Unilever to remove word “normal” from packaging and ads

Unilever is to eliminate the word “normal” from all beauty and personal-care brands’ packaging and advertising as part of its new social and environmental program Positive Beauty.

The company says that the decision to remove the word “normal” is part of its strategy to challenge narrow beauty ideals. Some 56% of people think that the beauty and personal-care industry can make people feel excluded, according to a Unilever-commissioned study of 10,000 consumers in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the UK and the US fielded between January and February 2021.

Another 74% said they want the beauty and personal-care industry to focus more on making people feel better as opposed to just making people look better. Additionally, 52% say they now pay more attention to a company’s stance on social issues before buying products.

Seven in 10 people responded that using the word “normal” on product packaging and advertising has a negative impact. For younger participants, aged 18 to 35, the figure rises to eight in 10.

Unilever’s brands that are perceived as more purposeful by consumers grew more than twice as fast as the rest of its portfolio in 2020. Additionally, 69% of study respondents said they would recommend a beauty brand if it caters to a wide range of skin and hair types, while half of respondents would pay more for those kind of products.

Unilever also said it will not digitally alter a person’s body shape, size, proportion or skin color in brand advertising. The company will also increase the number of ads portraying people from diverse groups who are under-represented, it claims.

The packaging and ad decision is part of Positive Beauty’s three commitments to social and environmental change.

First, the company aims to reach 1 billion people per year by 2030 by building a more inclusive portfolio of beauty and personal-care brands, launching equality initiatives, un-stereotyping advertising and increasing educational efforts in handwashing and oral hygiene, plus expanding focus into new areas, like physical health and mental wellbeing.

Positive Beauty’s second commitment aims to protect 1.5 million hectares of land, forests and oceans by 2030, which is more land than is required to grow the renewable ingredients in Unilever’s beauty and personal care products.

Lastly, Unilever will support a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics by 2023, working with lawmakers, animal protection organizations and other companies.

Unilever says it also aims to accelerate its science and technology programs and innovation partnerships towards sustainable products, such as advancing the use of more natural, biodegradable, and regenerative ingredients, in addition to packaging innovations that use less, better or no plastic.