Dear Nivea.

At approximatetely 8:06am this morning, on the corner of Grayston and Sandton Drive Johannesburg, a car crashed into the back of me. The reason it went into the back of me is because one of your promo staff stopped a moving car, in peak hour traffic, to hand him a sample. I hit my brakes to avoid the stopped car in front of me, and in the process the gentleman behind me drove into my rear.

I’m livid for 2 reasons:

1. A member of your promotional team caused an accident, damaging my vehicle, which is no doubt going to cost me money

2. I left the message above on your facebook wall, which you promptly deleted and ignored

Nivea, do you think that deleting my comment on facebook is going to make this go away? Erm, social media suicide, much? All I want is an apology, my brake light replaced and a promise. A promise to not employ muppets who ignore basic road rules and cause accidents.

brandslut xoxo

PS I suggest you buy yourselves this, pronto!


    1. I am fairly new to the PR game, but as the PR and SM Coordinator of four major magazine titles, I know that the way this has been handled is NOT very smart at all. Because at the end of the day, you DO care about your customers, and you should behave as such.

      Whoopy daisy.

      Will keep my eyes open for how they handle this.

    1. Good rant! I drive that road every day and to be honest would have driven over the eedjit promo girl just to prove a point. As you can see I have some road rage issues.

    1. Hi – your comment is still there. Click on ‘Most Recent’ – this is a link that appears directly beneath the Nivea SA photo strip. You will then see your post and Nivea SA’s response.

    1. Posted this post on their wall.

      Curious to see how they react. It’s a real bugbear of mine when people/brands are so amateurish about their Social Media Marketing.

      1. Thanks for your comment Mvelase. The mistake was mine and an innocent one – brand facebook fan walls have two sections and my comment was within the latter, not the default wall. I’ve apologised to NIVEA on their facebook wall and we’ll be in touch this week re. the incident and the manner in which their collateral was being distributed.

    1. Wow, babe. That is such a “Doh!” moment. Ignoring and deleting a post is worse than publicly ‘vloeking’ you. I just posted on Nivea’s wall now and I’m just waiting for it to be deleted…

      1. Thanks for your clarity re. the ‘NIVEA South Africa’ and ‘Most Recent’ sub-sections, seems I’m not the first person to make this mistake!

    1. Just to point out, you won’t be able to claim the damage to your car from Nivea, legally the driver that drove into is at fault and liable for not keeping a safe following distance.

      That said, I say give Nivea a go. People should learn to use their common sense.

      1. I’ll take that up with my insurer. I just hope that brands distributing promotional material at robots, especially during peak traffic times, obey the rules of the road and that NIVEA takes this up with the company handling their activation.

    1. Howdy,

      I’m all for abusing brands when they are doing stupid shit like that, but after I read this I went to check out the page and all your comments are on there? With replies from them… You sure they are deleting stuff? if so, they are as dumb as you say.

    1. How about paying attention when you drive, keeping a safe following distance, and not speeding??

    1. Come on! The only person who caused the accident was the driver in front of you. They could have easily been stopping for a street vendor, beggar or anyone one else. Add to this that the person behind you didn’t have a decent following distance or wasn’t paying attention.

      I’m sorry you had an accident, but really? You want some kind of special treatment because you’re some kind of pseulebrity?

      1. I do not want special treatment. I want brands utilising peak-hour traffic opportunities to hand out samples and promotional material to obey road rules, i.e. only hand out goods to drivers when stopped at red robots. I do not think this is an unreasonable request.

    1. Hi
      Just went to the page. Your comments (both of yours) are there. Just under most recent section. oops?

    1. The only person at fault for the accident is the guy who drove into you. We face all sorts of hazards on the road every day.

      That Nivea representative could have been a child, a dog, a criminal escaping the police, or even a ball bouncing into traffic.

      You were hit because the person behind you was either not paying attention, using improper speed or keeping an incorrect following distance. Possibly even a combination of these.

      Stop feeling so entitled with your opinion of how the rules of the road work. What happened is unfortunate, but it’s the reason we’re taught defensive driving.

    1. I know you’re not wanting to hear this, but if you mention ‘basic road rules’ you should consider the safe following distance, which, if you are applying, leaves you enough room to stop in case the car in front of you has to stop suddenly.

      A one sided argument is simply propaganda..

      1. I’ve been out of town and without access to this blog since Friday morning. I’ve just had the opportunity to approve and publish my comments. No need to call me a hypocrite.

