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Tue 7 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Gillette pumps US $5 million into Blue II Excel

The male grooming giant is digging deep to make its biggest disposables launch of the year a success.

Gillette is committing US $5 million to support this month’s launch of Blue II Excel, the company’s first disposable razor to use spring-mounted blade technology.

The money will be invested in a marketing campaign that will include product sampling, in-store displays and TV advertising, the first time Gillette has used television to promote a disposable product in the region.

“These products will increase the value of the disposables segment, thus increasing sales and profits for our retailers,” Timur Edis, regional business manager, Middle East and Africa, Gillette, told Retail News Middle East. “We will be launching an aggressive marketing campaign that includes TV advertising, innovative in-store displays and consumer sampling programmes to ensure that we drive enough traffic to our partners in the channel.”

According to insiders, Gillette believes the regional market consists of 83 million male shavers, of whom 70% are wet shavers. Annual blade consumption, excluding barber shops, is around 697 million units and the total value of the blades and razors market in the MENA region is around US $110 million annually.

At around US $0.80 per razor, Blue II Excel is hardly cheap, and its launch comes at a time when Gillette is under attack at the lower end of the disposables market. However, Gillette insists that the product is not expensive and that its launch will create a new product segment for retailers. “It is slightly higher in price than Blue II, a blockbuster for Gillette disposables,” commented Edis.

“Blue II Excel aims at loyal disposables users who want to have a good shave, but do not intend to invest in a systems solution. In this sense, Blue II Excel creates a new price point between disposables and systems.”

The new product’s key selling point is its use of spring-mounted blade technology, which has previously only featured on systems products like the Sensor and Mach3. Blue II Excel also boasts a new non-slip rubber handle.

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