Is this the new normal?
The consumer goods conglomerate, whose portfolio includes Dove, Axe, TRESemme and Vaseline, announced the news Tuesday, unveiling plans for a new “Positive Beauty” vision for its brand advertising.
Within a year, the word “normal” will be pulled from packaging for at least 200 products, the Associated Press reports. Marketing for hair and skincare products has traditionally used language like “for normal skin” or “normal hair,” but a global study by Unilever found that the term “normal” as a descriptor for hair and skin makes most people (56%) feel excluded.
Gauging opinion, Unilever polled 10,000 people in nine countries and learned that 70% believe the word “normal” on ads and product packaging has a negative impact. To that end, 74% agreed that the beauty and personal care business could better focus on making people feel better, not just look better.
Guided by this new ethos, Unilever – which Reuters reports is one of the world’s top advertisers – will no longer alter a person’s body shape, size, proportion or skin color, and feature more models “from diverse groups who are under-represented,” the London company said in a statement.
“With one billion people using our beauty and personal care products every day, and even more seeing our advertising, our brands have the power to make a real difference to people’s lives,” Sunny Jain, president of beauty and personal care, said in a news release. “As part of this, we are committed to tackling harmful norms and stereotypes and shaping a broader, far more inclusive definition of beauty.”
“We know that removing ‘normal’ from our products and packaging will not fix the problem alone, but it is an important step forward,” Jain added.
In June, Unilever announced it would pull the terms “whitening,” “lightening” and “fair” from its marketing materials to better promote racial inclusivity.
As part of the push, the company renamed Fair & Lovely product line (sold in India) to Glow & Lovely, following backlash that the brand was perpetuating negative stereotypes about darker skin tones.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.