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We would turn skeptics into believers by letting them experience how Gillette Fusion ProGlide turns shaving into gliding. Months before the product was actually on shelves we reached out to hundreds of influential bloggers. Through a mobile shave studio we collected thousands of video testimonials that were posted on our YouTube channel, and we used real people testimonials in traditional and digital ads. Teaser advertising drove consumers to this content via pre-launch TV spots that used hidden camera testimonials and featured our celebrity influencers. And sell they did: In launch month razor trial was four times higher than planned, our unit share three times forecast. In May 1994, months before the Gillette Company first shipped its hugely successful Sensor Excel razor in the United States, marketing plans were already under way for the product that would succeed the Sensor Excel. When it comes to blades and razors, Gillette is not content with merely having an innovative product.
The Mach 3 shaving system, a blend of leading-edge technology and relentless consumer testing, took seven years and $750 million to develop. Gillette has poured another $300 million into marketing the new product -making Mach 3 the world's only billion-dollar razor -and the results are already off the chart. Like other great marketers, Gillette simply knows its customers better than its competitors do. Ever since 1901, when King Camp Gillette invented the safety razor, Gillette has built a corporate culture around finding better, more lucrative ways to remove unwanted hair from human beings.
In 1971, Gillette shook up the shaving marketplace when it introduced Trac II, the first twin-blade razor with two parallel blade edges housed in a single cartridge.
By the mid-1980's, with disposable razors taking up a whopping 50 percent of the market, Gillette executives decided to break out of what they saw as a dead-end strategy. In 1990, after 10 years of research and development, Gillette introduced its Sensor twin-bladed shaving system.
Like other great marketing companies, Gillette acknowledges that product quality is the core value proposition around which everything else swirls. Indeed, many superior technologies have slipped away, unnoticed and unrewarded, in the history of consumer products. For the Mach 3, the value proposition had to be compelling, succinct and easily understood by a vast consumer base around the world. Gillette's vaunted marketing machine is actually the sum of many parts, all tied inextricably together by time-honored traditions within the company. The Mach 3 group, code-named the 225 Task Force, worked for five full years in concert with R&D to produce and orchestrate the introduction of the new product. Because the product would probably take off immediately, manufacturing had to insure that it had enough capacity to avoid shortages at the outset.
To facilitate a smooth global introduction, all packaging, point of sale and other promotional and support material had to be the same, simply translated into 30 languages for other geographies. In the same vein, all marketing and advertising was based on a single campaign that was released in every market, again with minor local adjustments and translations. Pricing needed a built-in elasticity, but by carefully testing the concept with consumers, Gillette fixed a profitable price point based on the expected number of blades per user per year. Like a military strike, a global introduction had to be carefully planned and orchestrated to be successful.
To orchestrate the product unveiling successfully, Gillette followed strict guidelines about all advertising, marketing and promotion.
Thus, all packaging, point-of-sale displays and support material are the same around the world. By creating a single look and feel to the entire global campaign, the Mach 3 achieved a branded look almost instantaneously.
In the United States alone, Mach 3 razors have outsold Sensor four to one compared with Sensor's first six months on the market and outsold Sensor blades three to one. If and when Gillette introduces a women's Mach 3, it will undoubtedly be with a blitzkrieg approach. Gillette's ability to introduce its new products globally is built upon best practices gleaned from decades of experience, particularly with its highly successful Sensor razor products. William Flynn: We're still focused on heavy media spending, doing a lot of the fundamentals. S&B: So you can get other geographies on board quickly by having the answers before they ask the questions? William Flynn: You have to get it to the point where they realize that everything has been fully vetted eight ways to Sunday.
S&B: Now that the launch has been overwhelmingly successful, how do you sustain the momentum?
Glenn Rifkin, [email protected]Glenn Rifkin has covered technology for the New York Times and has written for the Harvard Business Review and Fast Company. Articles published in strategy+business do not necessarily represent the views of the member firms of the PwC network.
Challenge Create an authentic link between F1 and Gillette shaving technology to publicize the partnership between Gillette and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes racing and launch the new Gillette Fusion ProGlide Silver Touch during the most competitive news cycle in Singapore’s media calendar – the Singapore F1 Night Race. Challenge Transform Singaporean consumers’ perceptions of an automatic dishwashing machine from an unnecessary luxury to a useful appliance with tangible hygiene benefits.
Our ability to talk about innovation was being eroded by the a€?blade warsa€™ a€“and our consumers were becoming desensitized and skeptical. The good news -research told us that once guys triedthe razor they were convinced 2:1 of the performance evolution. We gave them a sample and a widget for their blog that would allow them to distribute samples to their loyal readers. New products go on the drawing board as much as a decade before they are introduced, and it is a safe bet that even as Mach 3 was hitting retail store shelves, Mach 4 or Mach Excel or whatever the company calls its next breakthrough razor was well along in its development cycle.
