Unilever Will Remove The Word ‘Normal’ From All Packaging And Advertising To Promote ‘Inclusivity’
UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 30: A bar of Dove soap, a brand owned by Unilever is used to wash hands in London, U.K., on Wednesday, July 30, 2008. Unilever, the world's second-largest maker of consumer goods, said first-quarter profit fell 45 percent after shoppers in western Europe sought cheaper alternatives to the company's Knorr soups and Dove soaps.
Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Unilever announced Tuesday that “it will eliminate the word ‘normal’ from all of our beauty and personal care brands’ packaging and advertising, as part of the launch of our new Positive Beauty vision and strategy.”

In a news release on their website, the company said that “Positive Beauty, which sets out several progressive commitments and actions for our beauty and personal care brands, including Dove, Lifebuoy, Axe and Sunsilk, will champion a new era of beauty which is equitable and inclusive, as well as sustainable for the planet.”

The release explained that “The decision to remove ‘normal’ is one of many steps that we are taking to challenge narrow beauty ideals, as we work towards helping to end discrimination and advocating for a more inclusive vision of beauty. It comes as global research into people’s experiences of the beauty industry reveals that using ‘normal’ to describe hair or skin makes most people feel excluded.”

The release then references a 10,000-person study commissioned by Unilever, conducted in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. According the Unilever, the study found that:

  • More than half of people (56%) think that the beauty and personal care industry can make people feel excluded.
  • People want to see the beauty and personal care industry focusing more on making people feel better, than just looking better (74%).
  • More than half of people (52%) say they now pay more attention to a company’s stance on societal issues before buying products.
  • Seven in ten people agree that using the word ‘normal’ on product packaging and advertising has a negative impact. For younger people – those aged 18-35 – this rises to eight in ten.

Sunny Jain, the President of Beauty & Personal Care appointed in June 2019, explained the decision.

“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. 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. It’s just one of a number of actions we are taking as part of our Positive Beauty vision, which aims not only to do less harm, but more good for both people and the planet.”

“With more consumers than ever rewarding brands which take action on the social and environmental issues they care about, we believe that Positive Beauty will make us a stronger, and more successful business.”

Unilever is based in London, and owns multiple personal-care brands, including Vaseline, Q-tips, Simple, Domestos, and Pure Leaf tea. According to CNN, the company has 2.5 billion customers in more than 190 countries.

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