A recent ad by Nivea for Men erupted in a hot debate over racism. Several people have had strong opinions about the ad, thus leading to Nivea ultimately making a total of six apologetic statements on its Facebook page by August 18.
It is not a surprise by many that the Nivea for Men ad has been perceived as racially charged. However, in this whirlwind of controversy, what remains a prevalent fact is that social media, and Facebook in particular, has been the legs to keeping this topic alive and running.
Well past the time television anchors and news stations were reporting on the drama, Facebook has created a comfortable and sustainable home for the racial debates surrounding the Nivea ad. It’s no doubt this fate was inevitable.
Facebook allows for all issues, especially more sensitive ones like examples of racial adversity, to remain active long after the traditional news media have moved on to other subjects. Here’s how.
The Passionate Upstage The Indifferent
Often times it’s only a small fraction of a majority that are responsible for fueling such a fire as the Nivea for Men ad disagreement.
Thanks to Facebook, that small fraction is capable of having a very strong and resounding voice. For those not associated with the minority, what is a soap box for some becomes a spectator sport for the rest.
The Domino Effect
Facebook’s power and popularity is in its sharing capabilities. Sharing is made both fast and easy through the social media platform.
For this, an incredible domino effect occurs at the knees of every raising issue or debate. This has been no different for the Nivea for Men ad racism controversy.
The more easily people are able to share and to express their opinions, the more difficult, or easy, it becomes to influence the progress of getting over an issue as large as racism.
Hot Topics Stay Hot Longer
Pre-Facebook era, hot topics remained hot only momentary and simmered off soon after viable news source’s coverage on the issue is over. Nowadays however, with Facebook has come a newfound voice for the individual. For this, everyone feels more entitled to have and to voice their opinion. Therefore, instead of only television networks, news reporters and journalists having commentary on a circulating topic, content and its provider is no longer limited. With Facebook, more than ever before more user generated content is being created and consequently, the lifespan of many hot topics, like the drama that has erupted since the Nivea for Men ad, is much longer.
There is a definite divide between those who agree that the Nivea for Men ad is racist and those who do not. As it can be seen most predominantly on Facebook, a social media platform more engaged with the younger community, a more simplistic and modern opinion on the issue prevails.
Although, when the adverse point of view is expressed, a negative style of opinion-piggybacking can take place. There’s justification in clinging to such views, but just as people are allowed to be sensitive to what has happened in the past, when are people going to question whether over-sensitivity is preventing future progress?
Marketers Strategize For Online Attention
Perhaps it’s the fact that marketers recognize that borderline racial messages, if touched very delicately, will create a lot of buzz. Whether the Nivea for Men ad was strategically planned or an accidental oversight, racial debates result in huge brand exposure.
What’s more, Facebook creates almost a perfect web for users to complain about an issue and for a brand to apologize, thus solving the issue. So no matter complaining, sharing or apologizing, Facebook keeps problems like racism relevant, even despite its time for resolution.
The team at ShortStack wrote this guest post.