Deodorant advertising is many things, but rarely poetic. So, Degree’s new 60-second “Tears of Joy” spot from BBDO, featuring Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, celebrating sweat marks a decided change in direction.
“We wanted to defy some of those conventions and disrupt the category,” says Degree’s U.S. Marketing Director Lucy Attley.
The spot follows Durant’s journey of more than a year rehabbing after an Achilles tendon tear in June 2019 while he was with the Golden State Warriors during the NBA Finals against Toronto. “It might look like your body is crying. That’s because it is,” Durant says in the spot. “These are tears of joy. Listen closely. You’ll hear it.”
“Degree is a brand that’s all about movement and really inspiring people to have the confidence to move,” says Attley. “One thing we’ve found is that almost a quarter of people are held back from moving because of sweating. We wanted to flip the conversation on its head and use sweat as that celebration of movement.”
Unilever CEO Alan Jope has called on all Unilever brands to find their purpose beyond the strictly functional, and Durant already has been part of that for Degree. The brand over the past year has worked with the star to raise $1 million for recreation centers and sports programs nationwide.
It’s part of a broader #KeepMoving initiative that links to the functional attributes of Degree, known for its motion-activated technology. In a sense, a deodorant encouraging sweat isn’t unlike prior Unilever “Dirt Is Good” positioning for its laundry detergent brands globally.
The pandemic if anything has made it more important to encourage sweat, Attley says, given that people aren’t getting out as much but report in surveys that they wish there were–even if it means sweating.