Teens increasingly turn to their phones, and the internet, for queries on how to do almost everything. Gillette for Father's Day is launching an extensive digital and integrated effort to encourage them to "Go Ask Dad" instead for advice on such things as tying ties, asking girls for dates, or, of course, shaving.
A poignant video from Grey New York for the Procter & Gamble Co. brand shows dads in Spanish, French and English talking wistfully about how their sons rarely ask them how to do things, and far less so than they asked their own dads.
That sets up a test where boys first try learning things by "asking the internet," then asking their dads, and comparing results. Dads, perhaps unsurprisingly, turn out to be better teachers.
Gillette research shows 94% of teens ask the internet for advice before they ask their dads, said Carlos De Jesus, North American Shave Care brand director for P&G. "We wanted to remind them all how dad is the best source of information," he said.
Gillette has more than a social or paternal interest here. Simply put, it does a lot better with dads than search engines.
The brand has a dominant 80% share of the razor blade market, and more than 62% share of razor handles in offline stores, according to Nielsen data from Deutsche Bank. But other players are bigger in e-commerce. Search Google for "razor," or "what's the best razor?" and, while Gillette may have the top paid listing, other paid and organic listings from e-commerce brands such as Dollar Shave Club, Harry's and DorcoUSA dominate the page. Even niche offerings from Duluth Trading Co. or P&G's own high-end The Art of Shaving products turn up prominently. Dorco, the South Korean manufacturer that also supplies Dollar Shave, has ads that boldly proclaim "Your razors are a ripoff," in an apparent reference to Gillette's pricey market-leading blades.
The prominence of competitiors in search is one reason Gillette is making search advertising a big part of its Father's Day campaign, with paid ads that link to the video, Mr. De Jesus said.
"One of the things we want to do is interrupt the search experience on Father's Day," he said. "We're going to be there for any of the how-to moments during that week. If you search how to shave, we're going to be part of that. If you search how to change a tire or how to put on a tie, we're going to be part of the conversation."
Gillette has long focused on Father's Day as a gift opportunity for its products, and still sees it that way, but the brand has been focusing more on father-son relationships in recent years, such as with a video featuring quarterbacks Eli and Archie Manning last year, Mr. De Jesus said.
And while the brand routinely mails men razors on their 18th birthday, getting the brand passed down from dad carries more weight. "We do know the father-son relationship has an impact on brand preference," Mr. De Jesus said. "If father's trust the brand, then sons will also trust the brand. But insights have shown us they're moving away from that as well."
So the father-son "first-shave moment" is something he has both a professional and personal interest in. "It was a memorable moment for me when I did it with my father, and I can't wait to do it with my 10-year-old son when he's ready."
Gillette will also donate $50,000 to the National Center for Fathering, a non-profit that focuses on fostering the relationships between fathers and sons, as part of a Father's Day effort. Ketchum is handling PR, with WPP's Catalyst and Possible is handling search and digital marketing. Carat is handling media buying.