One fifth of the global population lives with a disability, but the world is not designed for disabled people. Even a task which may sound to us as simple as applying some deodorant can be a challenge that needs to be addressed. Which is exactly what drove Wunderman Thompson Argentina to create Degree Inclusive.
As part of a partnership with SOUR STUDIO, an international industrial design studio, the team at Wunderman Thompson started working on a product which has diversity at its core, based on the principle that "inclusive design is better design."
Today we are getting Behind the Idea following a quick chat with Natalia Benincasa, Chief Creative Officer at Wunderman Thompson Argentina, to learn more about this incredible product (and associated campaign) below.
What was the brief?
How to make the world more inclusive?
One fifth of the global population lives with a disability, but the world is not designed for disabled people.
Have you ever thought about the struggle people with disabilities go through when they have to use something as simple as a deodorant? With that in mind, we started brainstorming for a solution two years ago.
How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?
The inspiration came after Christina Mallon, Global Head of Inclusive Design at Wunderman Thompson, visited Buenos Aires.
Although the project started there, the idea was brought to life in December 2020, after integrating panels with disabled people in Argentina and the United States.
With every feedback and insight from these panels, we re-shaped the deodorant design and created more than 200 prototypes. That's why we say it's a co-creation with many people. It is a real inclusive project.
Tell us more about the concept. How did it come to life, and why was it the right choice?
As mentioned before, we have designed and conceived the product in collaboration with disabled people, with all of their primary needs in mind. It is a product designed by disabled people, for disabled people. And although it looks different from other deodorants, it is the most inclusive one, because everyone can use it. This is why we called it Degree Inclusive - inclusivity is what drove us during the entire process.
What was the production process like? What was the biggest challenge?
It was a non-traditional process.
Because it was not about just releasing a new product, it was about challenging the industry to become more inclusive.
First, we worked on a market study to define how many people feel left out when it comes to primary-need products.
Then, we went through a project planning stage with Christina Mallon from Wunderman Thompson NYC and SOUR STUDIO, an international industrial design studio specialized in inclusiveness based in Istanbul, Turkey and Brooklyn, US.
Afterward, the Wunderman Thompson agency in Argentina coordinated the panels with disabled people and developed the different prototypes while getting help from Wunderman Thompson UK and Denmark strategic planning and account leadership.
Once we had a few prototypes, we introduced the project to Kathryn Swallow, Rexona's Global Brand Manager. She has a lot of respect for creativity, and her team was key to making the launch happen.
The testing stage began, and we could start the production, which was a beautiful madness! With the pandemic, we had to face many obstacles. Together with La Doble, an Argentinian production house and Martín Donozo, the director, we made two films featuring people with functional diversity, and the casting took a long time. Once we had chosen the main profiles we wrote the scripts.
Every single thing was a challenge but thanks to openness, collaboration, and the strength of many countries globally, we made it happen.
What is one funny or notable thing that happened during the production of the campaign?
The most notable thing during this campaign execution was our beautiful collaboration with our client. They trusted us every step of the way, despite the numerous challenges and changes. We were touched and moved in many ways, and I can proudly say that this project came to life with a dream team.
Also, as this is a global campaign, we have been working 24/7. When Wunderman Thompson UK and Denmark were working, we were asleep in Argentina. But the minute we woke up, we would start working and align on the new steps and progress. It was exhausting but exciting at the same time.
What’s the main message of the campaign and why does it matter?
As Christina Mallon says: “inclusive design is better design".
No one should feel left behind when it comes to using as simple things as a deodorant.
We are in 2021, we launch rockets to Mars. So there should not be any limits when it comes to creating an inclusive product.
It is unimaginable to think that today, people are still sweating because of bad packaging.
This campaign is a life changer, and we couldn't ignore it.
What is one unique aspect of the campaign?
Keeping inclusivity in mind during the entire process. We worked in partnership with a global team, including occupational therapists, engineers, and disabled people, to provide ideas, input, and test concepts.
