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Unilever Bans the Word ‘Normal’ From Its Marketing as Part of a Wider Inclusivity Push

Unilever's products will no longer feature the word "normal," nor will their accompanying ad campaigns. Courtesy.
Unilever's products will no longer feature the word "normal," nor will their accompanying ad campaigns. Courtesy.

The beauty and personal care conglomerate announced it would eliminate the descriptor — which can read as exclusionary — from all of its beauty and personal care brands’ packaging and advertising. The company also said it will no longer “digitally alter a person’s body shape, size, proportion or skin colour in brand advertising, and will increase the number of advertisements portraying people from diverse groups who are under-represented.” 

The announcement follows a 10,000-person study Unilever commissioned across nine countries, asking consumers their feelings about inclusivity in the global beauty market. More than half of respondents said the beauty and personal care industry makes them feel excluded.

Unilever’s announcement is yet another marker of change in corporate beauty. Over the last few years, emergent direct-to-consumer beauty brands have taken a more inclusive approach to marketing and advertising. Along the way, larger beauty behemoths took notice and began to shift away from certain language. Anti-ageing became “pro-ageing,” for example. Riding the same wave towards more inclusive beauty marketing, Ulta Beauty pledged $20 million in February towards media investments that target Black and LatinX consumers, part of the retailer’s larger diversity initiative.

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