The development of NIVEA Creme over 100 years ago marked the beginning of
a unique success story and the birth of the most famous skin care brand in the
world*. NIVEA is the product of brilliant research, outstanding creativity, and
sound business acumen. In 1890, Dr. Oscar Troplowitz bought Paul C. Beiersdorf’s
Hamburg-based laboratory. Troplowitz’s scientific advisor, the leading
dermatologist Professor Paul Gerson Unna, told him about an innovative
emulsifying agent called Eucerit (the ancient Greek word for beautiful wax).
Together, they developed the world’s first stable oil-and-water-based cream
that was suitable for mass production in 1911 and called it NIVEA.
“mother of all creams” was named for
its pure white colour, and the word NIVEA is derived from the Latin word “nix,
nivis” meaning snow. So NIVEA means “snow white.” In addition to Eucerit, which
was used to bind the oils with water, the original Creme also contained
glycerin and a little citric acid, fragranced with rose and lily-of-the-valley
oils. Despite regular refinements to adapt NIVEA Creme’s formula to the latest
scientific findings, in essence it has changed very little over the last 100
NIVEA Creme tin, on the other hand, was completely redesigned just
14 years after it was initially launched. In the 1920s, or the “Golden
Twenties” as they were also known, a brand new zeitgeist emerged, and “youth”
and “leisure” became the new buzzwords. NIVEA recognized it, responded to it,
and adapted its brand profile accordingly. The fancy art nouveau design of the original NIVEA
tin was replaced by a simple, yet distinctive look. The year was 1925 and the
look was the blue tin with white NIVEA lettering.
NIVEA family continued to grow. In the 1930s, many new
products were added to the range, such as shaving cream, shampoo, and skin oil.
NIVEA became a global top-selling brand, partly thanks to the innovative NIVEA advertising
by Elly Heuss-Knapp, wife of the man who later became Germany’s first Federal
President, Theodor Heuss. Elly Heuss-Knapp recognized the charismatic potential
of the blue and white brand colours and cleverly incorporated them in her
miracle and competition. Despite the raw material shortages and hardships of
the post-war years, NIVEA Creme had become firmly established worldwide as a
classic brand by the 1950s. A new travel trend was fuelled by increasing
affluence in the 1950s and 1960s, when beach holidays in Southern Europe and
skiing holidays were all the rage. Beiersdorf picked up on this trend and
catered to it with a wide range of NIVEA sun protection and sun care products.
The supermarket boom, the abolition of recommended
retail prices, and new market players introduced tougher competition in the
1970s. Beiersdorf responded with a confident and effective advertising campaign
called “Creme de la Creme.” It focused on NIVEA Creme’s unique quality,
unrivalled effectiveness, and honesty.
brand development. Studies in the 1980s revealed that consumer trust
in the NIVEA brand was extremely high. Beiersdorf recognized the growth
potential associated with this finding and launched a number of new NIVEA skin
care products in the customary high quality. One of these was the NIVEA MEN
After Shave Balsam for sensitive men’s skin.
In the 90s, NIVEA expanded to become a global brand with consistent names, products and packaging. NIVEA families, like Visage, deodorant, soft, Vital and NIVEA Bath Care were developed at this time. In only 10 years, sales quadrupled and NIVEA became Beiersdorf’s largest brand by far.
100 Years Skincare for Life. Fans around the world
celebrated the NIVEA brand’s 100th anniversary in 2011 in Hamburg, where the
NIVEA history began. Beiersdorf
has now introduced a standard design language for the some 500 products in the
big NIVEA family. When the step-by-step conversion process that commenced in
2012 concludes, all NIVEA packaging will feature the new logo, which is based
on NIVEA’s distinctive hallmark, the blue tin.
Find historical clips and TV commercials at the
Beiersdorf Classic Cinema here.
(*Source: Euromonitor International Limited, by
brand in the categories of face, body, and hand care; retail sales 2013)