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Unilever’s Latest Ad Campaign Will Avoid the Word ‘Normal’

By: Zach Weisleder

Unilever, a British consumer goods company known for its brands Axe, Dove, and Vaseline, will stop using the word ‘normal’ when referring to its hair and skin products.

Unilever is one of the world’s largest retailers, supplying its product to more than two-billion consumers across 190-plus countries.

The companies’ Tuesday announcement comes in response to various global studies suggesting that more than 50% of consumers in the beauty industry feel excluded when hearing the word ‘normal’ when companies describe skin or hair.

Consumers pay more attention to a companies’ stance on social issues more than ever. This factored into Unilver’s decision to change their global advertising technique. While Unilever says the move won’t “entirely fix the problem”, the company is taking a step that most other mass retailers haven’t.

The company also announced Tuesday that it will no longer digitally ‘alter’ someone’s body shape, skin color, or size in future advertising campaigns. Instead, they pledged to portray people from increasingly underrepresented pockets of society instead.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see more mass retailers around North America and the world follow suit, especially after how many major companies rebranded or retired products in 2020 (Quaker Oats’ Aunt Jemima Brand and Nestlé’s Chicos and Red Skins sweets in Australia to name a few).

The move from Unilever made the news but was not shocking to most who study this industry and its advertising and marketing trends closely. Last year, Unilever’s Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Unilever, stopped using the word ‘Fair’ in its ‘Fair & Lovely’ skincare brand following multiple complaints.

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