Unilever’s Degree deodorant brand is beta-testing a new container that it’s calling the first ever designed for people with upper limb motor disabilities or visual impairment.
Degree Inclusive comes with special features an ordinary deodorant dispenser wouldn’t need to provide. According to the brand, those include:
-- 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
“Breaking stereotypes unleashes creativity and drives growth,” says Aline Santos Farhat, Unilever’s executive vice president of global marketing and chief diversity and inclusion officer “Degree Inclusive challenges what a deodorant product should be. It’s a breakthrough accessible design that genuinely serves the needs of people with visual impairment and upper limb motor disabilities.”“Degree Inclusive marks the beginning of the brand's frontier into accessible design,” according to the company, and the brand "looks forward to making further progress on its long-term commitment to create equitable access to movement for all.”
According to the CDC, about 12 million Americans have some level of vision impairment. But while there are about 2.5 million Americans living with limb loss, relatively few of them are upper limbs or parts of arms. The overall number of amputations rose during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The beta program to test the existing prototype will use input from 200 people with disabilities, in partnership with The Chicago Lighthouse, Open Style Lab, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Though the item is unlikely to be a big seller, consumers seem to appreciate brands that demonstrate outsized concern for others. Pointedly, the Wunderman Thompson ad agency, which is working on the Degree Inclusive marketing, notes that, “One in four Americans has a disability, yet products and experiences are still not designed with this community in mind.”