Unilever lays the groundwork for a purpose-led approach to working with college athletes with the first campaign from Degree Deodorant

As a company committed to building a more equitable and inclusive society, Unilever wants to set a thoughtful and positive precedent for working with college athletes as the ability to monetise college athletes’ name, image and likeness (NIL) goes into effect on 1 July 2021.

One of the key pillars of Unilever’s sustainable business strategy is to contribute to a fairer, more socially inclusive world. Unilever’s approach to working with college athletes will underscore this strategy to highlight purpose-led initiatives, amplify athlete stories and experiences, and provide equal compensation to both men’s and women’s athletes in aggregate.

“This moment represents a tremendous opportunity to set the precedent for working with college athletes in a meaningful and thoughtful way,” said Rob Master, VP of Media and Digital Engagement at Unilever NA. “It’s not just about the star players or top draft picks – we want to amplify the voices and stories of athletes across the spectrum of college sports who have dedicated their lives to their sport and inspired others through their stories.”

As part of Degree’s long-term commitment to help millions of young people transform their lives through the power of movement, the brand has committed more than US$5M/£3.6M over the next five years to inspire more people to move beyond their limits – the Breaking Limits programme.

The initiative supports those who face the biggest barriers to being active and provides them access to coaches and mentors, along with safe spaces to move. The Breaking Limits team featuring college athletes announced today represents one element of this commitment.

The Degree “Breaking Limits” team will spotlight a diverse group of college athletes from a range of sports, who are inspiring people to break limits every day. The brand will unveil the Breaking Limits team of college athletes on its Instagram page will be adding more athletes to the Breaking Limits roster throughout the year.

“Our Degree team strongly believes that movement has the power to unlock physical, mental and social benefits that can transform lives, and being able to work with extraordinary college athletes who embody this every day is something Degree and Unilever are thrilled to celebrate,” said Chiara Grillo, Senior Marketing Manager, Degree.

“We now have an opportunity to further champion the stories of how college athletes have overcome personal and societal challenges and how they encourage others to keep moving to break their own limits.”

The brand will celebrate college athletes through a number of programs including funding local community projects (i.e. recreation centres, youth organisations) and content partnerships.

To contract with college athletes in a compliant manner that adheres to NIL rules and regulations governed by state law and NCAA guidelines, Unilever is working with Opendorse, the industry-leading athlete marketing platform.

Opendorse, which has empowered thousands of professional athletes to receive and activate endorsement deals for over eight years, provides a compliant marketplace for brands and fans to browse thousands of athletes to book and manage NIL activities from pitch to payment in minutes, not months.

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