buildings have been destroyed through Allied bombing.
1945-1949: Most of the affiliates and the international trademarks in almost all countries, in particular in the USA, UK and the Commonwealth, and France, are lost. The Beiersdorf company begins to regain its trademarks again.
- During World War II, the marketing manager Elly Heuss-Knapp distanced the brand from Nazi ideology. In 1949 she became the wife of Theodor Heuss.
1950: ph5 Eucerin is launched on the market. This innovative ointment focuses on the importance of the skin’s own natural protective acid barrier in maintaining good skin health.
1951: The first deodorising soap is introduced under the name of 8x4. The brand is extended into a product family throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
1955: Beiersdorf launches a protective hand cream on the market under the name of atrix.
1963: Nivea milk – liquid Nivea Creme in the form of a water-in-oil emulsion – is introduced "for all-over body care".
1974: Beiersdorf diversifies its business and introduces a divisional structure. At this time, the divisions are cosmed, medical, pharma and tesa.
1982: Start of steady expansion of Nivea as a brand for skin and body care through a large number of subbrands with an international focus. Introduction of Nivea Gesicht (face) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
1989: Change of strategy: Start of the implementation of a strategic reorientation process focusing on the core competencies of skin care, wound care and adhesive technology.
1990: Acquisition of the Juvena brand, developed by the Divapharma pharmaceutical laboratory, founded in 1945 in Zurich.
1991: Acquisition of the la prairie brand. The company originated in the famous La Prairie clinic in Montreux, Switzerland.
1992: Launch of Nivea's Blue Harmony advertising campaign. It was placed the last time in 2005.
1995: Acquisition of the Futuro brand. The company was founded in Ohio, USA in 1917 by Georg Jung, a German, and produced bandages right from the start. The "Futuro" brand with its black and yellow packaging was born in 1936.
1999: The company's strategy is streamlined further to focus on a small number of strong consumer brands. Professional wound care and self-adhesive technology are given the opportunity to introduce their own organisational structures.
2001: The new strategy enables tesa to become an independent affiliate. Tesa AG is formed as a wholly owned affiliate of Beiersdorf, enabling it to react more flexibly to consumers and industrial customers.
Professional wound care is spun off in line with the new strategy and contributed to a joint venture between Beiersdorf and Smith & Nephew. BSN medical, domiciled in Hamburg, is founded.
2002: Florena becomes a wholly owned Beiersdorf subsidiary. The cooperation dates back to 1989, and was intensified following the reunification of Germany.
2003: A new functional group organisation focusing on the areas of brands, supply chain management, finance and human resources replaces the previous divisional organization
2004: The new skin research centre opens in Hamburg, underscoring the innovative strength of the globally successful Beiersdorf group.
2011: Nivea celebrates its "100 Years of Skincare" festivities featuring several performances by Barbadian singer and actress Rihanna. Rihanna's song "California King Bed" is featured as a part of the "100 Years of Skincare" commercial campaign.
2011: Nivea was fined $900,000 by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for falsely claiming that consumers could slim down by regularly applying Nivea My Silhouette! cream to their skin.
2011: Nivea publishes a world map on its web site that omits Israel; Simon Wiesenthal Center protests.
2011: Nivea publishes an advertisement that draws widespread criticism in online and social media as being racist. The advertisement depicts a black man of African origin dressed in 'preppy' American style, with a short haircut and cleanshaven face, apparently holding his own severed head which has an unkempt afro hairstyle and ungroomed facial hair. The tagline reads "Re-civilize yourself" and the man appears to be about to vigorously throw away his so-called uncivilised self. It appears as part of a campaign where additional images showing white men don't use the word 're-civilize'. The advertisement is criticised as being racist towards African-Americans, as it is interpreted as implying that they're uncivilised people. Also, the ad's tagline "Recivilize yourself" is worded as an instruction or order given to the black man; this might be interpreted as a reference to African-Americans' past slavery, and in the ad the black man appears to be carrying out this instruction/order. Nivea reacted to the allegations of racism by withdrawing the advertisement and issuing a statement admitting to causing offence.