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Unilever to remove word ‘normal’ from packaging and advertising

Unilever's Positive Beauty strategy sets out commitments and actions for the beauty and personal care brands like Dove, Lifebuoy, Axe and Sunsilk.

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

In addition to removing the word ‘normal’, Unilever will not digitally alter a person’s body shape, size, proportion or skin colour in its brand advertising, and will increase the number of advertisements portraying people from diverse groups who are under-represented.

Positive Beauty, sets out several progressive commitments and actions for the company’s beauty and personal care brands, including Dove, Lifebuoy, Axe and Sunsilk.

The decision to remove ‘normal’ is one of many steps that Unilever is taking to challenge beauty ideals, as its works 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 10,000-person study, which was commissioned by Unilever, was conducted across nine countries. It found that:

  • More than half of people (56 per cent) 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 per cent).

  • More than half of people (52 per cent) 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.

The fieldwork for the research was conducted between January–February 2021.

Sunny Jain, President Beauty and Personal Care, Unilever, said, “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."

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