GUANGZHOU (AdAgeChina) -- Procter & Gamble Co. has rolled out a sentimental TV and print campaign for its Gillette Vector that celebrates Chinese New Year through images of people who can't go home during the annual holiday.
The Gillette campaign expands on P&G's approach last year, when the holiday ad followed a man home for a reunion with his family. This year, the story is about a train conductor who has to work during the holiday period but still shaves to look his best on the job and to see his family at a stop in his hometown.
Although the campaign started out as a promotion for Vector, "we're now using it for the Gillette umbrella brand to support the entire product portfolio," said Heidi Wang, a P&G spokeswoman in Guangzhou.
The brand has been an uphill battle for P&G in China since it acquired the Gillette Co. in 2005 for $57 billion. For physiological reasons, Asians usually have far less facial hair than Caucasians, so they don't shave as much.
Also, young Chinese men tend to start shaving with the same double-edged razors used by their fathers. Given the economic and political problems that took place during the youth of China's older generation, few had the resources or opportunity to develop a sophisticated shaving regimen with shaving cream, a quality razor and aftershave, or even, in some cases, hot water.
As a result, Gillette marketing in China is built around education and sampling of Vector, its inexpensive entry level Gillette razor.
This year's lunar new year campaign includes a road trip through Guangdong offering free shaves to laborers and farmers in second and third tier markets.
The film series will make about 30 stops in three provinces in southern China, where winter weather isn't too cold for outdoor events. Each stop attracts about 1,000 people. Southern China is also the temporary home for the majority of the country's migrant workers seeking factory jobs, the primary target market for Vector razors.
P&G's approach echoes a surprising lack of zodiac-related campaigns appearing this year in Chinese media, even though the ox is considering a strong and lucky animal in the lunar calendar.
The theme of the TV and print is not related to elements of the ox year, that simply is not something we wanted to focus on,"