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After investing more than $750 million to develop its new Mach3 shaving system, Gillette Co. won't be giving the product away.

"Right now, our plan is to sell every razor we make in the early years of launch," said a Gillette spokesman.

Since the introductions of the Sensor and SensorExcel razors, in 1989 and 1994, respectively, Gillette has sampled an estimated 25 million razors, according to company executives.

But for Mach3, the company only plans a limited VIP sampling of 2,000 razors.

"I'd give the whole thing away right now. If people try Mach3, you'll have 99% conversion. I would sample 96 million households," said Andrew Shore, analyst with PaineWebber.

To try to make Mach3 the No. 1-selling men's shaving system, Gillette plans to spend $300 million on global marketing, with $200 million in ads coming in the first year.


Ads break in August, and represent a budget double what the marketer spent on the introduction of Sensor, according to John Darman, VP-business management for male shaving.

The Mach3 media mix includes TV, radio, print, outdoor and Internet ads and will capitalize on the high-tech theme of the product. Advertising will retain the familiar "The best a man can get" tagline.

North American TV advertising, from BBDO Worldwide, New York, breaks in early August with a 15-second teaser spot.

"The major blitz will begin Aug. 10, and it will be loud when it hits," said Mr. Darman.

Following the teaser, there will be :60s, :45s and :30s depicting a pilot breaking each successive "Mach" barrier, accompanied by a sonic boom.

Throughout the flight his skin is pulled taut, the wings fly off the body of the plane, his clothes are stripped off and, at Mach3, he is seen in a futuristic bathroom as the razor flies into his hand.

The ads carry the line: "Three blades, fewer strokes, less irritation."

Print ads will explain the product in greater detail: a patented DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coating; the three blades; their precise positioning; and the forward-pivoting action of the razor.

The razor will retail for between $6.49 and $6.99 in the U.S. Refill cartridges, like the razor, will be priced about 35% higher than SensorExcel.


The company also has launched a Web site, at, devoted to the razor, created by Think New Ideas, New York.

The site offers 333 people the chance to win the Mach3 before it's available in stores.

In-store signage invites men to try Mach3 with a "Test pilots wanted" theme.

A woman's version of the razor is expected to be introduced, but the spokesman said there is no timetable for that.

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