Gillette: "The Best a Man Can Get"

Escrito el 29 julio 2008 por Alumni en Functional Area

«The biggest launch in Western Europe….»


On June 12th 2008, the IE Marketing Club welcomed Procter&Gamble to discuss «the biggest launch in Western Europe» – the launch of Gillette Fusion, a new and innovative razor which did not only have blades on one side, as the Mach3 but also a short trimming blade on the other side of the razor, allowing for a whole new shaving experience.

Demian Pintos and Javier Martinez, the two P&G brand managers, explained, that at the time, P&G held 91% of the blades and razor category, 62% of the disposable razor category and was able to maintain 80% of consumer loyalty.  Despite the fact, that the older population as part of the life cycle was leaving the category, men’s care showed continuing growth with 5-10% increase every year.  P&G found that 67% of males buy razors themselves and that there was a 100% conversion rate from disposable razors to blade systems.  In addition, their star product Mach3 had reached maturity.  With grooming marking the cornerstone of men’s care category, P&G developed a superior razor that moisturized as it shaved and contained an additional blade to shave «hard-to-reach» places.  «When you are already the market leader, it is hard not to rest on your laurels. In order to stay at the top you have to constantly innovate and aim at improving your product», Demian Pintos explained. P&G realized that launching a new product would cause cannibalization amongst their other blade systems, however, sales margins were expected to be promising.

The Gillette management team had thought of something different for the launch of the new fusion product. They were striving for a logistically challenging, big bang launch which took place February 28 2008.  «We call this approach a Harry Potter launch, where in one day, Gillette Fusion was made available everywhere with elaborate displays following extravagant trade support», the P&G managers explained.  In addition, a teaser campaign was developed, were the company tried to create hype through kindling the consumer’s curiousness for the new product. During a two-month period, 60 Fusion ambassadors «generated excitement, awareness, and education» as they traveled throughout Spain in two buses to four cities.  The last week before the launch, a nationwide teaser campaign was developed to keep consumers wondering and curious what Fusion was all about.  The company advertised the same Fusion TV spot during primetime on every channel in Spanish television. Other means of promotions included direct mail and internet optimization tactics like e-mailing and Fusion banners. 

As mentioned before, on the designated day X the company had to make sure that all supermarkets and outlets had the product in stock that they had received sufficient delivery and that none of them was going to shelf the products before they were supposed to. «This can be quite challenging, and as P&G we are lucky that we can rely on our good client relationships to make such events possible».

In terms of campaign content, the brand managers focused on the consumer needs identified through extensive market research. Mr. Martinez explained, «Men want security, comfort, and a close shave» when they choose a blade system.  The marketing professionals supporting the campaign felt Gillette Fusion made men, «look and feel their very best.»  That is why they decided that they would continue with their successful strategy of using celebrity endorsement from David Beckham, like they had done with the Mach3. «We felt like David, at the time, best represented what we wanted our innovative product to stand for.» In the end, the elaborate product launch, which of course was supported by a large advertising budget, enabled Fusion alone to take over 17% of men’s shaving systems category, cannibalizing only little of the existing Gillette products, in fact, growing the category and the market itself.

Overall, the case presented by P&G shows, what challenges even a market leader has to face and how, even if it seems that the market is divided upon your own product and the competitors, growth can be achieved through not only stealing market share from your rivals but also through growing the category in itself. The IE Marketing Club was very proud to host P&G and would like to take this opportunity to thank the participants again for sharing their «real life marketing session» and the continuous challenges faced by a brand manager with the interested audience.

By Fanny L. Cardona


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