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Gillette Launces New Razor in U.S.

October 4, 1994

NEW YORK (AP) _ Gillette unveiled its new premium razor for the U.S. market Tuesday and an $80 million marketing campaign to promote it to stubbly-faced men.

The Gillette SensorExcel, an upgraded version of its Sensor razor, was first sold in Europe and Canada last year to underscore the company’s global strategy, said John Darman, vice president for blades and razors.

The Gillette Co. will kick off the razor’s entry into the U.S. market this fall with a $40 million advertising blitz beginning during televised football games around Thanksgiving time.

The company will spend an additional $40 million during the first year on other promotions such as free samples, coupons and display stands for retailers.

Innovations on the new razor include a band of flexible rubber strips that promote closer shaving and a flexible handle.

With more than $300 million in research and development and capital costs sunk into Sensor and SensorExcel, Gillette has a lot riding on its two new razors.

″We drive our business by driving razor sales,″ said Darman.

Though razors account for 38 percent of Gillette sales, he said, they account for 70 percent of profits.

The company expects those margins to improve based on brisk sales of SensorExcel in Canada and Europe, where the razor has grabbed more than an eight percent dollar share of the wet shaving market in just one year.

With about 60 percent of the U.S. wet shaving market, the company realizes that SensorExcel will squeeze other Gillette products on store shelves.

″We’re fully committed to cannibalizing ourselves,″ said Darman. ″It has been our strategy to improve our products before our competition does.″

The razor will retail for approximately $3.99 and refil cartridges will be priced at about $4.49 for a five pack.

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