Skip to content

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

Listen to this article


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?


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

9 thoughts on “Shades Of "Mad Men" – P&G Begins "Review" Of Gillette Advertising”

  1. 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. “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. 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…

  4. The economy bites back. Recently a young man who does shave told me he got a years shave out of a Fusion by reverse stropping on a pair of old jeans. When I suggested double edge shaving , he said “but then I won’t have five blades on my face”. I said “you don’t need them, check the N.Y. Times article on shaving.”
    First Gillette advertised that you could get 5 weeks of shaving from a Fusion. Now they are saying that a Mach 3 gives you a better shave than a disposable(that is true). They can’t bring back Gillette Blue blades(really Green as in cash cow). Hopefully the economy doesn’t get so bad that they bring the Guard to the U.S.A.
    No matter who the ad agency is, you can’t sell something that people don’t want. There are better options out there than Gillette.

  5. I love this quote…
    “Outrageously expensive shaving ‘systems’ like Fusion have come under pressure from cheaper brands and online sales.””
    I believe Gillette ‘shot themselves in the foot’ with the continuous increase in prices; they basically opened the floodgates to competitors and unless they can invent some ‘new’, and ‘super advanced’ shaving system, they are going to continue to lose market share. If one likes multi-blades cartridge, they can get 6 blades from dorco for 20% of the price of a fusion. That is assuming they enjoy ingrown hairs and razor bumps.;-)
    Viva la traditional wet shaving revolution!!!

  6. This is a big shakeup from a relationship standpoint. While Sharpologists (and the articles) tend to focus on the shaving systems portion of the account block, I want to think this has more to do with the success of other brands in the non-shaving section of the business. The recent campaigns around Old Spice (another P&G brand) and AXE (Unilever), they may be looking for a way to gear the Gillette brand to a slightly younger demographic.

  7. I work for a college in Boston and I’ve definitely noticed a trend over the years that the younger crowd just doesn’t shave as much.
    Movies, advertising and the like all seem to encourage this. Note: I’m speaking about younger 20-30 somethings. I’m no longer in that age group – more like the late 40’s.
    The middle aged male (myself included) has to keep up the shaving routine because the grey/silver stubble field just doesn’t look as good. Maybe the next P&G advertising firm should pitch the benefits of shaving to an older crowd?

Comments are closed.