P&G : Getting Men ?

The action in male personal care market keeps hotting up. Dove’s  Men range : Men+care , launched 2 months back in US , Europe and Australasia. Vaseline (from Unilever) launched a Men’s range in India in March. Now P&G’s OLAY has launched Olay Men solutions in China, riding on its mega brand status in the country.

While DOVE  and VASELINE are  attempting to stretch a specific equity – Care and moisturization- across genders, OLAY is  riding on a broad equity- skin care expertise, which it can claim via its dominance of the female skin care market in China. All packs in the OLAY Men solutions range feature “Refreshing energy” as a common line, which is clearly a new thought as it hasn’t been used before in brand communication or packaging.

However the brand which should have been first off the blocks in this segment- Gillette- is still struggling to be a serious player in men’s face care. It is frankly stunning that they still don’t have a Globally consistent face care range . The UK site has pre-shave wash & scrub  and post-shave moisturizer but  I couldn’t find anything on the Gillette US website. They test marketed Gillette COMPLETE skin care range in US in 2005, and it didn’t work. Instead we saw the launch of a hair care range in 2008 which is already de-listed in UK.  Gillette’s equity is in men’s skin care not hair care. What are they thinking ?

Clearly, P&G is still trying to “get” Men !

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5 responses to “P&G : Getting Men ?

  1. I always felt that anything other than hair gel & deodorant would need to take a niche approach in the men’s grooming segment.

    There are of course some obvious niches – the gay dollar is a huge market in the US, and becoming so here in the UK, but after an abundance of (wasted) insight gathering that I did when working on Gillette in the mid-90’s, it was clear that a mass-market brand wouldn’t cut it in that segment. The (almost) unanimous opinion was “I’m special and I’m different – and I wouldn’t be seen dead using that mediocre rubbish”

    L’Oreal have recently tried it on with men – using their appallingly transparent (to me anyway) “Because We’re Worth It” proposition.

    However I fear that the male of the species (With the possible exception of SOME gay men) lacks the required level of vanity (Or is it self-belief?) to fall for such an obvious approach.

    Asking ‘A typical bloke’ to use exfoliator, moisturiser or (Heaven forbid) concealer is something akin to asking him to wear a skirt.

    It’s just not going to happen. Unless it’s behind closed doors of course!

    I always seem to come back to the same old Maslow when looking at this. It takes a pretty self-actualised guy to admit, even to himself, that he might get some benefit from skincare products.

    The more grown-up (for which read premium) women’s brands like Clarins & Clinique seem to have had some success with a more scientific proposition. And certainly, you’ll find the occasional straight guy buying them at cosmetics counters in the more upscale department stores.

    Yet I just can’t imagine a ‘Bloke’ going into Selfridges and asking for a pot of scrub and a tube of day cream.

    But behind closed doors I imagine it’s a different story…. I’m actually something of a brand ambassador for Clarins. I scrub & moisturise on a reasonably regular basis. But I’m 50 – and need all the help I can get. It wasn’t always that way though – and I only came out of the closet (Er, bathroom cabinet then) when my wife charged £200 worth of Dr. Lewinn’s finest wrinkle cream to my credit card – because I’d used up all of hers as a glorified after-shave balm – available for just £14.99 from Clinique….

    The basic premise on which women’s cosmetic & skincare products are sold is that they make the consumer FEEL better “about herself’ – not that they actually make her LOOK better – although they may.

    Women, I suspect, are generally more self-aware (Actualised) than men. I know many women who would agree!

    When the average ‘Bloke’ is asked to consider how he feels – even about his partner – the typical response is likely to be ‘She’s gorgeous’ – and if you’re lucky ‘I love her to bits’.

    Ask him how he feels about HIMSELF and the response is likely to be a very short ‘I’m alright’.

    I don’t think it’s the product, or the brand, or the stigma, or the lack of education that’s stopping men adopting their own skin-care regimen.

    It’s just that nobody’s got the proposition right yet.

    Right – anyone for horse placenta?

  2. David, Thanks for your detailed comments.
    – The BLOKE typology is a very UK thing. It is fairly established that UK men in general have been brought up to be less demonstrative and under-stated ( except the lager louts)..which explains the ” I am alright” response even when deep inside there is turmoil. Check out the DOVE for men US launch ad..I dont think it will work as well as in UK.
    -In China , the avg no of skin care products men use is 4-5, so it is not surprising to see lots of action in this segment in Asia.

  3. If only more than 95 people could read about this!

  4. After all, what these cosmetic brands selling is a DREAM, and as long as you are a human being you do need a dream (assuming that the lower level needs in Maslow’s hierarchy have been achieved). So I do think there is a HUGE untapped potential in male skin care markets!

    By the way, a wild guess on why Gillette hasn’t entered the skin care category, could it because it’s inherently a contradiction between a brand you use for shaving (i.e., getting rid of something on your face) and a brand you use for nourishing your skin (i.e., adding on something to your skin)? I wouldn’t want to use a swiss army plaster if I cut myself accidentally, perhaps with a swiss army pocket knife …. 😉

  5. gillette launched a total face care regimen for men in india. the product are well thought of and would make indian men look better.

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