Men’s grooming: after the shave

Things are getting crowded in the men’s grooming aisle.

Things are getting crowded in the men’s grooming aisle.
It started in January with Dove Men+Care promoting “shower tools” to men who feel comfortable in their own skin, via messaging aimed at guys, but definitely also women-friendly. Skewing younger and with a more “bro” voice, last month brother brand Axe added a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner and a styling pomade to its year-old hair care line. The new “Hair Action” platform, a refresh of the Axe Hair “girl-approved” strategy, is about getting girls all up in dudes’ dos.
“Our strategy is to give guys reasons to care about hair care,” says Greg Major, brand building manager, Axe, Unilever Canada, adding that Axe also launched two new body washes and three new deodorants in January. “We know that connecting with girls plays a major part in [the target’s] life, so by helping him look good that’s what Axe Hair is doing and ‘Hair Action’ is a really compelling way to engage him.”


Over at P&G, with tongue also firmly in cheek, Old Spice’s new “Smell like a man, man” platform for its body washes spawned a commercial that’s become an internet sensation since launching in the U.S. in February. Former pro footballer Isaiah Mustafah speaks directly to women – a nod to their influence on men’s grooming purchases – wearing only a towel, arguing that their men could smell like him if they stopped using girly-smelling body washes. Old Spice also recently unveiled a new line of antiperspirants named after places. One in particular, called Matterhorn, touts the benefits of smelling like a successful mountain. (Check it out in the Global section of Stimulantonline.ca.)
Old Spice’s brother brand, Gillette, is also joining the skin care frenzy with the Gillette Fusion ProSeries line of scrub, face wash and cooling lotion to match the latest razor, the Gillette Fusion ProGlide, set to hit shelves in June. Gillette continues to talk tech to guys, driving its primary point of differentiation (innovations that work for guys in the ways they want them to), however, the macho brand is also attempting to get more emotional.
“We try to explain to guys how [our products] work, but we’ve also realized that we have to make an emotional connection to make this a brand that they care about,” says Robb Hadley, category brand manager, male grooming, P&G Canada.
Hadley cites the current campaign as an example of the new messaging mix – while touting the benefits of Gillette’s new Odour Shield technology in its body washes, it also adds a bit of humour by identifying the manly smells it helps to shield.


All of this activity isn’t dampening the enthusiasm of other men’s groomers like L’Oréal. Biotherm Homme enlisted Chris Noth of Sex and the City fame to be the exclusive Canadian pitchman for the recently released Force Supreme Re-Builder anti-aging tool for men, in a move to appeal to les femmes (The Good Wife) and les hommes (Law & Order).
“Chris manages to create a bond with his audience, remaining accessible and relatable to both men and women equally,” says Marie-Josée Lamothe, VP/GM, Biotherm North America. Ads in male and female-skewing magazines start in June with online including a viral component targeting women.
Biotherm Homme is also launching Force, its first men’s fragrance, in July, targeting men over 25. Everything about the product conveys strength and empowerment; the packaging is shaped like a dumbbell. A viral effort and iPhone app will support sampling, backed by a national media campaign.