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Procter & Gamble Co. is retooling its antiperspirant/deodorant business with new entries under the Old Spice, Secret and Sure brand names.

The marketer plans to put more than $50 million into media spending alone on the three technology-based products.

The activity follows a wave of entries from competitors last year, including Gillette Co., the No. 2-ranked marketer in the $1.4 billion category, and No. 4 Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Gillette kicked off the $25 million introduction of Right Guard Sport and Gillette Series Clear Stick last fall, while Colgate introduced Lady Speed Stick Invisible Dry late in the year.


Of the category's top 10 marketers, P&G has had one of the lowest growth rates, barely outpacing overall market growth of 1% with a 1.4% sales increase for the 52 weeks ended March 30, according to Information Resources Inc.

That was less than half Gil-lette's 3.5% increase and about one-seventh of Colgate-Palmolive's 7.2% jump. It was a fraction of ninth-ranked Church & Dwight Co.'s 20% sales spurt during the period; even No. 8 Revlon grew 7.4%.

Still, P&G did manage some gain; No. 3 Unilever, No. 5 Carter-Wallace and No. 6 Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. all saw sales declines.

In July, P&G will launch Secret Sheer Dry, Sure Clear Dry and Old Spice Pure Sport, as well as a longer-lasting deodorant formula across the entire Old Spice line.

In a Wichita, Kan., market test, Secret Sheer Dry pulled a 4.5% dollar share while Sure Clear Dry earned a 2% share, said Barry McCarthy, P&G category account exec.

Secret and Sure both offer the wetness and odor protection of a gel solid in stick form, minus the gummy residue most sticks leave on skin and clothes.

Mr. McCarthy said P&G's intent is to dominate advertising during the months of peak antiperspirant/deodorant usage.


In addition to spending $20 million on print and TV advertising for Secret, from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, and another $18 million on print and TV for Sure, via Grey Advertising, New York, P&G will also field more than 22 million samples, including trial sizes, on those two brands.

In-store product demonstrations will be used as will couponing via newspaper free-standing inserts, a vehicle P&G is trying to cut back on.

"We're really going to focus more on generating trial through sampling and media," Mr. McCarthy said.

A direct-marketing program for Secret Sheer Dry has P&G teamed with direct apparel marketer WinterSilks. In the deal, the cataloger will educate its female customers about the product's compatibility with fine clothes, and will actually sample the product.

Old Spice Pure Sport, handled by Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago, is a new fragrance meant to appeal to younger men.

It will be featured in an $11 million-plus advertising campaign that will also emphasize new longer-lasting odor protection claims of up to 24 hours.

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