The company has also turned marketing into a quantitative science, pouring time and resources into marketing plans that are almost military in their precision and implementation.
Sales of the Mach 3 have far surpassed Sensor and Sensor Excel, which both dominated the market in their day and have exceeded even Gillette's lofty expectations.
The $10.1 billion Boston-based consumer products giant also sells Duracell batteries, Braun appliances and Parker pens.

For much of this century, Gillette was as much a part of the American lifestyle as Campbell Soup and Coca-Cola. With Atra in 1977, Gillette increased performance and pressed its "comfort and closeness" mantra with an innovative pivoting head. With disposables, the razor had become a commodity, and the buying decision was based solely on price and convenience.
Shaving evokes certain key reactions in men: It is time-consuming, irritating and often unpleasant. With this statement, all marketing efforts would have a common foundation upon which to build.
The Horizon Committee, for example, is chartered to capture the future, looking five to 20 years ahead for what the hair removal experience is likely to be.
Zeien, the company looks at the world "as one nation," and global product positioning is de rigueur.
The task force drew up advertising budgets, capital costs, sampling costs and formulas for achieving more profit per user per year. Everything from packaging to point-of-sale displays to retail sales guidelines was created with a single audience in mind rather than individual geographies. A believer in big-budget advertising, Gillette seeks to surround the consumer with its message, embracing every medium, from television to billboards to the Internet. Flynn points out that the Mach 3 will be "advertising driven" for its first two years and then, as the product becomes entrenched in the marketplace, advertising efforts will slow while a sampling campaign commences.
Mach 3 simply blew away the skeptics and became the type of whirlwind success that product developers and marketers dream about.
Mach 3 razors brought in $60 million in the first six months, compared with $15 million in Sensor sales during its first six months.
The company expects a 20 percent to 30 percent market share for Mach 3 razors and blades over the next two years as it sells more than a billion blades annually around the world.
We know that the primary growth driver is the media, so we have to make sure we are spending our money wisely.
The Italian market is much more devoted to disposable razors, so we had to concentrate more media in Italy. We needed to go to all the geographies and put together a rationale for what we were recommending per market.
That is why when we went out with Sensor, we spent more on media in Italy than any other country. We've already achieved a 16 percent blade value or dollar share in Italy, which is the highest blade share of all Gillette's North Atlantic markets.
He is coauthor of Radical Marketing (HarperBusiness, 1999) and The CEO Chronicles (Knowledge Exchange, 1999). Reviews and mentions of publications, products, or services do not constitute endorsement or recommendation for purchase. According to Euromonitor International, in the beginning of 2011, automatic dishwashing machines were installed in less than 1% of Singaporean households.
This innovative strategy generated authentic and believable buzz around the product performance.
That new razor, which would later be named Mach 3, was introduced with all the attendant fanfare in the summer of 1998.
The product was named two full years before it was first shipped, and the efforts were so secretive that the directors, including billionaire and major shareholder Warren E.
Despite the skepticism of some in the financial press, who felt the new razor was gimmicky and too expensive, in just six months Mach 3 has become the top-selling razor and blade in North America and Europe. When an Italian man or an Australian woman performs his or her morning ablutions, Gillette has a pretty good idea of what razor will be used and why. And in the same time period, Gillette, mired in a new battle of disposable razors with the likes of Bic, unveiled the Good News, the first twin-bladed disposable. For much of this decade, scientists at Gillette's research lab in Reading, England, studied metallurgy, skin and hair and came up with new blade edges -the first since the 1960's -designed to allow men to shave with less force and feel less irritation. Getting them to try a new product and offering a "reason to believe" has never been better orchestrated than with Mach 3.
Indeed, the value statement took two full years, countless meetings and innumerable focus groups to write. Not surprisingly, men around the world crave the same thing: a close, clean, comfortable shave without nicks and cuts. Gillette could not only woo its own Sensor Excel customers to move up, but also grab market share among disposables users.
Even today, Gillette is looking beyond wet shaving to lasers and other forms of technology for potential products. The five years were characterized by ceaseless product improvement, constant consumer testing around the world and, eventually, creation of a marketing strategy to not only press the new value proposition but also substantiate the claims.
By mid-1996, under John Darman, vice president of business management for male shaving, the task force began to pull together specific plans for a global introduction. But the eventual name had to work as well in Germany and Latin America as it did in North America.
The number dropped to the high 20's with Sensor, and, because of its superior performance, the number is expected to drop even more for Mach 3.
Mach 3 packages from Spain, Germany, Britain and Italy are identical except for the language on the package. Though some local production had to be done in certain markets, the commercial is essentially the same everywhere -male models have to have faces that are "acceptable" in all regions. It stepped up its public relations efforts for Mach 3 and received 10 times as many mentions in the media, called share of voice, for the product rollout as it had for Sensor. He points out that 75 percent of Mach 3 sales go to Sensor Excel users who are moving up to the new product.
