Consumer goods giant Unilever on Tuesday said it is set to remove the word "normal" from the packaging and advertising of all its beauty and personal care brands, to make its campaigns more inclusive. The company also plans to stop digitally altering a person’s body shape and skin colour in its commercials as it moves to a more equitable idea of promoting beauty products.
The move comes as consumers the world over seek greater inclusivity from the brands they purchase.
The Positive Beauty vision and strategy will extend to Unilever's beauty and personal care brands, including Dove, Lifebuoy, Axe and Sunsilk, in markets such as India, Unilever said. Apart from promoting an equitable idea of beauty, it will expand sustainable goals set by the company.
Unilever added that it will also increase the number of advertisements portraying people from diverse and under-represented groups. It will work towards ending discrimination in beauty and champion inclusion, drive gender equality and expand the sustainability agenda of its beauty and personal care products, it said.
“The decision to remove "normal" is one of the many steps that we are taking to challenge narrow beauty ideals, as we work towards helping end discrimination and advocating for a more inclusive vision of beauty. 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 said in a statement.
In India, Hindustan Unilever Ltd has announced a series of changes to its key brands and tweaked marketing campaigns that promote socially accepted beauty ideals—it changed the name of its flagship Fair & Lovely beauty brand to Glow & Lovely.
More recently, its brand, Dove, partnered with matrimonial platforms to drop the usage of words such as fair and tall from match-making advertisements.
Unilever said the project will also drive a transformation in how its products are designed and formulated so that they do better for both people and the planet.
In India, Hindustan Unilever Ltd., also undertook research to understand consumer perception and expectations from beauty brands.
Almost two in three people in India agree that the beauty and personal care industry makes certain people feel excluded. Six in ten of those surveyed here said the beauty industry makes certain people feel bad about the way they look. Indian consumers also said that the beauty industry perpetuates narrow beauty ideals; two in three think that the industry pressures consumers into thinking they need to look a certain way.
Indian companies have for years sold fairness or skin lightening creams often with promises of improving one's job and marriage prospects through their advertisements.
When it comes to representation, most Indian consumers agree that the beauty and personal care industry lags when it comes to representing various body types, people from different age groups, different ethnicities and those from the LGBTQIA community.
Consumers in India are also paying more attention to a company’s overall stance on societal issues before they buy products. Six in ten people here said they will not buy a product if they do not agree with the company’s vision of diversity and inclusion, even if the company offers the best price.