    1. Just thought you should know that your post misses a few essential points of law and indicates a lack of understanding of the fields of etiquette and social mores. The law is clear that the culpability for the damage caused in the collision belongs solely to the driver of the vehicle behind you. Any costs should be borne by said driver or his insurer. That said, you place responsibility for the accident on the promotional staff, yet ignore your own responsibility and that of the driver in front of you of maintaining your full attention to the road and the task of driving – if you had been fully involved in driving, you would have noted the promotions girl and her likely actions and adjusted your driving accordingly, which would have meant a slow, controlled stop, allowing the driver behind you time to react, rather than the sudden slamming on of brakes you describe yourself as having applied. Unless there is a specific law prohibiting the handing out of samples on the roadside, then Nivea has not broken the law. If there is, then you are entitled to lodge a criminal complaint against the company and its employee and your anger should be directed at the Police for not exercising the law. If they are found guilty you may be able to follow that with civil case for damages. However, and more to the point, the issue of posting your rant on their Facebook page (which your sycophantic followers applaud) is pure narcissism. Nivea’s Facebook page is a public forum, your issue is personal. You have made your personal issue public. Nivea does not have to respond in public as they have not (and indeed should not) make the issue public. They are within their rights to remove or moderate your post and those of your followers, which is why they, as administrators, are able to do so within Facebook’s functionality. Nivea’s Facebook page is available for public comment on their products or business, by their customers. As your comments do not relate to either, they should not be included in the forum. Your complaint should have been directed by telephone or in writing to the company and preferably to the correct person or department within the company, upon receipt of which I am sure they would have apologised in a suitable manner, promised to educate their promotional staff and informed you that liability rests with the driver of the vehicle behind you. Now that you have read this and are probably livid once again, consider that what you are experiencing right now is pretty close to how your communication would have landed with the administrator of the Nivea Facebook page and why they would have had NO inclination to be of service to you.

    1. That was a dumb a$$ move on their part. point. I hope everyone gets to see this…and the person in charge of their FB account marketing gets a backhand!

    1. Alan

      That’s a well written piece. My only comment would be that a clearly well-educated man like yourself should be aware of one of the oldest rules of the road, namely jay-walking. It is illegal for a pedestrian to be in the road for any reason but to cross it at an area designated for crossing. We in South Africa have been desensitized into allowing firstly beggars, and now all kinds of sales people to wander around in traffic, all of them breaking the law. This law is an obvious one, not only to protect the pedestrian putting themselves in the way of moving vehicles, but to protect the drivers of those vehicles from being unnecessarily distracted. It is one thing placing your promo girls at a traffic light and instructing them to approach stationary vehicles, it is quite another to put them in moving traffic and have them attempt to stop those vehicles to receive promotional widgets. I am quite sure a man of your stature would agree with our already slack roadside advertising laws, also placed to avoid distracting drivers, else soon there will be a 4m billboard at every corner advertising Teasers, with a stripper handing out branded paraphernalia on the highway. I think what this comes down to is reasonableness. And for me, a reputable brand should not have promotional sales people breaking the law in moving traffic. And if they do, they should accept the consequences of any incidents that that law is expressly there to avoid.

      The “removed” comment by the blogger was clearly a misunderstanding that should be ignored by both parties, so any “social media faux pas” comments should also be ignored, but Nivea still, in my opinion, are responsible for an accident, and as such, should comment or react accordingly.

    1. RD, thanks, and I agree with your comments about jay-walking, driver distraction and reasonableness. In my opinion it is a poor choice for a brand such as Nivea to use promotional staff at traffic lights, even if they are instructed only to approach stationary vehicles, and in that sense they do assume some responsibility, even if they do not legally carry any liability – for one thing, they are responsible for the damage discussions such as this potentially do to their brand and their sales. All of the considerations about promotional pedestrians remains moot, however, if the police make no effort to enforce existing laws and remove pedestrians who break them from intersections to ensure the safety of motorists (and legitimate pedestrians). In New Zealand we have seen the beginnings of a slide into “intersection anarchy” with the arrival of the “friendly windscreen washer” – a familiar sight in Cape Town when I was last resident. However, on nearly every occasion, that I have witnessed someone operating a “roadside service” such as this, by the time I have passed through the intersection on my return home or to my office, the police have issued a fine, a trespass order and moved the “offender” on. While this seems a draconian response in what is otherwise a fairly liberal country, I believe it is better than the alternative. Having said that, Auckland has its own issues around roadside signage – there are so many municipal signs for parking, bus lanes, turning restrictions and the like, that it becomes a real challenge for drivers to see street names, let alone determine which laws are in force for the 5m stretch of road they are travelling on… and that is without 4m Teasers billboards!

    1. Don’t take to the social networks when still emotional and angry! If you would have taken the time to process what happened – you might not have blamed the wrong people (NIVEA). Claim responsibility for your part in the entire mess. You could have just sent a more intelligent message/idea to NIVEA requesting they consider “basic guidelines” when handing out samples at busy spots in their training.

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