Unilever’s Degree Deodorant – also called Sure, Shield and Rexona – are the makers of the world’s #1 antiperspirant. The brand has now announced the launch of the world’s first inclusive deodorant for people with visual impairment and upper limb motor disabilities: Degree Inclusive.
One in four Americans and one in five Brits have a disability, but despite being the largest minority community across the globe, products and experiences are still not designed with this community in mind.
Across the beauty and personal care industry, there is currently no deodorant product suitable for people with upper limb disabilities to use; twisting a deodorant cap, turning a stick, or pushing down on an aerosol can with limited arm mobility is a real challenge – and sometimes the fear of sweating keeps people with disabilities from moving as much as they would like to.
Degree believes in the power of movement to transform lives, and that everyone should be able to experience the incredible physical, mental and social benefits movement provides.
Deodorant helps give people the confidence to move. Therefore, in an effort to provide equitable access to the products and experiences needed to move, Degree partnered with Wunderman Thompson and their Inclusive Experience Practice, alongside occupational therapists, engineers, and consultants with disabilities. D
riven by a mission to make the deodorant application process accessible to everyone, Degree Inclusive has been designed with the following revolutionary features as noted in the brand’s product development video:
● A hooked design for one-handed usage
● Magnetic closures that make it easier to take the cap off and put it back on for users with limited grip and/or vision impairment
● Enhanced grip placement for easier application for users with limited grip or no arms
● A braille label with instructions for users with vision impairment
● A larger roll-on applicator to reach more surface area per swipe
“As a brand that’s committed to inspiring confidence in everyone to move more, Degree believes no one should be held back from breaking a sweat and enjoying the transformative benefits of movement,” said Kathryn Swallow, Global Degree Brand Vice President.
“More than 60 million people in the US live with a disability, yet products and experiences are still not designed with this community in mind. With Degree Inclusive we hope to inspire bold action across the industry to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal playing field.”
Working in collaboration with award-winning international design studio, SOUR, the Degree Inclusive prototype was co-developed with a cross discipline team at Wunderman Thompson, led by Christina Mallon, Wunderman Thompson’s Global Head of Inclusive Design.
“As a disabled person, I’ve experienced first-hand the challenges of living in a world of conventional design, where most products and services are not designed with the disabled community in mind,” said Christina Mallon.
“Being unable to access a basic utility like deodorant – something most people take for granted – has a huge impact on your ability to move, and therefore your quality of life in general. That’s why we’re incredibly proud to have partnered with Unilever to create this innovative and life-changing product: the very first deodorant designed by people with disabilities – for people with disabilities. We hope this will inspire more brands to take an inclusive and accessible approach to design.”
As the first agency to build an Inclusive Experience Practice (IXP), Wunderman Thompson partners with some of the world’s largest brands. The IXP team helps businesses create accessible products, services and communications using inclusive design methodology.
More than just the right thing to do, inclusive design has been shown to be the best way to drive innovation, with companies 1.7 times more likely to be innovative if they are inclusive. Not only is the disabled community’s disposable income estimated at $8 trillion USD in the US alone, but 70 per cent of all consumers prefer to buy inclusive brands – meaning it offers both a competitive advantage and increased growth potential for brands.
The team at Wunderman Thompson Buenos Aires – who came up with the original idea of making an inclusive deodorant – also created a powerfully inspiring campaign which demonstrates how an everyday utility product like deodorant can revolutionise movement for two disabled people.
“We are in this industry because we want to make a difference,” said Bas Korsten, Global Chief Creative Officer, Wunderman Thompson.
“For our clients, for the people they serve. And I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a project that will make more of a difference to more people than this one. It has been such an unforgettable journey with the amazing Degree team, our talented Buenos Aires office and my incredible colleague Christina Mallon. I hope this is the start of inclusive design thinking at scale. Because inclusive design leads to better design for everyone.”
To ensure the original prototype is effective and accessible to more than just our initial team of co-creators with disabilities, Degree launched a beta program to engage and get input from additional people living with disabilities. In partnership with The Lighthouse Chicago, Open Style Lab, and Muscular Dystrophy Association [TBC], Degree invited 200 people with disabilities in the U.S. to trial the prototype design and give their feedback on its concept, product features, and messaging, to help improve the innovation for its future commercial launch.
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