How Long Do Those Razor Things Last? [Fortune]|
Talking about a blade’s life span used to be taboo in razor marketing. Then hard times hit.
FORTUNE — This year Gillette debuted a 30-second television spot that will go down in the annals of razor blade marketing. Actor Brandon Quinn begins by telling the audience that Gillette sent him around the world to see how long he could shave with a single ProGlide cartridge. After gallivanting through what looks like the African Savanna, Paris, and some Asian rainforests, he tells viewers what Gillette never had: That the company’s blades last up to five weeks.
Gillette has always been famously tight-lipped when it came to blade life. Ask them anything else about shaving, and you got a thorough response. Did you know the average male takes 150 strokes per shave? Or that men’s faces include 10,000-15,000 hair follicles? Or that 10% of male shavers replace their blades according to the calendar, while the rest of us go by feel?
But broach the subject of blade life and you got a long list of reasons why it wasn’t possible to estimate. Until now. “This is most specific we’ve been,” says Gillette spokesman Damon Jones.
Gillette never advertised blade lifebecause it never had to. The brand, owned by Procter & Gamble (PG), grew into the leading men’s shaving line not because its blades lasted forever but because they were better, period. They were better because Gillette spent more than anyone else to make them that way — it didn’t hesitate to cough up $1 billion developing the Mach 3. And Gillette never mentioned blade life because it was better if the consumer didn’t know. By not knowing exactly how long (or short) a blades’ lifespan, the customer might replace it more often than necessary.
[Read the rest at Fortune.com]