Degree and Kevin Durant embrace the power of sweat

Kevin Durant in Degree's 'Tears of Joy'
Kevin Durant in Degree's 'Tears of Joy'

Unilever’s Degree tapped the NBA star for BBDO’s inspirational spot, ‘Tears of Joy.’

Sweat shouldn’t hold anyone back from reaching their body’s full potential.

Take Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, who is no stranger to pushing his physical limits both on and off the court.

That’s why Unilever’s Degree antiperspirant tapped Durant as the face of its new campaign by BBDO, “Tears of Joy.” The 60-second spot encourages people to redefine sweat as a sign to keep going.

"It might look like your body's crying," Durant says in a voice-over, as athletes push through their exercise routines. "That's because it is. You might even think that's a sign, that your body is telling you to stop. These are tears of joy. If you listen closely, you'll hear every muscle, every joint crying out to you: Yes, don't stop, keep going!"

Durant is also featured in the spot making a triumphant return to the court after suffering an Achilles tendon injury in 2019. "Well, who am I to tell my body no?" he concludes.

Degree teamed up with Durant on the campaign because of his personal comeback story.

“We look at partners who can help us with our overall brand purpose,” Degree’s U.S. marketing director Lucy Attley told Campaign US. “Kevin's got a great shared purpose with us, which is all about inspiring people to move. When Kevin can overcome those obstacles, we can use that as a way to inspire and encourage people to do the same.”

Exercise has been harder for people during the pandemic, as gyms have shut down across the country. Colder temperatures have also paused people’s outdoor workout regimes during the winter. People’s interest in exercise decreased 30% amid the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization.

Degree wanted to motivate people to continue exercising despite these challenges.

“We want to make sure that people aren't held back from things that could stop them from moving,” Attley said. “More than half of people need that motivation to move. About one in four people find that sweating is a key barrier to movement. We wanted to inspire people to move with confidence, knowing that Degree won't let them down.“

Degree and Durant previously partnered in June on a pledge to donate $1 million to sports programs and rec centers in an effort to promote social justice.

Degree hopes “Tears of Joy” will boost brand salience and differentiation. But those aren’t the brand’s only goals.

“We really want to get people out there, get people moving and give people confidence to move,” Attley said.

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