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A Masculine Approach: AP/Deos Target Men



The antiperspirant/deodorant market is developing niches to satisfy men and women and their special needs.



Published November 10, 2005
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With sales slipping, marketers of antiperspirants and deodorants are aggressively targeting male consumers. Products on supermarket shelves are largely targeted to men using masculine scents and bold packaging. And though men's market is being flooded by new offerings, especially targeted to young men, the women's AP/deo market is seeing similar additions this year in terms of fragrances, updated formulas and novel applications, but at a much lower rate.

For the year ended Dec. 30, mass market sales of antiperspirants and deodorants dipped 2.1% to nearly $1.2 billion, according to Information Resources Inc., Chicago. However, that total does not include Wal-Mart's re-sults. At the same time unit sales have slipped 5.6% to just under 450 million units.

"There has been more of a shift in the market for AP/deo technology for men," said Mark Davis, principal researcher, beauty care R&D, Procter & Gamble. "The percentage has been growing over time. There are very few deodorants on the market for women in comparison."

P&G released items this year under its Old Spice brand, mainly to target young males and offer residue-free application to the underarm area.

The Old Spice Clear gel and aerosol were launched last month to meet the needs of men who prefer these AP/deo forms. The Clear gel in particular is designed to dry quickly and leave no residue in the underarm area, a feat that is difficult to achieve considering men's underarm hair. Old Spice Red Zone was specifically introduced in 2000 for just that problem, featuring a mesh applicator that gets the product past underarm hair and on to the skin. The Clear gel uses similar technology.

"Low residue technology has become increasingly important in the last few years," said Mr. Davis. "The active ingredient in the Clear gel is an improved aluminum zirconium salt. Other improvements have been made in terms of spreading on the skin which is critical to achieving wetness protection by covering the entire underarm."

Old Spice has targeted male teens with new fragrances and forms

Old Spice has also changed its image in the past decade to target the younger male population-and it's worked. According to P&G, Old Spice is used by one in four teens ages 12-19, and more than 2 million men between the ages of 20-25. Older men continue to use these products as well, making Old Spice the No. 6 brand in U.S. AP/deo market, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago.

"Changing the clipper image to a yacht in 1992 was P&G's first focus to make Old Spice a more broadly appealing brand," noted Mr. Davis. "Old Spice also reinvented itself with new fragrances such as Pure Sport and Mountain Rush, which were targeted to appeal to teens."

Last month, Old Spice launched a product in the ever-increasing disposable towel arena-Old Spice Cool Contact Refreshment towels. They are designed to handle the rough and tough lifestyle of men, while at the same time deliver a refreshing, clean feeling by removing sweat and odor-causing bacteria from the body. "Men have actively been searching for towels such as these," insisted Mr. Davis. "The Cool Contact towels were designed for men with a large size and durability-they do not pill on a beard or stubble."

Anglo-Dutch consumer products group Unilever is the company behind many AP/deo brands in the U.S. such as Degree, Suave and Dove. In the past year, the company began reducing its 1,600 brands to just 400, focusing on food, home and personal care products. But this hasn't stopped new entries into the AP/deo market, as the company strives to strengthen its personal care portfolio, while at the same time unveil new niches in the market.

"New initiatives are based on fulfilling a consumer need, as a result of consumer insight," noted Esther Lem, vice president, deodorant brand development, Unilever Home & Personal Care (HPC) North America, Greenwich, CT. "Each line has particular brand attributes that help these brands stand out in the category."

Degree, originally launched in 1990 as a unisex brand, ranks No. 3 in the U.S. mass market for the year ended Dec. 30, 2001, according to IRI. This month, Degree will introduce the first AP/deo targeted just for men, and specifically men under the age of 30. The product, Degree Body-Heat Activated gel, satisfies a growing trend in the market the company is striving to fill. Company research found that 70% of gel users are men and 25% of men prefer gel to other AP/deo forms.

"In recent years, gels have grown into the second largest form of AP/deo among men," said Ms. Lem. "With consumer insight in mind, we developed Degree's gel to deliver on the brand's body-heat activated promise while expanding Unilever's male antiperspirant and deodorant portfolio."

