GILLETTE STEPS UP ATTACK IN POWER TOOTHBRUSH WAR

Second Oral-B Brand Looks to Dull P&G, Colgate Surge

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Gillette Co., Boston, continues its push to enter the fast-growing, low-price power toothbrush business next April with the launch of the Oral-B CrossAction Power.

Ad plans weren't disclosed. Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, handles Oral-B, which leads the $5 billion global manual and power toothbrush market, according to Gillette, but has seen its share slip in recent years amid gains from low-priced battery brush offerings from Procter & Gamble Co. and Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Gillette's first attempts

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to regain market share came in May with the introduction of the Braun Oral-B battery-powered toothbrush.

The CrossAction Power comes with a suggested retail price of $6.99, a value that falls somewhere between P&G's Crest SpinBrush and the SpinBrush Pro that was launched earlier this month. It comes with replaceable heads also sold for $6.99. It requires only one AA battery rather than the two required by rivals and has a lighter feel more like a manual brush, Gillette said.

Oral-B in January also will launch CrossAction Vitalizer, a manual brush priced at $3.99 that aims to shore up a manual business that's been shrinking amid growth in power brushes.

Sales of power dental accessories in U.S. food, drug and mass outlets, excluding Wal-Mart Stores, grew 21.8% to $418 million in the 52 weeks ended Aug. 11, according to Information Resources Inc. Manual brush sales declined 8.1% to $487 million.

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