Deodorant brand Degree has partnered with metaverse platform Decentraland to host what it claims will be the world’s first marathon in the virtual space.
Together with Decentraland, Grammy-nominated recording artist Fat Joe (Joseph Antonio Cartagena), and Paralympic Athlete Blake Leeper, the brand will host the Degree Metathon, which will take place today (26 April) and will continue the brand’s ongoing fight for increased representation in movement.
Campaign work for the Metathon was carried out by AMV BBDO.
As part of the brand’s mission to shape a more inclusive world where everyone has the confidence to move more, Degree partnered with disability experts to better understand and identify the needs of underrepresented movers in the Metaverse.
To advocate for these necessary changes, Degree polled the Decentraland community and found that 98% of landowners support making movement in Decentraland more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities.
Following the Metathon, the brand will expand on this initial work and partner with additional experts on disability, race, and gender inclusion.
Together, they will aim to advocate for solutions and to action inclusive changes that allow everyone to see themselves represented as movers in the Metaverse, such as: adding audio description for people with visual impairments, implementing a non-binary experience when creating an avatar, constructing a variety of body shapes and sizes, and more.
Degree’s first step in the Metaverse is its introduction of a more inclusive avatar library, created in partnership with Decentraland.
Available for the first time at the Metathon, these newly developed wearables—such as prostheses, running blades, and a wheelchair—offer greater representation for people with disabilities and enable participants to create avatars representative of their unique identities.
The Degree Metathon course will cover 26.2 virtual miles of some of the most iconic scenes of the Vegas City Sports Quarter, Decentraland’s largest district.
The course will incorporate accessible architecture to reflect a more inclusive landscape, with structures such as ramps for wheelchair users.
“As a person with disabilities and a professional runner, I am so excited to take part in the Degree Metathon,” said Eight-Time Paralympic Medalist Blake Leeper.
“Showing people in the virtual world who are running with blades and other prostheses is something that I think will inspire confidence in people with disabilities to get involved and feel welcome to join in on this experience, and will ultimately contribute to increased representation.”
Degree also chose to work with iconic hip-hop artist and musician Fat Joe because of his advocacy for representation – both inside and outside the music and entertainment industry – as well as his reputation as a bridge-builder for various communities across the country.
“Throughout my career, I have always tried to be an advocate for inclusion”, said Fat Joe.
“Whether it’s different body shapes, sizes, ethnicities, or physical abilities, representation is key in making people feel welcome and a part of something”.
“That’s why I teamed up with Degree to take part in the Degree Metathon. I feel it’s so important for people to see themselves represented in places like the Metaverse to show them it’s a place for everyone to participate.”
Beyond the Metathon, Degree exemplifies its purpose through the Breaking Limits Program—a five-year, $5 million commitment to transform lives through the power of movement.
The Program supports youth sports organisations, whose members face the biggest barriers to being active – including barriers due to race, sexual orientation, disabilities, financial limitations, gender, age, socioeconomic status, and more.
It provides them with access to coaches and mentors, along with safe spaces to move.
The Program brings to life the brand’s aim to empower millions of young people to transform their lives through the power of movement by 2030.
“Over the last several years, Degree has made great strides in progressing our mission of championing everyone to have the confidence to move more, and now we’re taking that same mission into the virtual world,” said Kathryn Swallow, Global Brand Vice President of Degree.
“We hope the Degree Metathon will spark conversation on why representation matters—in both the Metaverse and the physical world—and its power in challenging societal norms.
“We’re excited about our partnership with Decentraland and about the potential to influence the virtual world as it’s being built and more widely adopted by consumers.”
Those interested in taking part in the world’s-first Metathon can visit the Events Page on Decentraland.org to register for the event taking place Tuesday, 26 April, 2022 at 6pm EDT.