‘Inclusive’ Unilever ditches ‘normal’ from beauty products

Unilever will ditch the word “normal” from its beauty products and tone down model photo editing in a bid to burnish its diversity and inclusion credentials. 

The FTSE 100 company said its editing ban would eliminate “all digital alterations to body shape, size, proportion and skin colour” from its advertising, while the word “normal” will be removed from at least 200 products within a year. 

The owner of the Dove personal care brand said the move was part of drive to create a “more inclusive definition of beauty”. 

The shake-up is the latest example of corporate giants dropping longstanding labels and practices in an attempt to appear more ethical to a new generation of consumers. 

Sunny Jain, Unilever’s head of beauty and personal care products, said: “We know that removing ‘normal’ from our products and packaging will not fix the problem alone, but it is an important step forward.”

He added that shoppers were increasingly rewarding brands that took action on environmental and social issues, as the company also vowed to expand its activist marketing. It said it would be “taking a stand on the issues we know consumers care about and communicating that to consumers”. 

The consumer goods giant has faced allegations in the past that some of its products promote negative stereotypes around dark skin tones.

Last year Unilever rebranded a popular skin-lightening cream sold across Asia from “Fair and Lovely” to “Glow and Lovely”. The company was also forced to apologise in 2017 after it ran an online advertising campaign for Dove body lotion that was branded “racist”

Unilever’s new ban on editing will include photos taken of models as well as social media influencers, it said. 

Other companies to abandon established brands include Mars, which dropped the Uncle Ben’s label after a backlash over racial stereotyping, and PepsiCo, which scrapped the brand image of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup last year.

Pancake syrup

PepsiCo scrapped the brand image of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup last year amid allegations it promoted negative racial stereotypes

Credit: AP Photo/Donald King

Unilever said it would also aim to use “more natural, biodegradable and regenerative ingredients across our product portfolio”.

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