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COLGATE SETS DEC. LAUNCH FOR NEW LADY SPEED STICK;INVISIBLE DRY VARIETY WILL BE BACKED BY $15 MIL

By Published on .

Colgate-Palmolive Co. is going into marketing overdrive on its Mennen antiperspirant/deodorant brand, readying the introduction of Lady Speed Stick Invisible Dry, the first white antiperspirant stick to leave no white residue.

A $15 million marketing campaign will kick off in December, two-thirds of that devoted to print and TV advertising from Young & Rubicam, New York.

That's on top of an ad spending boost last spring-to $18 million from $8 million, company executives report-as Colgate began the introduction of Speed Stick Gel.

STRONG DEMAND

"There is a strong demand for no-white-residue antiperspirant products," said Michael Sload, Colgate-Palmolive marketing manager, of the product now rolling out. "Some women are dissatisfied with current no-white-residue products like gels, clear sticks and roll-ons because some may go on sticky and be less effective."

The earlier ad boost for the brand is helping Colgate's share. For the year ended Aug. 25, according to Information Resources Inc., Mennen posted the largest sales increase of any brand in the $1.4 billion market, with sales up 11.3% to $107 million and share advancing nearly a point to 7.4%.

Colgate's new entry will set up a battle with Procter & Gamble Co., now in test markets with Sure Clear Dry and Secret Sheer Solid. Handled by Grey Advertising, New York, and Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, respectively, both products are competitive with Colgate's new Invisible Dry.

AEROSOL IN TEST

P&G also is testing a new aerosol form under the Sure name, called Sure Focus Spray.

Though Sure has been declining in sales, P&G remains the overall market leader with a 26.3% share, trailed by Gillette Co. at 21.2%, Colgate at 12.6%, Unilever's Helene Curtis Industries at 11.4% and Carter-Wallace at 7.9%.

A P&G spokesowman said no plans have been made for national introductions, though P&G is believed to have moved up launch dates from second-quarter 1997 to the first quarter.

Like Colgate's Invisible Dry entry, P&G's Clear Dry and Sheer Solid claim to offer the same wetness protection as traditional sticks, but their opaque formula is said to leave no messy residue.

While Colgate will be first to market with the new formula, P&G is expected to spend more when it enters the fray next year.

Traditional sticks currently retain 54% of the total market, though clear gels and sticks are the fastest-growing segment with unit volume up 38% for a 14% share.

$25 MIL CAMPAIGN

Gillette, which helped pioneer gels in its Series line in 1992, will begin a $25 million ad campaign to introduce Gillette Series ClearStick and Right Guard Clear Stick through the New York offices of BBDO Worldwide and N.W. Ayer & Partners, respectively.

Carter-Wallace also has reworked its Arrid XX Clear Gel in a faster-drying formula; it is being backed by an estimated $17 million in advertising using an updated "Get a little closer" jingle via Bates USA, New York, according to industry executives.

The company is said to be readying a $4.5 million campaign that starts this month for a new aerosol product called Arrid XX Clear Spray.

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