Why Unilever Removed The Word 'Normal' From Their Packaging

Mar 13, 2021
03:00 A.M.
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In a Unilever survey, seven out of 10 people said that the word “normal” on product packaging implies particular bias. The company has announced it will remove the word from its beauty and personal-care brands' packaging and advertising. What does that mean to us?

After the French cosmetic company, L’Oreal decided to remove words like “whitening” and “lightening” from their products, now it’s Unilever’s turn.

In a recent statement, Unilever says they will be removing the word “normal” from all its beauty and personal-care products and advertising to be more inclusive.

In an interview for Allure, Esi Eggleston Bracey, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Beauty & Personal Care at Unilever, the company wants to communicate what a product does — for instance, provides moisture — as opposed to dictating who it's for or insinuating the character of certain hair and skin types.

"At its core, this effort is about reflecting a more inclusive vision of beauty," Bracey says.

After many beauty giants have received backlash over certain words used in their products to refer to a certain beauty standard — aka Eurocentric ideal— companies have finally listened to the requests of protests for racial equality.

What does it say to the beauty industry?

Photo by Billie on Unsplash

Photo by Billie on Unsplash

As the big corporations feel the pressure coming from the customers’ side and from the rising of a myriad small beauty brands competitors, the push for inclusion has been permeating the beauty and skincare market and the advertising industry.

They have no other choice — equality, diversity, and inclusion have been hot topics over recent years. But using ads to talk about diversity, whereas the companies themselves aren’t leading by example, can be used to a certain extend.

Photo by Levi Saunders on Unsplash

Photo by Levi Saunders on Unsplash

In the digital era we live in big corporations are being pushed to practice what they preach and being held accountable truly. Unilever recently commissioned a study with 10,000 people from different nationalities.

Seven in ten believe “normal” on product packaging and advertising has a negative connotation. Simultaneously 69% said they would recommend a beauty brand to others if it offered a wide range of products for different hair and skin types.

It goes beyond Inclusive Marketing.

Photo by Faith Eselé on Unsplash

Photo by Faith Eselé on Unsplash

Eliminating specific terminologies may sound like a simple act. Still, it’s a moment of victory for oppressed groups of people who have been marginalized and discriminated against because their curly and frizzy hair or skin color isn’t considered “normal.”

Fortunately, this is the time in history that things are indeed changing. Companies are being called out to expand shade ranges and become more inclusive. Hopefully, this marks the beginning of a significant new trend in this industry and beyond.

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