Gillette Made a Big Mistake

January/20/2019 9:33AM
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I was a VP of Brand Marketing in a $40 billion dollar corporation. The majority of my brand managers were female. We recruited employees with experience with the big brand firms like P&G, parent company of Gillette.

It was proud to be a part of the leading brand in the gasoline business, Amoco. We stood out in a product that was considered to be generic and we could prove that with our percentages of premium and mid grade gasoline sales vs. competition. When Amoco and BP merged the senior people at BP decided to drop the Amoco brand and go with BP, a brand that was truly a generic brand in the US. Over time that cost BP billions. But, as we know BP is not a brilliant corporation–more billions for Deepwater Explosion, Texas City refinery explosion, Alaskan Pipeline leaks, etc. Now, all these years later, BP is trying to resurrect the Amoco brand. Good luck with that.

P&G with their Gillette brand has opted to insult men. P&G didn’t break out US numbers, but globally, it had a nearly 65% share in the razor and blades market, the company said in its fiscal 2017 annual report. Its worldwide grooming net sales in fiscal 2017 that ended June 30 decreased 3% to $6.6 billion, partly thanks to US price reductions, P&G said, adding its worldwide grooming product market share declined.

The Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s have forced Gillette to drop prices in the past few years.  So the answer is to join the “me too” movement. Their “boys will be boys” lectures to me that I need to change my behavior to qualify for purchases of their high-priced blades.

See, here’s the problem with that. I have been married to the same woman for over 53 years, have two daughters, and 5 granddaughters and I am offended by their commercial. As an old white dude I truly enjoy flirting with women. They see me as harmless and flirt back and if they don’t I move on and flirt with one who does. As you can see, I have been surrounded by women my entire life. At home, at work, and in my day-to-day life. If I needed to be lectured about my interactions with women it would be from my wife, my daughters or an HR person at work. Not from a razor blade company.

To me, as a brand marketing person, this will increase sales of Gillette’s Venus brand for women, but will be far more offset by dramatic losses in their bread and butter brands for men. When I finish this I will go on-line and check into Harry’s and the Dollar Shave Club. I can save money and time by having better products delivered to my doorstep for less money. I was never motivated to do this but I am now. Thanks P&G and Gillette. I don’t believe your commercial will do one thing to make life better for my wife, daughters, and granddaughters. That is not your role. But, it did one thing for me, it pissed me off .

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