The new Normal - MARKETING Magazine Asia


The new Normal

Some “major” research has convinced Unilever that “normal” is a bad thing. Not inclusive enough or something…

Unilever has announced that an international study involving 10,000 people found 70% of participants felt that the word “normal” on beauty packaging has a negative personal impact. 

That statistic increases to 80% among those aged 18 to 35. As the owner of major brands like Dove and Axe, Unilever felt it could play a role in dispelling the idea of any singular notion of beauty, or normalcy. 

Really? Deep stuff! And more than just skin deep. 

So the word Normal is now banned from all its advertising and packaging, this will affect more than 200 Unilever-owned products and be completed by March 2022, according to The New York Times

Looks like research companies and consultants have been super busy during these quiet economic times wolfing down large returns on newly created apprehensions. 

So Unilever is ditching ‘normal’ from packaging and ads to challenge ‘narrow beauty ideals’. 

I am as confused as the beautiful people out there. 

Adweek explains the move: descriptors like “dry,” “oily,” or “thick” don’t necessarily spark bouts of insecurity. However, when you stack them against an innocuous word like “normal,” it can take on an entirely different context, one that may make some consumers feel like outsiders in their own skin. 

Does this mean that in the past Unilever was advocating the reverse? 

Ok, ok, let me unpack this: so if my body wash says for ‘normal oily skin’ I will feel upset and storm out of the shower (not a pretty picture) claiming the word outraged my modesty. But if it says for “oily skin”, I should feel thankful my gorgeousness has not been insulted.

Or if I read the label and it says “Normal usage three times a week” that should transform me into a wrecking ball at the shopping aisles.

According to Unilever, their “Positive Beauty” vision will set out to “champion a new era of beauty which is equitable and inclusive, as well as sustainable for the planet”. Isn’t that what is already expected of a globally responsible brand?

Seems like creating something out of nothing to me. Maybe this is the new USP…

I pray I don’t accidentally use a shampoo that is good for normal hair (not that I have much of it) lest I be banished from the planet. 


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