GILLETTE SETS WOMEN'S SENSOREXCEL

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Gillette Co. is stepping up its commitment to both women's shaving and new product categories.

In 1996, the company will spend $25 million on marketing for the U.S. introduction of the SensorExcel for Women shaving system. A total of $25 million in measured media will be spent in North America and Europe, via BBDO Worldwide, New York. Ads are themed, "Shaving is about to change. You can feel it."

The Gillette unit this month will introduce a new disposable razor called Custom Plus Pivot, aimed at the 90% of all first-time women shavers who use a disposable razor, said John Darman, VP-blades and razors, North Atlantic Group.

Mr. Darman wouldn't confirm speculation by executives close to Gillette that separately the company is looking at an extension of its value-price White Rain haircare line into the $400 million body wash category, as well as other skincare products. He did say a haircare line called White Rain Solutions will be introduced in early 1996 via Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston. Possible line extensions under the Satin Care brand, now just a women's foaming shave gel, are also rumored to be under consideration.

SensorExcel for Women, however, is expected to be the most heavily supported Gillette launch in the first half of 1996 with more than 2 million samples in the U.S. plus 225 million coupons as Gillette tries to increase the incidence of shaving among women in the U.S. and primes those already shaving for trading up to a higher priced brand.

SensorExcel for Women will be Gillette's highest priced system for females at $4.49 for a razor, storage tray and two cartridges. Refill packs will range in price from $4.69 for a five-pack to as high as $9.99 for a 10-pack.

Since its introduction three years ago, Sensor for Women has become a $200 million business worldwide in blades and razors. SensorExcel for Women represents a technological advancement over the original product with features such as additional lubricants, a flexible rubber grip and a new spring-mounted cartridge.

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