Published on .

Schick was founded in 1921 by Jacob Schick, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, whose first invention was a dry shaver that could be used without water and lather. Inspired by the army repeating rifle, Mr. Schick invented the Magazine Repeating Razor. The razor had replacement blades stored in a clip in the handle and was the forerunner to the famous Schick Injector Razor, still made in the 21st century.

In 1928, convinced that the "wet shave" method would be doomed by the electric razor, Jacob Schick started a separate corporation to manufacture and sell Schick electric shavers. From that date until 1970, there were two Schick companies.

Magazine Repeating Razor Co. made the injector razor and blades. J.M. Mathes Inc. was its advertising agency. Mr. Schick sold the company to American Chain & Cable, which in 1946 was acquired by Eversharp. In the late 1940s, Eversharp named Biow Co. to handle its account, and Biow created the "Push. Pull. Click. Click. Change Blades That Quick" campaign for Schick.

Meanwhile, Mr. Schick continued at Schick Dry Shaver Co., which used Briggs & Varley as its ad agency in the 1930s, switching to Arthur Kudner Inc. in about 1940. After World War II, the company changed its name to Schick and continued making electric shavers exclusively.

Acquired by Warner-Lambert

By 1961, Eversharp was using Compton Advertising while Benton & Bowles handled Schick. In 1970, both Eversharp and Schick were acquired by Warner-Lambert Co, which continued to produce high-quality shaving products and modern versions of the original injector razor under the Schick brand.

Schick's success can be traced to the company's ability to capitalize on market trends and its strong advertising and promotions program. It should be noted, however, that despite Schick's efforts, Gillette has always outperformed Schick in market share; in 2002, Gillette had a 70% share.

The Schick product lines most responsible for the company's revenue included the Silk Effects and Silk Effects Plus Razors for women and the Tracer and Tracer FX for men. Other Schick products included the Personal Touch Razor for Women, the Schick Protector and the disposable Slim Twin.

Recognizing the increasing importance of women in the razor and shaving markets in the 1990s, Schick introduced the Silk Effects line of razors in 1994, which used low-corrosive steel, had rubber safety grips to prevent wet hands from slipping and wrapped thinner wires around pressure-sensitive twin blades to prevent nicks and cuts. A $12 million print, TV and coupon campaign from J. Walter Thompson USA, New York, supported the product.

Silk Effects Plus, launched in 1999, targeted younger, active female consumers, and the product came with a suction-cupped shower hanger for the razor and refill cartridge. In a $30 million campaign that broke in May 1999, print ads and TV spots from JWT showed the lifestyle of a time-pressed young woman, who shared a messy apartment with two male roommates, shaving her legs in a cluttered bathroom before going out on the town.

In an effort to tap into the younger market, a print ad for the Silk Effects brand also targeted teens, depicting adolescent girls shopping for back-to-school products in New York's SoHo district. The ad announced a Silk Effects contest for a trip to Manhattan and a $1,000 shopping spree at Bloomingdale's.

Schick's products for the men's market include its Tracer and Tracer FX razors, introduced in the early '90s and 1997, respectively. The Tracer razors, whose blades bend to conform to the face, were marketed as providing a closer, smoother shave than conventional razors. TV spots for the Tracer used "morphing," in which a shaver's face was seamlessly transformed—one visage becoming another and then another—to drive home the idea that any man, regardless of the shape of his face, could successfully use the flexible razor.

An attention-getting 1995 ad by JWT for the FX razor, part of a $20 million campaign that was specifically targeted men with sensitive skin, featured a female fashion model shaving her face while cooing into the camera, "Are you the sensitive type? I like that."

NBA tie-in

One of Schick's major advertising and promotional thrusts in the 1990s was its association with the National Basketball Association. The Schick Rookie Game was held each year during the NBA All-Star Weekend, and in 1994, Schick began sponsoring a "Picture Yourself at the Schick Rookie Game" sweepstakes campaign, in which entry forms were attached to print ads, free-standing inserts and displays in more than 20,000 retail outlets. National Media Group, New York, managed Schick's NBA sponsorships.

In 2000, Schick introduced its Xtreme 3 razor, in response to Gillette's Mach 3; JWT handled the introductory spots, which featured Andre Agassi shaving his head. In January 2003, Energizer Holdings proposed to acquire Schick from Pfizer (which acquired Warner-Lambert in 2000) for $930 billion.

In March 2003, Energizer Holdings acquired Schick from Pfizer (which acquired Warner-Lambert in 2000) for $930 billion. Long a fierce rival of Gillette Co. in batteries, Energizer quickly powered up Schick’s marketing attack in razors, launching the four-bladed Quattro system the following September and shaving six share points off Gillette’s dominant U.S. position in blades and razors in the early going through February 2004.

Most Popular
In this article: