Nivea’s journey began in 1911
Nivea’s journey began in 1911

Odd Lot: When ‘snow white’ landed in plastic

German-made Nivea, which is sold in colourful aluminium tins, had to change its packaging to plastic cans for the UK to avoid a marketing mistake

The name Nivea comes from the Latin words “nix, nivis", which means “snow". When translated, Nivea literally means “snow white". Nivea’s journey began in 1911, when pharmacist Oscar Troplowitz recognized the potential in Eucerit, an emulsifier that made it possible to bind water and oil into a stable cream. Eucerit made it possible for a skin cream to remain stable over time, which eventually meant that Nivea could be exported all around the world without losing any of its quality or consistency.

But exporting came with its own challenges. In Africa, the company had to market the cream in three languages. In the UK, where people often thought aluminium tin cans were for shoe polish, the brand had to introduce a new plastic packaging. Nivea was one of the first to launch an advertising campaign looking for naturally healthy and clean-looking girls instead of “great beauties, debutantes or young ladies with kiss curls".

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