Degree is also offering three new fragrances in 2002 in the gel form-Exhilaration, Cool Rush and Stamina. An ad campaign will begin next month. Degree Body-Heat Activated gel retails for $2.39 in a 3-oz. package.

Upscale men's line Zirh recently launched Zirh Fragranced deodorant. This deodorant was an extension of a new Zirh fragrance and largely a response to consumer demand. "Customers wanted a light scent in their deodorant rather than a heavy, sweet scent," explained Brian Rob-inson, president of Zirh, a Shiseido division located in New York, NY. Zirh Fragranced deodorant is also alcohol-free and is targeted for the more health-conscious man.

The new Degree AP/deo gel is aimed at men under the age of 30.

The development of the Zirh fragranced deodorant was part of a shift Zirh executives noticed in the marketplace. "Going forward in mass and prestige, the focus will be on efficacy and scent," Mr. Robinson said. "The key to growing the category from our standpoint is really how to get a mass customer to become a prestige customer. There really are three issues-quality of the product, appeal of scent and inclusion in sets."

Zirh plans to further extend its AP/deo sights with a fragranced antiperspirant. This product in not expected to roll out until 2003.

Zirh recently introduced a store-within-a-store concept in Bloomingdale's Beverly Center store. For the first time, customers will be able to purchase Zirh products at a stand-alone, Zirh skin care counter. The installation is a natural progression for Zirh, which experienced a triple digit increase in sales in Bloomingdale's last year, executives said. Zirh is sold in fine department stores in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The Zirh Fragranced deodorant debuted in the men's prestige category.

Residue's Not Welcome
The million-dollar question in the industry is "if the active ingredients in antiperspirants are white, how can formulators develop a clear antiperspirant?" Colgate-Palmolive thinks it has the answer. The company's new Lady Speed Stick Clean Glide, launched in February, took six years to develop through an exclusive joint venture with Dow Corning. According to IRI, Speed Stick AP/deos were the No. 1 brand in the U.S. at $89.3 million, for the year ended Dec. 30, 2001.

The product, executives said, combines the dry protection of a stick with the clarity of a gel. Lady Speed Stick Clean Glide utilizes translucent ingredients yet has the appearance of a traditional white stick. AC Nielsen reported premium-priced products have been driving dollar growth in the market, indicating consumers are willing to pay more for value-added benefits. The "no residue" stick in particular is the No. 1 female AP/deo form, garnering 38% of the segment, according to AC Nielsen. Colgate research also revealed 80% of women said they experience residue on their clothing and 91% on their skin.

"Current products force women to choose between benefits," stated Sheila Hopkins, vice president and general manager, U.S. personal care. "Sticks offer strong protection but leave some residue on clothing. Gels go on clear but they feel sticky on the skin and do not deliver strong protection."

The new packaging for Lady Speed Stick Clean Glide features eye-catching silver metallic accents, a clear cap that says "Revolutionary clear powerful protection" and a new purple pearlized barrel and screw. Lady Speed Stick Clean Glide is available in a 2.4-oz. size in Powder Soft, Sunset Breeze and Satin Bouquet variants, and costs $2.74. A $10 million advertising campaign is supporting the launch.

Along the same lines, Colgate-Palmolive introduced the new Speed Stick Power of Nature in July for young men ages 15-25. The AP/deo offers 24-hour sweat and odor protection and no white residue, executives said.

Colgate said the largest growth opportunity in the category is for young males ages 15-17. These young men are more involved with their appearance and personal care routine than the general population and are driving growth of the male AP/deo category. Company research shows that 54% of teens start using an AP/deo before age 13.

Colgate's Lady Speed Stick Clean Glide gives women residue-free application.

"Young males want products that let them showcase their unique interests, lifestyles and tastes," Ms. Hopkins said in a statement. "They want products that are adult-like in their utility but that are youth-oriented in their design and marketing."

