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NIVEA appears to have discovered its own anti-aging formula – the unparalleled success of a cosmetic product. Just two words in white lettering are on the lid of the dark blue jar: NIVEA Creme. That’s it. The name speaks for itself, it’s familiar to everyone and everyone associates something with it.

NIVEA Creme is a product that has reinvented itself over and over again for around 100 years. Plus, NIVEA has recently become the world’s largest brand of skin-care products. 80 percent of all consumers become familiar with NIVEA during their childhood and throughout the world NIVEA is listed again and again among the most trusted brands of skin-care products.

It’s been a long road: A patent application was submitted in 1900 for an emulsifier called Eucerit (“beautiful wax”) and in 1911 chemist Isaac Lifschütz and his team used a water-in-oil emulsion with Eucerit as a basis for developing the world’s first refatting and moisturizing cream. Its white color is what gave the cream its name, which is derived from the Latin “nix, nivis” – snow.

Advertising poster for "NIVEA Creme - NIVEA Olja", Sweden 1932; Advertising poster for NIVEA, Germany 1967; NIVEA Creme advertisement, Germany 1986. © BeiersdorfAdvertising poster for "NIVEA Creme - NIVEA Olja", Sweden 1932; Advertising poster for NIVEA, Germany 1967; NIVEA Creme advertisement, Germany 1986. © Beiersdorf

A global brand

Although the original plant was located in Hamburg, NIVEA became what we would now call a global brand at a very early point in its history. By as early as 1914, NIVEA was already represented in 34 countries around the world and 42 percent of its sales were from abroad. In the 1930s the company introduced “NIVEA Whitepaste,” a powder developed especially for women in Japan and China, who welcomed the new product with tremendous enthusiasm.  And now – at last – men are having their turn: just two years after it was launched, NIVEA for Men became the local market leader in men’s personal care products.
“In addition to Europe, we’re focusing on the Brazilian, Russian and Indian markets, but with a special emphasis on China,” explains Thomas-B. Quaas, chairman of the Beiersdorf AG executive board. “The Chinese cosmetics market is growing at a phenomenal rate, especially in urban areas – and we’re growing right along with it. Sales of NIVEA brand products have gone up by around 50 percent over the past two years.”

House of NIVEA Make Up, Couple on the Beach with NIVEA Creme, NIVEA For Men Customer © BeiersdorfHouse of NIVEA Make Up, Couple on the Beach with NIVEA Creme, NIVEA For Men Customer © Beiersdorf

Tradition and innovation

NIVEA now encompasses over 500 additional products including facial care, hair care, shaving, bath/shower, personal care, baby care and sunscreen products. It’s astonishing: “Market research has shown us that consumers all over the world think of NIVEA as one of their own national brands and not as an import,” says Quaas.

Yet what is it that makes a brand so popular and successful after so many generations? Two elements are especially important: tradition and innovation. The unique combination of a highly innovative corporate culture and 125 years of Beiersdorf expertise in skin research have made for a fertile blend. Germany’s largest and most modern skin research center – one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world - was opened in Hamburg in 2004, for instance, and is an institution of superlatives: 650 international scientists work here to reveal the secrets of the skin down to the most minute detail and to search for the causes of the aging process.

Always stay one step ahead

The introduction of NIVEA Visage DNAge products caused a sensation in the cosmetics industry. Designed to rejuvenate the skin, the complex of active agents in these products revolves around folic acid, a true multitasker from the family of B vitamins with a striking anti-aging effect. Beiersdorf scientists were able to take the findings from nutritional research and make use of them for skin-care applications.

Beiersdorf AG has a clear objective throughout the world: always stay one step ahead of consumer demands by pursuing successful innovations. “NIVEA stands for a lot of positive basic values,” says Thomas-B. Quaas, summarizing the NIVEA success story in a nutshell. “I think that people – especially in fast-paced, uncertain times – are really happy to have familiar brands and then become quite fond of them.”

Face to face: the House of NIVEA

House of NIVEA Foam Massage © BeiersdorfHouse of NIVEA Foam Massage © Beiersdorf

NIVEA as far as the eye can see. The world’s first House of NIVEA, located at one of the finest addresses in Hamburg’s city center, invites anyone looking for relaxation to come in and enjoy a wellness break – a popular trend. This oasis of well-being – all in shades of blue, of course – provides 800 square meters where visitors can enjoy massage, receive cosmetic or beauty applications, solicit advice or have their skin and hair analyzed with the most modern technology available. Due to the extremely positive feedback it has received, other Houses are planned all around the world.

Unforgettable: the fragrance of NIVEA

NIVEA Creme tins © BeiersdorfNIVEA Creme tins © Beiersdorf

Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Even blindfolded there’s no mistaking it: the fragrance of NIVEA. It’s discreet perfume oil is considered one of the classic fragrances for skin cream. Because very few synthetic aroma chemicals were available in the early 20th century, the NIVEA fragrance consists largely of essential oils. Contributors to its flowery bouquet include lily of the valley, rose, violet, lilac and lavender, with orange and lemon fruit essences rounding out the fragrance. And incidentally: the secret original formula for the perfume oil used in NIVEA cream has changed very little after all these years.

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