Degree draws up big data play for Final Four

Forget the players on the court. Degree will live-tweet data about the movement of attendees of the Final Four in Houston starting this Saturday.

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ: While fans in the stands and at home have their eyes on the players at the Final Four in Houston, deodorant brand Degree will be live-tweeting data about the movement of attendees.

Degree will conduct a study at the national semifinal games on April 2 and the national championship two days later, then share results in real time. It will use Lightwave, a technology that measures emotional engagement with wearable and sensor-based devices, to gauge select fans’ reactions.  

The initiative is an extension of the Degree MotionSense Lab, which the company launched in February to gain insight into how much athletes, performers, and fans move on a daily basis. Because Degree deodorant is activated by movement, the study’s findings will help the brand improve the MotionSense Lab and optimize its products, said Matthew McCarthy, senior director of men’s grooming at parent company Unilever.

"Being experts in movement, both the technology of movement and understanding and measuring it, is a key part of what we do at Degree," he said, adding that measuring fans’ movement during the Final Four made sense because it is "an intensely emotional time full of nail-biting and excitement."

Degree has been a corporate partner of the NCAA for six years. Weber Shandwick, Degree’s AOR for social, digital, and PR, is helping the company with this campaign. Budget information was not disclosed.

"We have an entire team stationed in New York working with Lightwave that will be in the stadium getting real-time read outs and working with our team to push that data out," said Nicole Lowe, EVP at Weber. "Our creative teams will put that into layman’s terms so people understand the statistics they are seeing."

Degree will tweet the findings in real time via its @DegreeMen account during Final Four games, using the hashtag #EveryMoveCounts, and superimpose the data on images and videos. McCarthy noted that its team will likely use Twitter’s Scratch Reel feature, which enables users to rewind or advance GIFs by hovering a mouse or finger over the images.

Degree used Scratch Reel last month while measuring Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry's on-court movement.

"We are experimenting with how we do data visualization depending on what the data is telling us," said McCarthy. "The world is awash in data, so we are thinking of new ways to present it."

Degree and Weber will also improvise as the study is conducted. Because the results are unpredictable – like the games themselves – planning ahead on how to bring the results to life before tipoff is difficult. However, the environment of uncertainty also gives the brand unique opportunities to try new things, he added.

"Sometimes you work on a campaign and everything is pretty clear, but this is a much more organic approach," said McCarthy. "Based on how people react to what we put out there, that could shift us in real-time to try different things and bring the movement to life in different ways."

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