Consumer goods company Unilever on Tuesday announced that it will no longer include the word “normal” in its packaging and advertising for its beauty and personal care products in a push to be more “equitable and inclusive.”
The London-based company, which owns brands such as Dove, Vaseline and Axe, said in a press release that the decision to drop the word is one of several steps it is taking “to challenge narrow beauty ideals, as we work towards helping to end discrimination and advocating for a more inclusive vision of beauty.”
Unilever cited a 10,000-person study it commissioned that found that 7 in 10 people agreed that using “normal” to describe hair and skin makes many consumers feel excluded.
Among people aged 18-35, about 8 in 10 said the word had a negative impact, Unilever reported.
The research, which was conducted across nine countries, also found that 56 percent of people believe that the beauty and personal care industry can make people feel excluded, with 74 percent saying they want to see these industries do more to make people “feel better,” rather than just “look better.”
Unilever also noted that 52 percent of respondents say they now pay more attention to a company’s stance on societal issues when making decisions on what products to buy.
Sunny Jain, Unilever’s beauty and personal care president, said in the 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.”
“As part of this, we are committed to tackling harmful norms and stereotypes and shaping a broader, far more inclusive definition of beauty,” Jain added.
Beyond dropping the word “normal,” Unilever also announced Tuesday that it will no longer alter a person’s body shape, proportion or skin color in advertising and also said it is committed to increasing diversity among the individuals it includes in advertisements.
“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,” Jain said.
The changes come as Unilever has faced backlash in recent years for some of its advertising campaigns that many consumers deemed offensive.
Last year, the company renamed its top-selling skin-lightening brand in India to “Glow & Lovely” from “Fair & Lovely,” after many claimed it negatively portrayed darker skin tones, Reuters reported.
The company in 2017 also faced criticism over an advertisement for a Dove body wash that showed a Black woman transforming into a white woman after removing her top.