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Soap Sellers Target Men

April 11, 2007

Like other personal care marketers Colgate is targeting men with launch of its new Irish Spring body wash. Sales of body wash were up 22% last year vs. 2004 to $595 million (excluding Wal-Mart), according to data from Mintel.

Meanwhile, deodorant bar soaps—such as Irish Spring—fell 23% to $240 million in the period, and non-deodorant bars grew just 1.4% to $458 million. Men have become a target for body washes. Last year, there were 51 body washes/shower gels where the maker noted that the product was aimed at men, according to Datamonitor’s Productscan Online database. That’s up from 39 in 2005 and 30 in 2003.

With the bar soap market dissolving, those trying to clean up with body washes for men include: Unilever’s successful Axe brand, which spent $14.6 million in 2006 for shower gel ads, TNS Media Intelligence reports. Almost all of Axe’s marketing is about male sex appeal. Procter & Gamble is giving new life to the venerable Old Spice brand with body washes and ads full of sexual innuendo. It spent $22.6 million on ads in 2006. Henkel launched Dial for Men body wash last year with slogans such as “estrogen-free” and “take back the shower,” and the latest—“maintenance for your mansuit.”

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