100 Years of Skin Care for Life

Though the Nivea Crème packaging has changed over the years, the signature product’s formula remains much the same as in its early years.

The brand and parent company Beiersdorf is celebrating its 100th anniversary, though the global giant was established 29 years before the invention of Nivea by Paul C. Beiersdorf in Hamburg. In 1890, Oscar Troplowitz, a pharmacist and entrepreneur, acquired Beiersdorf and began building his company with ground-breaking new products—including the first technical adhesive tapes and rubber, as well as medical plasters.

Troplowitz, chemist Isaac Lifschutz, and dermatologist Paul Gerson Unna, shared an eye for innovation, and in December 1911, they had invented Nivea Crème. Three short years later, Beiersdorf was doing business in 34 countries, garnering 42% of sales abroad.

The birth of the cream’s signature “Nivea blue” was in the mid-1920s, when a brand new advertising style for Nivea was introduced. As the story goes, Europeans were hungry for life and wanted to live it to the fullest. The brand Nivea, already appealing to active people, was re-launched both in packaging and in advertising. The colors blue and white now represented the brand—and images of elegant ladies in their boudoirs at home were replaced with those of fit women in the sunlight. Gone was the whimsical art nouveau decoration on the tin, making way for a cleaner, simpler look—a timeless, classic design consumers all around the world instantly recognize today.

Since its inception, Nivea Crème has evolved into other category lines—including bath care, body care, lip care, cosmetics, hair care and men’s care. Today, Nivea is the world’s largest skin care brand, and is backed by 125 years of skin care experience; parent company Beiersdorf is also home to other internationally successful brands such as Eucerin, La Prairie, Labello, 8x4 and Hansaplast/Elastoplast.

Looking back on Nivea’s heritage, Diana Arena, trade marketing manager on Nivea skin care says, “It’s exciting to see how one little cream tin evolved into all these other categories, making Nivea the number one skin care brand globally. Our Nivea blue 86-year logo speaks to the message of ‘skin care for life,’ which educates the U.S. consumer. While globally our expertise is very well-known, becoming a leader in the U.S. market has been a gradual, recent development,” she shares.

[Beiersdorf was recognized in the May 2009 issue of GCI magazine for “the overwhelming success that Beiersdorf had in 2008 by focusing on and applying marketing and developmental muscle to its flagship Nivea brand line” and its “development of skin and beauty care to improve its position across beauty markets” to post group sales of €5,971 million in 2008, a 7.5% growth over 2007.]

For 100 years of Nivea stories (including the “The Nivea Boys: The Fresh Faces of a New Era” advertising campaign), visit www.niveausa.com/experience/100years.