We also consider inclusivity in every aspect of the campaign production: voice-overs descriptions, colors, typography.
I think advertising needs to open the door to the inclusion of minorities in general.
How long did it take from inception to delivery?
The first thought came about two years ago, but it has changed a lot ever since. The campaign started coming to life in November 2020, and we launched in April 2021.
This campaign is a good example of perseverance: if you truly want to do something, you will find a way. There are no limits when something as big moves us.
What do you hope it achieves for the brand?
I don´t know if we can expect more. Everything that is happening now is so amazing! Lots of people with disabilities contacted us, asking for the product. They thanked us for making such an inclusive product. What could be better than that?
We had 2 billion media reach with many organic impressions, and Unilever confirmed that we will soon be launching the product globally.
If in the process, we achieve more results and awards, that would be even better. But the most important thing here is that we are changing lives.
Credit list for the campaign?
Product: Degree Inclusive
Global Brand Vice President, Rexona: Kathryn Swallow
Global Senior Brand Manager, Rexona: Emily Heath
U.S. Senior Marketing Manager, Degree: Chiara Grillo
Global Senior Brand Manager, Rexona: Denise Savoia
Global Assistant Brand Manager, Rexona: Stephanie Bau
U.S. Ass. Brand Manager, Degree: Teri Minogue
Global Ass. Brand Manager, Degree: Edward Jones
Global Brand Director, Rexona: Lucy Howdle
Global R&D Director, Rexona: Andy Butterworth
Global Senior Technical Manager, Rexona: Laura Hutcheon
Global Senior Consumer Market Insights Manager, Rexona: Alex Harrison
Wunderman Thompson Argentina credits
Concept: Wunderman Thompson Argentina
CCO Argentina: Natalia Benincasa
CEO: Victoria Cole
Creative Directors: Andrea Ventura / Gastón Cánaves / Agustín Alba / Pablo Maldonado
Head of Art: Fernando Rossini
Integrated Production Leader: Josefina Espil
Production Manager: Mariana Jauregui
Editor/Animator: Leandro Ramírez
Graphic Production Manager: Daniel Gatto
General Account Director: Eliana Kaplan
Account Director: Dana di Lello
Sr. Account Executive: Ramiro Pannunzio
Strategy Lead: Ronny Weter / Aurelia Sisinni
Project Manager: Ana Laura Rodríguez
Head of Social Media: Silvina Coto
Content Strategist: Daniel Alani
Community Manager: Vincenzo Mazzei
Creative Operations Leader: Paula Akel
Wunderman Thompson Global credits
Global CCOS: Bas Korsten / Daniel Bonner
Global Lead inclusive Design: Christina Mallon
CCOs LATAM: Sebastián Tarazaga /Dany Minaker
Global Client Lead Unilever: Inge Selawry
Global Planning Lead: Nicky Buss
Global Project Management: Bart Etcheverry
Director of Global Creative Operations: Nora Farley
PR Director: Jessica Hartley
Product Design: SOUR Studio
Occupational Therapist: Michael Tranquilli
Disabled co-collaborators US: Keah Brown /Keisha Greaves /Natalie Trevonne/Lissa Loe
Disabled co-collaborators Argentina: Lidia Beatriz Peyronnet/Andrea López de Mora / Mercedes Monjaime/Cecilia Rizzo
Creative Collaborators: Santiago Estevez/Nicolás Trapanese
PR Agency credits
Unilever PR Agency: Edelman
Vice President David Brigandi
Senior Vice President Sharelyn Devonish
Senior Account Supervisor, brand: Jill Condulis
Account Executive: Caitlin Gronski
Film production credits
Production Company: LaDoble
Director: Martin Donozo
CEO: José Arnal
Executive Producer: Agustín Gutierrez
Producer: Marco Pilosio
Director of Photography: Sebastian Cantillo
Post Production: Luis Staffolani
Sound post production: Porta Studio
Music: Perra Santa