NORELCO PUTS NEW SHAVER TO THE TEST: TRIAL IS KEY COMPONENT OF ESTIMATED $35 MIL AD PUSH FOR ADVANTAGE

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Norelco Consumer Products Co. today introduces its Advantage Rechargeable Cordless Razor with a humorous call-to-action campaign challenging consumers to put the razor "to the test."

Tongue-in-cheek TV ads from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, feature cadets from the Virginia Military Institute and athletes from the Hartford Wolfpack American Hockey League team, who tested the new razor over a 21-day period. In the Hartford Wolfpack spot, one tough player likens the smooth action of the razor to that of an ice-smoothing Zamboni machine.

`PART OF YOUR ROUTINE'

TV and print ads focus on getting consumers to try the razor. Copy in one print ad reads, "If you don't make it part of your routine after 21 days, we'll give you your money back, guaranteed."

"The advertising is part of our holistic marketing approach to get consumers to put it to the test," said Norelco VP-Marketing Rich Sorota.

The goal of Norelco, the leader in the electric shaver market, is "to get really dissatisfied blade users to trade up to electrics," he added, noting the marketer's research has found there are "over 10 million dissatisfied blade users out there."

Norelco's launch follows wet-shave leader Gillette Co.'s recent introduction of its highly touted, triple-blade Mach3 razor, backed by a worldwide advertising budget of $300 million.

"We're prepared to let the consumer make the call," Mr. Sorota said. He declined to discuss spending for the Advantage campaign, but it is believed Norelco will back the launch with about $35 million in ads.

HIGH-TECH SHAVING

Cathy Aromando-Donovan, DMB&B exec VP-executive group creative director, said Advantage ads try to eliminate the perception that electric shavers are "some old razor your grandmother gave you in high school" and instead position them as the "high-tech way to shave."

Advantage commercials will run on network, cable and syndicated TV; print will appear in such magazines as Rolling Stone, Details, Spin and Sports Illustrated. The campaign will be supported by in-store and direct marketing.

The Advantage razor, a joint venture with Beiersdorf, releases Nivea for Men shaving lotion to help condition skin during shaving.

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