Innovative blade design

Wilkinson intros Protector systemFour years after Gillette successfully sliced through the brand clutter with the launch of its powerhouse Sensor brand wet shaving system, Warner-Lambert Canada is trying to accomplish a similar feat with Wilkinson Sword Protector.Wilkinson Sword first launched Protector...

Wilkinson intros Protector system

Four years after Gillette successfully sliced through the brand clutter with the launch of its powerhouse Sensor brand wet shaving system, Warner-Lambert Canada is trying to accomplish a similar feat with Wilkinson Sword Protector.

Wilkinson Sword first launched Protector two years ago in Europe.

The product’s chief selling point is an innovative blade design featuring thin wiring bound over the blade edges to guard against facial cuts.

Introducing it here

Last year, Warner-Lambert inherited the brand when it bought the Wilkinson Sword business in Europe and North America, and now the company is in the midst of introducing Protector on this continent.

The Canadian division of Warner-Lambert has been first off the mark with a product rollout that began in January.

On March 7, it followed the rollout with the launch of a national tv campaign that includes a 30-second image spot running on network tv and direct-response spots crafted for The Sports Network, MuchMusic and their French-language equivalents, Reseau des sports and MusiquePlus.

Jean Laverdure, director of sales and marketing for Warner-Lambert’s Shaving Products division, says Protector represents Wilkinson Sword’s first new product designed to compete head on with Gillette’s incredibly successful Sensor brand.

Laverdure says he hopes the brand will sell strongly among men who want a razor that gives ‘as close a shave as anything on the market.’

Protector, which incorporates a stylish red, contoured handle, is being positioned globally as offering the ‘safest wet shave ever.’

Tough combat

As it tries to shave off a piece of the razor pie for itself, Protector doubtless will run into tough hand-to-hand combat with Gillette Sensor.

Since its launch four years ago, Sensor, which was relaunched in the fall as SensorExcel, has powered its way to 25% of the Canadian wet razor market.

Gillette markets SensorExcel under its ‘the best a man can get theme,’ which is also the positioning statement the company uses for its new Gillette brand line of men’s toiletries.

$120 million annually

According to Nielsen Marketing Research, Canadians spend about $120 million annually on disposable razors and razor systems.

Razor systems account for about 60% of total sales in dollars, with disposables accounting for about 35%, and double-edged blades accounting for about 5%.

Gillette says it will back SensorExcel with $3 million worth of media advertising in 1994.

Laverdure says Protector will be supported by tv advertising throughout the year, but he declines to reveal budget figures.