Nivea inspires care across South Africa

The Nivea Care bus and promoters working on the campaign Physical and online stores with a difference, where you didn’t spend money but only paid with a simple promise of care have seen Nivea take the marketing of skin care products to a whole new level. The initiative has been rolled out in South Africa through the Nivea Pay with Care campaign. 

The brand has become synonymous with care. Not only caring for skin, but also caring for the wellbeing of others. It has inspired care in South Africa while recognising, reflecting and paying tribute to the spirit of Ubuntu that is at the heart of South African culture. 

From June to August, the Nivea care bus travelled 2 600km reaching out to its consumers in an effort to reward people for their acts of care. It also distributed 109 000 free Nivea products, and in return received 55 000 ‘care promises’ from consumers. 

A new marketing message

‘Nivea has hit the radar in “CareVertising” in South Africa and has begun relating deeper and differently to the consumer. Younger consumers in South Africa are known to connect with brands making a positive social impact, much like global consumers. This will become increasingly important with time,’ says Toni Hughes, creative director at FCB.

Nivea partnered with Gloo@Ogilvy to develop the online Pay with Care platform and the Care Bus strategy. With many people experiencing ‘donor fatigue’, being constantly asked to contribute to different causes, they decided to turn this concept on its head. As an alternative, Nivea Pay with Care offers something in return for promising to help somebody else. The premise of the campaign was that ‘even a small act of care can make a big difference’.

Sean Donnelly, MD of Gloo@Ogilvy Johannesburg, explains: ‘The Nivea online care shop concept was created in order to leverage Beiersdorf’s prominent Facebook and YouTube following via an online platform. Digital consumers could make a “care promise” via Nivea’s online store and get rewarded with a “R10 off” Nivea voucher sent to their cellphone, which they could redeem in store. We extended the dialogue by personally responding to each care pledge.’

Out on the road

The Nivea travelling Care Bus (a mobile NIVEA shop) reached consumers in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga between June and August. The Care Bus was fitted with 20 iPads, where consumers could make their promise to care via their personal Facebook pages. They were then rewarded with a free Nivea product. A care store locator was also installed on the Nivea Facebook page to help people locate the bus in their area.

The beauty of caringAn internal view of the Nivea Care bus

Pay with Care was the second phase of Nivea’s Care is Beautiful programme launched in December 2014, which focused on true stories of South Africans who care for communities in the spirit of Ubuntu.

‘Through research, we have discovered that South Africans feel that Ubuntu principles, while so vital for the greater good of our communities, are slowly ebbing and no longer relevant among the youth. So, we strove to add modernity to Ubuntu, whilst passing on the Ubuntu values to Nivea,’ says Kerstin Bird, marketing director of NIVEA’s parent company, Beiersdorf.

‘By associating this campaign with the concept of Ubuntu it was bound to be more interactive and multi-dimensional. It was showcased, through different communication touch points, a care initiative that was activated around malls and amplified via outside radio broadcasts in key regions. It also featured an advertising campaign starring real life heroes, an online campaign that rewarded South Africans for helping others and collateral, which not only created engagement, but also jobs,’ adds Hughes.

Creating unique content

According to Nivea, a campaign of such diversity required a unique support system. Therefore, FCB produced a documentary style television advertisement, which featured real South Africans. The commercial tells the story of three everyday heroes in South Africa and celebrates their incredible acts of kindness and generosity.

A 10 second tag-on was designed to inform viewers about the online Care Store, where they could make a ‘care promise’. During 2014, Nivea also invested just over R1 million in the people and NGO’s behind this TV commercial.

‘Our purpose was to inspire South Africans to care for others; even the smallest act of care can make a meaningful difference. Therefore television and storytelling is the backbone of the campaign, showing a broader audience what is possible if we give back in our own way,’ comments Bird.

Going forward, Nivea intends honouring and celebrating more real people. ‘Nivea Care is Beautiful supports the global Nivea ‘Care for Family’ initiative, which is a vision of uplifting one million families by 2020. This will be a long-term investment with many layers,’ she adds.

Towards the end of this year, Nivea will announce a long-term CSR strategic partner and will kick off the next three to five years CSR investment programme benefitting a local community.


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