Kevin Durant Works Up a Sweat in BBDO's Inspirational Ad for Degree
When you sweat, that's your body crying tears of joy.
Just ask Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, who spent a year working his way back from a 2019 Achilles tendon injury. The former NBA MVP appears in the cinematic spot below, created by BBDO for Unilever's Degree, that's equal parts inspiration and perspiration.
"It might look like your body's crying," Durant's narration begins, as we watch him and other diverse athletes go through their practice and rehab regimens. "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!"
He concludes: "Well, who am I to tell my body no?"
It's a slick approach, literally and figuratively, making a powerful point in relatable terms. Yes, technically degree is an anti-perspirant, so there's a nit-picky disconnect if you think too hard. But why sweat the small stuff?
"We wanted to showcase the journey Kevin and so many other everyday people also experience as they push through personal and societal barriers to keep moving and achieve their goals—because we believe that nothing worth achieving is gained by standing still," Lucy Attley, the brand's U.S. marketing manager, tells Muse. "Ultimately, we hope that the spot helps provide much-needed inspiration to help people keep moving and not let sweat, or any other barrier, hold them back."
That's especially important during the pandemic, Attley says, with research showing a 30 percent decrease in exercise and vigorous movement, according to the World Health Organization.
"During this time, we also found out that almost a quarter of people say sweating is a key barrier that stops them from moving," she says, citing internal data. "With this in mind, we chose to celebrate sweat—or as we like to say, your body crying 'tears of joy.'"
"It's a natural space for Degree to play in," Attley says. "The campaign also highlights Degree MotionSense—the only antiperspirant that reacts directly to movement, releasing extra bursts of fragrance as you move, so you stay fresher, longer. So, the connection with sweat all comes full circle."
At any rate, it's less icky than TBWA\Chiat\Day's moist musical outing for Mt Dew.
Smuggler directing duo Jason Filmore Sondock and Simon Davis, aka Rubberband, filmed Durant's scenes at a high school gym in Los Angeles.
"We loved the giant wall of windows and purposely timed the shoot with him to be able to capture the sky in the afternoon as the sun was setting," Attley says. "It was really beautiful to see Kevin in his zone, alone the court. You could see that he was so in his element out there. It was an experience where you could really feel how powerful movement is."
Creative Agency – BBDO
Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Worldwide and Chairman of BBDO North America – David Lubars
SVP, Senior Creative Director – Peter Alsante
Associate Creative Director – Joe Russomano
Associate Creative Director – Temnete Sebhatu
SVP, Executive Producer – Anthony Curti
Associate Producer – Reid Pierce
Senior Business Affairs Manager – Heather Weissman
Senior Music Producer – Julia Millison
Executive Music Producer – Melissa Chester
Head of Art Production – Erin Breen
EVP, Senior Director – Joshua Steinman
Account Manager – Christian Martinez
EVP, Group Planning Director – Yin Chung
Production Company – SMUGGLER
Directors – rubberband
Executive Producers – Patrick Milling-Smith & Brian Carmody
Executive Producer – Sue Yeon Ahn
COO – Andrew Colón
Head of Production – Alex Hughes
Producer – Matt Day
Director of Photography – Patrick Golan
Production Designer – Miranda Lorenz
Stylist – Michelle Martini
Editing House – Rock Paper Scissors
Editor – Mikkel Nielsen
Assistant Editor – Alex Liu
Producer – Lisa Barnable
Managing Director – Eve Kornblum
Flame artist – Eddie Reina
Flame Producer – Barbara Kontarovich
Music House – Heard City
Audio Mixers – Keith Reynaud + Elizabeth McClanahan
EP – Sasha Awn, Jackie James
Producer – Andi Lewis
Managing Director – Gloria Pitagorsky
Color – Company 3
Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld
Producer: Blake Rice
Degree Marketing Team
Lucy Attley, Marketing Director
Chiara Grillo, Senior Brand Manager
Makeda Kefale, Brand Manager
Devon Hoffman, Associate Brand Manager