After the latest Dove ad debacle, you'd think that all other companies might do things like run their ads past more objective eyes. But, apparently not. Now skincare company Nivea is embroiled in controversy over a "skin lightening" ad running in Africa.

Experience shows how easily even large companies can fall into an idea some group thinks is good when it's clear that many consumers will not agree. An Audi promotion in China compared women getting married to a horse purchase. A few years ago, Walmart advertised "fat girl costumes", which eventually got changed to a banner wishing people a "monstrously big Halloween." And Dove had an problem earlier this year with bottle shapes that were supposed to celebrate differences among women but ended up classifying them by body contour.

So many examples of what not to do. Yet, companies keep marching into a mine field. This latest case is a clear example. Nivea reportedly was promoting its Natural Fairness Body Lotion, as Newsweek reports.

Nivea's new ad for "Natural Fairness Body Lotion," which is being displayed across Africa, features a black woman looking disappointedly at her own skin. "I need a product that I can really trust to restore my skin's natural fairness," she says. But after applying the miracle cream, which a narrator says can "visibly lighten" skin, the woman beams.

It's the type of mistake that should have been obvious to someone's eyes, given that any company, particularly multinationals, should have a diverse staff and set of service providers, particularly in marketing.

It's not the first time that Nivea has been called out for its advertising. Even this year. An online ad with the slogan "White is Purity", targeted to audiences in the Middle East, caused a major uproar. (And that was before white supremacists coopted the campaign to promote their own messages.)

In 2011, the company ran an ad with a picture of a black man, holding his presumably former afro-adorned head, and the caption, "re-civilize yourself." The version showing a white man was run with the copy, "Sin City isn't an excuse to look like hell."

Beiersdorf, a company based in Germany and owner of the Nivea brand, has apologized in the past for wayward communications. It has not yet responded to my request for a statement about the current ad.

One of the company's stated core values is this: "We act responsibly towards our colleagues, consumers, brands, our society and our environment." Perhaps it needs a new one. Might I suggest, "We submit all our ads to review from a diverse group of people who warn us when we're about to do something many consider an insult and, in the process, jab a sharp stick into our corporate eye."

We're back to the perpetual problem of when companies will learn. Then again, with all the evidence over the years from many companies, perhaps it's not when, but if.