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Monday, 27 June 2011


Talent search shows and event marketing are nothing out of the ordinary today. In the
1920s, however, both were unheard of. Until then, most advertising campaigns
featured illustrated posters and advertisements. Yet this was a decade of social
change and new media that threw up new challenges to companies advertising their
products. Beiersdorf tackled these challenges with pioneering results.
Clean-looking boys
While an army of graphic artists, illustrators and
copywriters were working on the brand new
NIVEA product design
concept, Beiersdorf’s
Head of Advertising Juan
Gregorio Clausen came
up with a brilliant marketing concept quite by chance. He discovered
the photo of the Wiethuechter brothers in a Hamburg photographer’s
shop window. After acquiring the rights to the photo from the boys’
parents, all the new design NIVEA soap advertisements from 1924
onwards featured the clean-looking boys. The campaign was a big hit,
especially with women.
Happy, healthy girls
One year later, Beiersdorf launched a unique
search to find sisters for the brothers by
posting a notice in a Berlin newspaper. It said,
“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“. Ultimately, the Froehlich sisters were chosen from more than 1,000
Beiersdorf Aktiengesellschaft | Unnastrasse 48 | 20245 Hamburg, Germany | Phone: +49 (0) 40 4909-0
respondents as the NIVEA Creme advertising motif. Their father wasn’t particularly happy
about them doing it at first. But he had no chance of deterring Margot, Hertha and Elfriede.
These six kids were the best possible brand ambassadors during the new product design
launch phase. Unlike today's next top model and pop idol shows that give their candidates a
style update, the NIVEA campaign focused on its models’ authenticity and natural appeal.
Unfortunately, none of the original six NIVEA models are
still alive today. They often reiterated their very positive
memories of their NIVEA days in interviews and at a
reunion that took place at the Beiersdorf Headquarters in
1992. Rolf Robert, the youngest of the brothers, actually
carried the NIVEA photo around with him as a talisman in
his wallet. And for many years the girls enjoyed being recognised wherever they went and
greeted with the words, “Hello NIVEA”.
Pack your swim shorts
The very positive response to the first talent search contest
encouraged the NIVEA team to initiate a second and even more
spectacular one. This time, it decided to take advantage of the
newfound popularity of fresh air, sunlight and outdoor activities.
In 1925, the company distributed giant inflatable NIVEA tubes in
the new design at the big German seaside resorts and let
holidaymakers have fun with them. The bathers were asked to
photograph or draw the best water games and send them in. There were money prizes for
the people who sent in the best entries and they also had their photos and drawings
published. These holiday contests were also immensely popular with the public.
Quote by Dagan Cohen, Draft FCB:
I discovered this campaign while I was working on the pitch. I was amazed at what an
innovative idea it was. It could have been done today. Looking back, I’d say that the NIVEA
Beiersdorf Aktiengesellschaft | Unnastrasse 48 | 20245 Hamburg, Germany | Phone: +49 (0) 40 4909-0
brand has been innovative right from the start. Just look at the Three Little Boys campaign in
1924. NIVEA has always been committed to finding new ways of getting closer to
consumers. Especially now that we have interactive media because they bring us closer to a
lot more people all around the world.
Both of the talent searches generated associations of family, activity and naturalness
with the NIVEA brand products. This, in conjunction with the new blue and white
product design, smoothed NIVEA’s passage into the modern world. NIVEA’s contests
and promotions involving members of the public at such an early stage in its product
and advertising history demonstrated its strong commitment to being close to
consumers – a commitment that has remained strong right up to the present day.
Please find further texts, photos, footage, and videos on NIVEA’s 100th anniversary in our
Virtual Press Room at http://www.Beiersdorf.com/Nivea100
Beiersdorf AG
Corporate Communications
phone: +49 (0) 40 4909-2001
fax: +49 (0) 40 4909-2516
email: CorporateCommunications@Beiersdorf.com


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