COOL SKIN SHAVER INVADES EUROPE, U.S.

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[paris] In an unusual joint venture between two giant European marketers, Philips Electronics and Beiersdorf are introducing a Philips electric shaver for men that automatically dispenses Nivea shaving lotion.

Philips Cool Skin will be launched in the U.S. in June after a rollout in March to the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Advertising will be handled by D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. Ads will use Philips' global tagline, "Philips. Let's make things better," combined with the line "Cool Skin for fresh shaving."

Global spending is not known, but the introduction in France will get $6.5 million.

POTENTIAL PARTNERS

Philips took the initiative in developing Cool Skin, approaching both L'Oreal and Johnson & Johnson about a partnership before opting for Beiersdorf's Nivea brand. Dominique Voisin, product manager for shavers, Philips, France, said neither L'Oreal nor J&J had an appropriate global shaving-cream product.

Ads feature both the Philips and the Nivea names, but Philips is covering all marketing costs and will pay Beiersdorf royalties based on sales. A women's version of Cool Skin is also being developed.

Cool Skin, priced in France at $162, operates on a rechargeable battery and is waterproof. The Nivea lotion comes in a cartridge in the back of the shaver. Refill packs are $4.75.

Initially Philips will focus marketing efforts mostly on France, with a TV, print and cinema campaign breaking March 20. The TV spot by DMB&B, Paris, will be used worldwide.

"France is the pilot market where Philips will judge the impact of the new concept on the shaving market and see how much of a shift there will be from wet to electric shavers," Mr. Voisin said. "It's worth the risk of cannibalizing sales from Philips' own electric shavers."

In its global battle against Gillette Co., Philips hopes to use Cool Skin to appeal to men who do not already have electric shavers. In France, only 30% of the 23 million men who shave use electric razors.

COMPETITIVE CATEGORY

Men's shaving has been a highly competitive category in the last two years, leading to an ongoing legal battle between Philips' Norelco subsidiary and Gillette. Gillette, the leader in wet shaving, sued Norelco, an electric razor brand, over ads for its Reflex Action Razor from DMB&B.

Gillette will raise the competitive stakes this year with its next-generation shaving system, which will be an advance over its Sensor Excel.

A major marketing campaign from BBDO Worldwide, New York, is expected to begin this spring in Europe, then move to the U.S.

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