"We've caused a lot of companies to readdress the male grooming area," says Robert Leger, who as VP-business management for Gillette North Atlantic Group is responsible for all male toiletries in North America and Europe.
During the Series launch, Mr. Leger, 45, was VP-sales and marketing and supervised a $30 million media advertising budget. In one of the key strategic moves, advertising from BBDO Worldwide, New York, kept the then 3-year-old "Best a man can get" theme used to successfully introduce the company's Sensor shaving system.
"Series advertising is very synergistic with Sensor advertising to reinforce Gillette's megabrand strategy," Mr. Leger says, tipping his hat to the individual he refers to as "the father of Gillette Series"-Peter Hoffman, who earned a spot in Advertising Age's first Marketing 100 for Sensor. He's now at Gillette's Braun North America unit.
Series had sales of more than $100 million last year and was among the top 10 best-selling shaving creams in its first month. For the 52 weeks ended March 27, most competitors' shaving cream sales declined while the Series entry reached $17 million, or 6.9% of the market, according to Information Resources Inc.
Gillette is widely credited for expanding male toiletries to skin products for men, with Series' two aftershave skin conditioners. But the star of the line, Mr. Leger notes, is Series' ClearGel antiperspirant/deodorant, sixth in that category last year. Sales reached $32.7 million for the 52 weeks ended April 24, IRI reports.
"We're working hard to leverage the brand so that consumers will look at Gillette as much more than just a male shaving company," says Mr. Leger. "We're [now] in a strong position" to do that.