No to Normal
Social Impact & Sustainability | Corporate Reputation
The beauty industry exists to help people feel better, but often makes them feel worse. With a campaign about positive beauty, Unilever earned its place in societal conversation, helping the brand to influence culture and make transformative strides towards a more inclusive future for everyone.
With more and more people paying attention to a company’s stance and action on social issues, beauty brands that catalyze the inclusive and equitable society and culture that people want to see will thrive. It was imperative for Unilever to lead the way for this transformational change. Many products are created for “normal skin” and “normal hair” which suggests there is a “not normal” or “lesser” version. Unilever sought to create a more inclusive future for everyone, where there is no "normal."
Unilever is a company focused on inclusion not exclusion, but its product descriptors needed to catch up with its mission. To reach new and existing customers of all ages and backgrounds, Unilever needed to take bold action.
The company removed every single mention of the word “normal” from product lines, packaging, store shelves, content and communications across the entire business, in all 190 countries that it operates in, to enhance inclusivity and increase positive beauty for existing and potential customers.
The campaign put a stake in the ground to symbolize Unilever’s intent to create a new era of positive beauty that is more inclusive and sustainable.
We conducted research into nine markets to better understand customer perceptions of the beauty industry and their desire for change and found 71% thought the word “normal” on beauty products impacts people negatively.
With the understanding that the full removal would be complete within two years and would apply to internal and external facets of the business, we launched our iconic action and long-term commitments across all continents simultaneously, in partnership with experts, activists and influencers, to create a coordinated global media moment.
The portfolio of global brands, along with their own influencers and ambassadors, helped to fuel the news machine further and to carry the message to consumers via social and digital.
A year on from the announcement, the word normal has now been removed entirely from Unilever brand packaging, content and collateral.
The campaign was covered in over 80 countries – echoing way beyond the markets that actively participated in the launch.