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Episode Seven: Man And Machine
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Schick has a late entry into the Super Bowl to back an improvement to its Hydro 5 razors, moving plans for a new global campaign up a week after the Edgewell Personal Care Co. brand confirmed the buy with CBS yesterday.
The 30-second spot is set to run during the first break of the fourth quarter, backing a major improvement to Hydro 5 cartridges, including an upgraded, patented "Hydrating Gel Reservoir" that Schick says helps create 40% less friction than blades with "lube strips."
Those include most cartridges now on the market, including those from Procter & Gamble Co.'s prohibitive category leader Gillette, whose new Fusion ProShield blades launched ads from WPP's Grey during the NFL playoffs and began online video and outdoor ads with retailers late last year. Gillette's new blade extends its lubricating strip around the razor.
The "Robot Razors" ad from J. Walter Thompson for Schick shows a CGI robotic version of the new Hydro 5 besting an unnamed "lube strip" razor in battle. It's the first really new TV ad for Schick's high-end Hydro line since it was launched in 2010. JWT's WPP sibling MEC helped secure the last-minute Super Bowl buy.
"We didn't really start out to create a Super Bowl ad," said Charlie King, group marketing director for men's systems at Edgewell. "But when we looked at the creative, we said we've got a good friendly competition here and it certainly seems like that would fit well within the spirit of the football game. And it was hard to pass up the opportunity to reach millions of men to launch our new campaign."
Schick hasn't been on the Super Bowl since a 2007 ad for the Quattro line, though the brand has a longer history on the game, including an ad in Super Bowl III in 1969. While efforts to retrieve that early ad haven't succeeded, it may be related to one shot for a Schick electric razor used by Joe Namath to shave off a fu manchu he grew in late 1968. It was created a month before he led the historic upset of the Baltimore Colts.
Besides the gel reservoir, the new Hydro 5 also has blades closer together to reduce irritation and a larger "guard bar" below the blade to stretch the skin for a smoother shave, Mr. King said. Schick isn't calling out competitors by name, but claims the new Hydro 5 overall produces 40% less irritation than "the leading lube strip" razor, he said.
Another set of animated razors – from Dollar Shave Club's latest wave of ads launched last year – is helping roil the category. DSC claimed to pass Schick for No. 2 overall by volume in razors last year, a claim panel data from Slice Intelligence on e-commerce sales seemed to support. Mr. King declined to comment on that claim.
"We're feeling very good about our ability to compete with everybody in the marketplace with this" new razor, Mr. King said.
Nielsen data from Deutsche Bank show Edgewell picking up 0.2 percentage points of market share to 17.2% of the $1.3 billion razor cartridge market in offline stores for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 23, even thwith sales down 4.1% amid a 5.1% decline for the category, as more sales move online.
After the U.S. debut, the new Hydro 5 and campaign will continue to roll out in Japan and Europe, with initial countries there including Germany and the U.K.