Global advertising agency FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) has cut ties with personal care giant Nivea following allegations that the brand rejected an image that the agency pitched showing two men’s hands touching, people familiar with the matter told Ad Age.
An individual on the client team allegedly remarked, “we don’t do gay at Nivea” on a call with members of the FCB team, one of which is gay, the sources reported.
FCB CEO Carter Murray sent a memo to employees, informing them that the agency will resign its global Nivea account when contracts expire at the end of the year.
The personal care brand is owned by Hamburg, Germany-based Beiersdorf,.
According to Murray’s memo, obtained by AdAge, Beiersdorf’s other brands, including Eucerin and Hansaplast, will remain under FCB.
“There comes a point in every long term relationship when you reflect on what you’ve accomplished together and set your sails for where your journey will take you next,” Murray stated in the memo.
“Sometimes that journey ahead demands tough choices that lead down different paths.” He stated that the decision follows “much reflection and discussion on our creative ambitions.”
“It is my hope that in reflecting on the incredible journey we’ve had with Nivea around the world and in your markets, you take pride in what we accomplished together and come to respect the many difficult factors we had to carefully weigh to take this step.”
According to Murray’s email, Nivea represents 1 per cent of the agency’s global revenue.
“We are confident that we will be able to make this up in 2020,” Murray said in the memo.
Both FCB and Nivea have yet to comment on the matter.