Now, at least by its own numbers, Unilever is close to making good on the prediction. For 12 weeks ended in September, Unilever was tied with P&G at a 25.5% dollar share in six channel figures Unilever gets from VNU's ACNielsen, which combine scanner data from food, drug and mass outlets with consumer-panel data for Wal-Mart Stores, club and dollar stores, a spokeswoman said.
Axe had a 9% share, up from 4% a year ago and close to overtaking P&G's Old Spice, at 9.5%, for men's leadership, she said.
A P&G spokesman said it's still the leader and growing in overall U.S. deodorant and among men's brands, though he acknowledged Unilever has gained ground. A person familiar with the Nielsen category numbers for food, drug and mass excluding Wal-Mart puts P&G's overall deodorant lead in the latest 12 weeks at more than 5 points.