Mach 3 blades generated $68 million in sales in its first six months; Sensor blades brought in just $20 million in its first six months. And though it is closemouthed about future products, there is little doubt that Gillette sees an opportunity to move Mach 3 into the women's market, much as it did with Sensor. Shapiro said, Gillette understands that every consumer it can get to try a new product sooner is one less customer who is likely to get away.

But despite the almost military precision with which Gillette attacks the global marketplace, there are issues specific to certain geographies that require careful planning.
A year before launch, the manufacturing people pegged how many cartridges and razors they could produce: between 50 million and 70 million razors and 400 million cartridges. When we first showed the European marketing directors and general managers the packaging under the tent, we had to get them in on translations and on local advertising. The company has parlayed its laserlike focus on its marketplace, and its unmatched ability to forecast what men and women will buy, into a 72 percent market share in both the United States and Europe. Gillette needed a differentiator, a product upon which the brand could be elevated and market share substantially increased. With blades mounted on springs that allowed the razor to adjust to a man's face as he shaved, Sensor raised the shaving bar to new heights. In order to insure that consumers would not simply scoff at three blades as a marketing gimmick, the shave had to be demonstrably better.
The value had to be there for a wide cross section of shavers, from the serious system user to the disposables user.
With Mach 3, Gillette had a distinct advantage; the company had essentially been there before. The new product would be introduced in North America in July 1998, in Europe and Russia on Sept. Thousands of one-on-one interviews around the world with consumers confirmed that the name Mach 3 would fly. The company purposely keeps the number of words on the front of the package to a minimum to avoid the need for design alterations to the packaging. He walked into a drugstore and was met immediately with the Mach 3 display, which mirrored the sidewalk advertising.
Mach 3 razors already have a 15 percent market share in the United States and as much as 17 percent in Italy. We needed to get some energy going and thought launching there first would do that while at the same time demonstrate that we are an international company. We've achieved with Mach 3 in Europe in three months what we achieved with Sensor in 18 months.
We're going to achieve volumes that meet or exceed that, and we don't want to be out of stock." So manufacturing has to be on target with its forecasts.
We tested the name throughout Latin America and Europe and the scores we had showed that Mach 3 was even stronger than Sensor had been.
This dominance is born from a relentless pursuit of better shaving technologies, a willingness to invest whatever is needed to manufacture its products effectively, and a formulaic, integrated marketing strategy that works everywhere. So rather than compete on the existing playing field, Gillette simply created a new category, the shaving system, and took control of it while at the same time eroding the market share of the disposables category.
Flynn said, take between 100 and 500 strokes when they shave, often going over the same area again and again. The company's experience with both the Sensor and the Sensor Excel had created a template for the manufacturing and global marketing and promotion of a shaving system.
1, in Japan in February 1999 and in the rest of Asia, Latin America and Australia by mid-year. Shapiro, a former Harvard Business School marketing professor, but prevents competitors from thwarting Gillette's efforts in remote markets before the product is shipped.
Because of the success of Sensor, which had been priced at a 25 percent premium over the previous offering, Gillette was extremely aggressive in its pricing for Mach 3. And almost as if on cue, a radio commercial for the razor came on over the store's speakers. Flynn, business director of blades and razors for Gillette, talked with Glenn Rifkin about unveiling Mach 3 in Europe.
With Mach 3, we wanted to launch in July 1998, but realized that August is not the greatest time to advertise in Europe. We create a media spending model that is predicated on things such as profit by country, share of voice, trade-up potential, incremental profit above the competition. We had impact scores, diagnostic scores, scores to show how it was different from Germany to Spain to Italy. The design not only produced markedly closer shaves but also brought Gillette out of the disposables morass and back into an indisputable leadership position. Sensor had been so successful that it had turned the company's earnings around and set off a string of 32 straight profitable quarters at Gillette. For countries like Italy and Spain, where many stores are small, Gillette created a special display for the Mach 3. Flynn, it took Sensor two years to reach the sales level that Mach 3 achieved in six months. So the team works with individual accounts, and well before the official launch, they'll go in and reset the aisle. When we launched Sensor, we created the Sensor Derivation Model, which was essentially how much money we spent and what share of voice we achieved. Before they had started to ship, either the Gillette sales force or outside contractors went in and reset the blade and razor section of the retailers to leave space for Mach 3. One guy admitted that he was a system user, but he had been a hardcore disposable user until he got a Sensor in the mail.
The commercial tested better than any other commercial we've ever run in the blade and razor business. There was a lot of preplanning to make sure that Mach 3 was in a leadership position from the outset and make sure that out-of-stocks were minimized. We have to make sure they have all the tools necessary to continue with a razor program in which a customer buys a razor and gets a free package of other shaving products.
They were humorous radio ads, and we worked with local markets to develop the ads for drive time for each local market.

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