A close shave

Gillette tells Retail News Middle East why promotions like 'Bend it With Beckham' are essential in helping it develop its regional business.

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By  David Ingham Published  May 4, 2005

|~|becks.jpg|~|Gillette expects sales to jump around 20% above normal levels for the period of the ‘Bend it With Beckham’ promotion.|~|Gillette is running one of its biggest regional promotions to date, the ‘Bend it With Beckham’ campaign. Dion Stander, regional business manager, Gillette, explains how promotions like Beckham are vital in helping the company grow the reusable systems market in the region.

Retail News Middle East: Promotions like the Beckham one must cost Gillette plenty of money. What is the motivation for doing them and what are the short term benefits (i.e. for the period of the promotion) and the long term ones?

Promotions are an effective and powerful tool for achieving various objectives, such as driving revenues for our partners in the trade channel, educating consumers, positioning the Gillette brand, etc. Therefore, we see these promotions as investments that aim to achieve tangible returns to us as well as our channel partners.

Some promotions like the Bend it With Beckham campaign are internationally driven and localised to address the requirements of geographies. Other promotions are conceptualised and driven locally. An example of a previous local promotion was around the launch of the Mach 3 Champion razor. Targeting the jet-setting Middle Eastern consumer, the razor was on sale with a complimentary high-quality travel case which was useful in protecting the razor.

In general, promotions within the systems category (re-useable razors with corresponding premium disposable blades) are aimed primarily at consumer education, especially as the market in the Middle East is predominantly a disposables market with great potential for growth for our systems and grooming categories.

The Beckham campaign is particularly effective in associating grooming with sports and male celebrities, as well as [being] effective in maintaining Gillette’s alignment with sport and, in particular, football.

Beckham’s reputation as a style icon — the epitome of a well groomed man — is a perfect match for Gillette and its products. We are also the official sponsors of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

RNME: Please give us more details on the TV channels and print publications you’re using, the number of ads you’re running, in-store activity and any other marketing activities related to the promo.

For the Bend It With Beckham campaign, we implemented a very aggressive fully-integrated marketing campaign utilising TV, radio and print advertising, PR activities and POS materials. These efforts aim to drive products within the category that have been packaged with the exact same artwork used in advertising to create strong association and drive value for our channel partners. A global website for the competition has also been created: www.benditwithbeckham.com

RNME: What are the benefits for retailers in promos like Beckham and how do you ensure that the promo is getting the kind of prominence it requires in-store? How much do sales increase during the period of such promotions and what is the expected figure for Beckham?

The format of the competition and its mechanics are designed to drive revenue for the channel. To enter the competition, consumers must purchase a product in the Gillette systems sector.

Details of the competition and entry forms can be found on packs of Gillette Series Shaving Gel, Gillette Mach3Turbo Razors and Gillette Mach3Turbo Blades. In addition, entries can be submitted through text message including the individual code found on the pack wrapper.

The overall objective of the promotion is to generate an increase of 20% versus the average consumer uptake of Mach3 Turbo Razors.

RNME: A key strategy for Gillette is to sell more gels and aftershaves around the core blade products; what have you been doing to try to make this happen and is this relevant to the Beckham promo?

It is important to differentiate between cross selling and devising strategies that aim at market education and expansion of the market within a certain category.
Our strategy is to deliver the ultimate grooming solutions to the market, rather than cross selling products as a short term strategy.

In order to understand the value of the various marketing activities that we do, it is important to understand how the volume of consumer purchases is divided in this region across the male shaving category.

Today, the Middle East is predominantly a disposables market and through various marketing efforts with the channel and directly to customers, we aim to change that through a natural evolution of usage as well as development of potential new growth areas.

For the Bend It With Beckham promotion specifically, we are concentrating on the Gillette Series Gel and Mach3Turbo blades.

RNME: Your main competitor (Schick) seems to be making more of an effort to attack Gillette’s category dominance. Is Beckham a response to this and are we going to see a lot more similar activities going forward?

As explained earlier, the Beckham campaign is a worldwide project based on an exclusive three-year marketing agreement with David Beckham. David Beckham will play a key role in Gillette’s global marketing efforts for its male grooming products. Beckham is the first celebrity face of Gillette and his involvement with the company goes beyond individual products. We have future promotions with David Beckham planned.

RNME: New products keep coming thick and fast in the male grooming market and consumers are grumbling about the high cost of replacement blades. What are the retailers telling you about this constant stream of new products and increasing prices? Are they sceptical about so many new launches and are any of them looking at private label products or lower cost alternatives?

As previously explained, the systems category is not the dominant one in the Middle East and therefore this is reflected in the category price points across various brands. Retailers, as well as ourselves, need to cater to the various market segments and we believe that the systems segment has a good established base with great potential for growth.

As the market develops and grows, the volume of trading will eventually impact the price points within the systems category. The demanding market requires us to continue evolving and innovating within the category. In systems, Gillette has various products at different price positions. This offers consumers the opportunity to purchase Gillette systems at an affordable price.||**||

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