Young males are specifically looking for efficacy (hence the no-residue technology), fragrance and a trusted brand when choosing an AP/deo, according to Colgate data. Speed Stick is already the No. 1 brand among 15-24 year-old males, executives insisted.

The antiperspirants are available in three long-lasting fragrances inspired by the forces of nature in both an antiperspirant stick and a clear gel form: Lightning (an intense, full strength scent), Avalanche (an icy cool scent) and Cyclone (an enduring, fresh scent). Executives said men can choose which fragrance describes them the best. The AP/deos are packaged in viv-id, youth-oriented designs and colors.

Speed Stick Power of Nature gel is available in a 3-oz. size for $2.69. Speed Stick Power of Nature AP/deo stick is available in a 2.7-oz. size and also costs $2.69. In August, Colgate-Palmolive discontinued six older Speed Stick variants. More than $40 million for ads supported the introduction of Speed Stick Power of Nature.

Boston-based Gillette, the No. 2 AP/deo vendor with annual sales of $234.7 million according to IRI, has reintroduced Gillette Series, highlighting reformulated shave gels, foams, after-shave gels, lotions, splashes and AP/deos. The new products are set to debut next month. Last year, Gillette Series AP/deos had sales of $46.3 million and ranked No. 9, IRI reported. Executives said the new AP/deos deliver long-lasting odor and wetness protection with advanced technology. Variety is also key, as the company has introduced several new AP/deo forms and fragrances.

The new AP/deos include Power Stripe, Clear gel, Clear stick and Invisible Solid stick. Power Stripe, the star product, features innovative scents Surf, Breeze and Frost. The Clear gel, Clear stick and Invisible Solid stick are available in the traditional Gillette Series fragrances: Cool Wave, Wild Rain, Pacific Light and Arctic Peak.

Gillette relaunched Series and reformulated the AP/deos.

"The new Gillette Series features improved product formulations, high-tech packaging and proprietary technology which together enhance performance," stated Peter K. Hoffman, president, Gillette grooming products.

The Gillette Series Power Stripe features a breakthrough odor control system that is concentrated into a distinctive blue stripe. Executives insisted the formulation goes on clear with no residue. It also features a strong anti-wetness ingredient to keep men's underarms dry. The Power Stripe AP/deos have clear caps to spotlight the blue stripe and light-reflective graphics to highlight the products' benefits. Available in food, mass and drug stores, the new Gillette Series
AP/deos will retail between $2.49-2.99.

Takeovers and Makeovers
Not only have there been improvements to lines targeted to men, but there have also been acquisitions and makeovers of existing lines. Princeton, NJ-based Church & Dwight Co., Inc., makers of Arm & Hammer (A&H) AP/deos, acquired Carter-Wallace's consumer products business, for $739 million in October. Part of the acquisition included Carter-Wallace's antiperspirant brand, Arrid. Church & Dwight was the No. 9 vendor in 2001, according to IRI. Carter-Wallace came in at No. 5.

"We are very pleased to be adding strength to our personal care product line, bringing it to the same level as our household products business," said Robert A. Davies, III, chairman and chief executive officer of Church & Dwight in a statement.

Church & Dwight's AP/deo sales fell 11.3% last year. Executives attributed the decline to reduced advertising and promotional spending, and fewer new product launches. But the company's forecast for this year is much brighter. A&H is re-staging its entire line to target men. Company research revealed that products targeted to men continue to gain share, and are currently up 1.3 share points in the category.

A&H will utilize yellow packaging to leverage its 150-year baking soda heritage. Improved pricing, upgraded formulas, improved fragrances, and a 36-hour power claim will all contribute to the re-launch, executives said.

Church & Dwight's Arrid is building on the strength of its leading forms with new fragrance introductions. Bolstering Arrid's position as the No. 1 antiperspirant spray, the brand is introducing Wild Breeze scent to the aerosol form, executives said. The scent was first introduced in the Arrid Ultra Clear Solid line 2001 and has performed well. In addition, Arrid is building on the success of shower/water-themed scents in the Ultra Clear Solid line with a new Aqua Essence scent. Aqua Essence is said to be a contemporary, clean, and light scent targeted to both men and women.

