Rihanna wasn’t some former Disney star with a wholesome image that suddenly got all grown up and went wild. Nivea knew very well that the “We Found Love” singer had a reputation for being ultra sexy, provocative and edgy.
Still, Nivea featured Rihanna in a series of advertisements for its lotion, and the cosmetics giant also sponsored her world tour and other Rihanna events in 2011.
To suggest that Rihanna suddenly no longer fit some “family” image was disingenuous at best. Didn’t Nivea executives know about Rih Rih’s sexy image and hard-partying ways before they inked that blockbuster deal? Of course they did!
Besides, did Nivea forget that their own print ad, celebrating the company’s 100th anniversary, featured Rihanna topless with fiery red hair? Not to mention the fact that Rih Rih’s hit song “California King Bed” – the video for which has her writhing on a bed with a man – played in a special TV commercial celebrating Nivea’s centennial.
So I’m not buying the whole “she was too sexy” excuse.
The more likely explanation is that Nivea didn’t like Rihanna’s continued association with Chris Brown. Right or wrong, those two will probably forever be linked – at least in the public’s eye – with that ill-fated night of domestic violence. And domestic violence doesn’t exactly fit with the wholesome “family” image Nivea wants to project.
So to the extent that Rihanna maintains connected in any way to Brown – including the prospect of a Rihanna-Chris Brown friendship or (gasp!) the possibility of a romantic reunion – that scenario almost certainly put Nivea execs on edge.
Rihanna tweeting out pictures of her smoking weed and drinking alcohol likely didn’t help either. But a rejection of all this – her ties to Chris Brown and Rihanna’s personal choices and hard-charging lifestyle – is something Nivea execs probably didn’t want to say publicly and candidly. Their actions spoke loud and clearly though.
Whatever the case, Rihanna seemed to shrug off Nivea’s move. Right after Heidenreich’s statement, on August 7 Rihanna went on Twitter and posted a headshot of Heidenreich, along with the comment: “No caption necessary.”
Other than that, she hasn’t publicly commented on the soured deal. But the loss of a $25 million sponsor has got to hurt.
Still Topping the Music Charts
On the positive side, Rihanna has been able to generate and maintain commercial success in other ways. For starters, she’s kept her lucrative contract promoting Vita Coco coconut water.
More impressive, Rihanna’s Rebelle perfume is the #1 top-selling celebrity perfume and it’s earned the Barbados-born singer millions of dollars.
And the most obvious bright spot is what shot Rihanna to fame in the first place. When it comes to her music, she’s unstoppable and is lauded as a constant innovator.
That’s why Rihanna’s music sales have remained strong and fans of her music continue to love her songs. Despite criticism of Rihanna, there’s little doubt that Rihanna’s fans have generally been enormously supportive of her – before and after the Brown episode.
Likewise, Rihanna’s concert sales are strong. She played to sold-out concerts globally over the past year and had a heavy touring schedule that included more than 85 tour dates, according to Forbes.
Even now, many fans of the sultry songstress are anticipating the arrival of Rihanna’s latest album in November. As usual, Rihanna is expected to top the music charts.
Like it or not, though, there are some still people who simply won’t buy her songs, download her tracks, or attend a Rihanna concert — solely because of how she’s handle the Brown affair.
But if Rihanna can find it in her heart to forgive Chris Brown, who are we to judge?
As she told Oprah, Rihanna did what she felt she needed to do – for both herself and the ex-lover she still deeply cares for.
For Rihanna’s sake, however, I just hope that her forgiving Chris Brown doesn’t cost her more than she expects.
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®, is a personal finance expert, television and radio personality, and the author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller ‘Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom.’ She has appeared on such national TV programs as ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show,’ ‘Dr. Phil,’ ‘The Tyra Banks Show’ and ‘Good Morning America’ sharing her success story and teaching millions about proper money management. Follow Lynnette Khalfani-Cox on Twitter at @TheMoneyCoach.