One major brand has taken the huge leap to remove the word “normal” as a description on its beauty products after they discovered people felt excluded by the term.
Unilever, which includes brands like Dove, Vaseline and Sunsilk, said a recent study found that 56 percent of participants thought that the beauty industry could make people feel excluded, and that as many as seven in 10 people agreed that the word “normal” on products and in advertising had negative effects.
Seventy-four percent of participants said they wanted the beauty industry to make them feel better, not just look better.
“The new normal is to have no normal!”
The word “normal” is often used in beauty products to describe what type of skin, normal to oily skin for example, is recommended for any product or brand.
“The decision to remove ‘normal’ is one of many steps that we are taking to challenge narrow beauty ideals, as we work towards helping to end discrimination and advocating for a more inclusive vision of beauty,” the consumer goods giant said in a statement.
“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 company added that in addition to removing the word “normal” as part of its Positive Beauty strategy, 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.
Sunny Jain, the head of Unilever’s beauty business, said the aim was to get rid of stereotypes and to have a “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,” Jain added
The public reaction has been nothing but positive with people applauding the company for their decision.
One comment read, “Brilliant stance from @Unilever – no to ‘normal’ and no to airbrushing. As marketers we know how to influence thoughts, feelings and behaviours, doing that in a positive way is better for everyone.”
Another wrote, “Excellent statement by Unilever. Celebrating everyone in all their shapes and forms.
No more airbrushing of images or encouraging consumers to aspire be the advertised perception of ‘normal’. This one is for my marketing communications students. What and wonderful leap forward.”
“The new normal is to have no normal! Love the move. Are we heading towards a market dominated by emotionally driven customers? I’d say yes!”
What’s “Normal” Anyway?
According to the dictionary “normal” is an ADJECTIVE word meaning conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
What you consider normal may however be very foreign and strange to the person sitting right beside you.
Remember that next time you put tomato sauce on your dinner, or add pineapple to your pizza.