REXONA March 2006 - Buenos Aires, Argentina

“There is a bad odor in the armpit that it is accepted”

Deodorant as a medium and as an end in itself.


The eight participants. Top (from left to right) : Adrian, Agostina, Ezequiel, Luciano. Bottom (from left to right): Andres, Ricky, Julieta, Powa.

About Rexona

“Rexona is a brand inside Unilever brand portfolio. The world’s best-selling deodorant, Rexona is also sold as Sure, Shield and Degree around the world – but whatever the name, it always carries the iconic ‘tick’ logo.


The main goal was to understand the emotional and rational aspects linked to the use of deodorant in different daily situations such as:

* at the office or workplace

* dating and socializing

across a broad range of adults in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


We requested the client information about past reports and performed an internal desk research to gather the available data. Together with two other anthropologists we performed eight "Day-in-the-life" studies of eight adults with diverse day-to-day routines. I spent one full day with a fashion designer. I accompanied and observed her as she moved through her daily public and private activities. Despite the limited amount of time spent with the participants we gathered insights that were useful to the company. After completion and analysis of the research my partners and I delivered an in-depth ethnographic report and a presentation to the marketing team detailing our findings. We also made recommendations for product ideas.



1. Users might not take a shower everyday but the application of the deodorant is daily, even without a previous shower.

2. We can build two models around time chosen for cleaning themselves: people who bath early in the morning want to start the day clean and fresh and people who bath at the end of the day want to go to bed clean and remove the dirt from the day. Each of these models has an impact on the general routine.

3. Users apply deodorant to prevent odor as well as to cover it. It is perceived as a social obligation versus the perfume that is linked to pleasant smell and seduction.

4. Is the context that judge the odor. In the context of a physical activity like practicing at the gym a bad smell it is accepted but during a regular work meeting that same smell it is criticized.


We divided the product recommendations in three areas: emotional, sensorial and packaging.

1. Emotional

The smell is influenced by emotions : depression, stress, peace, happiness.


1. a) Emotional feedback: Same as with music we want to listen to certain type of music because we already feel certain emotions or because we want to stimulate certain emotions.

Idea: Deodorants can play a role in stimulating certain mood by providing different fragrances.

1. b) . The sweat and smell of working out feels good. Makes you feel energized and rested

Idea: DEOS ‘detox’, Rexona ‘Purification’. Rexona ‘x-pression’

2. Sensorial

2. a) The sweat increases as your activity level increases.

Idea: A deodorant that you can drink as you exercise. This will remove the social awkwardness of using a deodorant every five minutes and it will be just like drinking water.

2. b) The smell of the street or a specific place impregnates in your clothing. It is a smell that comes from the outside world.

Idea: A deodorant that can neutralize those smells and also add-on a nice and pleasant smell to your clothing and body.

2. c) Different seasons prompt the use of different fragrances, packaging and technology.

Idea: Deodorants for specific seasons such as with repellent for the rainy season or with UV protection for the summer.

3. Packaging

3. a) Some people tend lo keep the deodorant in the bedroom because they would dry themselves first and use the deodorant right before getting dressed.

Idea: Deodorants with a packaging that fulfills the role of a deodorant but can also be placed in the bedroom as a decorative ornament.

From left to right: Luciano using the deodorant in the bedroom, Ines ready to use it in the bathroom, collection of deodorants that are used for different situations and in different seasons.



The deodorant being displayed next to the TV in the bedroom where it will be used.