Shades Of "Mad Men" – P&G Begins "Review" Of Gillette Advertising


The advertising world is aflutter over the news of Proctor and Gamble Co. (P&G)  “reviewing” its relationship with advertising agency BBDO for Gillette’s shaving, deodorant, and body wash business in North America.  That means that other advertising companies will “pitch” their ideas to P&G to possibly take over advertising from BBDO.  The relationship between Gillette and BBDO (in various corporate ownership forms for both companies) has lasted for over 80 years, according to advertising industry news periodical Ad Age.

The Ad Age article, which quotes P&G “Global Brand-Building Officer” Marc Pritchard, says the review may take six months and “encompass sweeping strategic and spec creative pitches from the contestants.”  According to a story in Ad Week, another advertising industry publication, that will include both traditional and digital advertising.  Last year Gillette spent about $150 million on advertising in the segment being reviewed (Gillette spent about $800 million in advertising world-wide last year).  But another Gillette official, “President of Global Grooming and Shave Care” Patrice Louvet, said “Gillette lost some share in the U.S. in recent years due to a combination of a slow economy, more value-conscious consumers, some men shaving less and aggressive promotion by rival Energizer Holdings’ Schick, particularly directed at the legacy Mach 3 system.”  No doubt that contributed to the decision to “review” advertising.

Advertising industry watchers, analysts, and bloggers are weighing in as well.  Stuart Smith’s “The Politics of Marketing” blog says the review is no less than “a seismic event.”  Smith’s blog post offers an excellent background and analysis and I suggest reading the entire article.  The “More About Advertising” blog opines “Gillette isn’t quite the cash cow it was when P&G bought it for $68bn in 2005. Outrageously expensive shaving ‘systems’ like Fusion have come under pressure from cheaper brands and online sales.”

Interestingly, the review apparently does not include The Art Of Shaving brand and women’s lines.

What do you think of this development?

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  1. says

    Isn’t it considerably ironic how something that was once so lucrative for Gillette (i.e. their DE safety razors) is make a sudden resurgence in the market. A quality product that lasts 50+ years is now coming back to bite them in the ass.

    I mean, lucky for us these razors are now so affordable and high quality, but maybe they should’ve stuck with it? Who knows what kind of DE razor they’d have developed now.

    Could you imagine a 4 or 5 bladed safety razor? What a freaking monster that would be.

  2. Tbone says

    “Gillette lost some share in the U.S. in recent years due to a combination of a slow economy, more value-conscious consumers…”

    In other words, traditional wetshaving offers substantially lower cost than cartridge systems, better value for the money and is starting to eat into Gillette’s profit margins. Gillette’s Facebook page often contains pleas for coupons and concerns over high cartridge prices. Hopefully, these folks will discover safety razors and double-edge blades, both of which can offer very good value for those on a budget.

  3. creek geezer says

    Every American geezer worth his mettle will
    recall the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports jiggle. It was advertising at it’s best; an unshakeable tune wrapped around a manly dose of armchair athleticism. Gillette managed to convince us, week after week, that their products were superior without price gouging or deception. Use of plastics, in words, deeds and products, is finally catching up on Gillette.

    Here’s the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports jiggle…

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