In support of these new products, advertising will return to the brand's heritage campaign of "get a little closer." A new commercial begins airing this month.

Fragrances to Suit Every Armpit

Finding just the right fragrance for the underarm area has become increasingly important to consumers. In fact nearly a year ago, Secret introduced three new attitude-based scents: Ambition (exotic fruity floral), Opt-imism (fresh rain and spring air) and Genuine (oxygen, white flowers and amber). P&G research found that 53% of women consider themselves "scent seekers." The new Secret fragrances are designed to inspire an "emotional or experiential connection," since research suggests there is a strong correlation between scents and mood. Secret is the No. 1 AP/deo for women according to P&G.

"We are offering women more choices so they can really choose the scent that is best for them in terms of attitude," said P&G's Mr. Davis. "Based on consumer research, women want to express themselves in the scent they wear. They want to find a fragrance to fit their personal style."

The new fragrances were launched under Secret's Sheer Dry and Platinum lines. Secret is also set to upgrade its Secret Sheer Dry this spring with a formula that is milder, provides better protection and is more efficacious, according to executives .

In February, Secret and YouthStream Media Networks launched the "Secret to Self-Esteem: Teen Esteem Tour," a six-week tour designed to teach young women about the importance of self-esteem. The tour took place in shopping malls around the country and activities included a rock-climbing wall, an "expression wall" where girls can write inspirational messages, a live DJ, pop sensation Christina Milian, photo stations and other programs designed to foster confidence and strength.

Ban, a brand Andrew Jergens acquired from Chattem in 2000, is gearing up for major changes to create a more streamlined lineup. Ban Naturals is the first to go and more cuts will come later this year. Jergens is also set to unveil new Ban packaging. The brand's color scheme will remain the same, but will have more contemporary images, executives said.

Unilever repositioned its Suave AP/deos into the Naturals, Silky Smooth and Performance Series lines to give consumers a clear choice when purchasing AP/deos

"We are rationalizing the brand to create a more efficient set of products," explained P.J. Katien, senior brand manager, Andrew Jergens Company, Cincinnati, OH. "In April and May, we will launch new packaging and reduce the number of SKUs."

As for product introductions, Ban will launch Ban Beautifully Smooth AP/deo targeted specifically to women ages 18-30 with new, feminine fragrances. Mr. Katien noted that this area of the market is just starting to take flight.

"Ultimately, the market will see extra-added benefits and a move away from generic unisex fragrances," Mr. Katien said. "There will be significant changes in fragrance as the general market shifts and deodorants will follow this shift."

Other market trends, Mr. Katien insisted, should be based on a true technological advantage, such as no residue, and targeting the female population. "Successful brands will also capitalize on new technology to hit home with more female consumers," he said.

Unilever's Suave Naturals, a Suave sub-line, has introduced a new fragrance for consumers who desire nature-inspired fragrances, Pacific Breeze. The Naturals line was introduced in 2000 to provide odor and wetness protection as effective as Suave Invisible solids. Pacific Breeze is described as an invigorating, ocean-fresh fragrance. The Suave Naturals formulas contain vitamin E and baking soda and do not leave white residue on the skin, executives insisted.

"In its Naturals line, Suave offers a wide range of nature-inspired fragrances, again responding to consumer insight," noted Ms. Lem.

In other news, Suave is re-staging its AP/deo products to offer consumers three sub-lines: Silky Smooth, Perfor-mance Series and Naturals, to offer consumers the same benefits as more expensive brands at a lower price. Accompanying the re-launch is new and updated packaging, such has blue canisters for the Silky Smooth and Performance Series sub-lines. The Naturals line retains its cream canister, but features a blue lid to remain consistent with the other sub-lines. Executives said the sub-lines are due to hit shelves this month.

Underarms Need Skin Care Too
Dove AP/deo, the No. 5 brand in the U.S. according to IRI, is one of the most recent entries into the market that has experienced tremendous success. Uni-lever capitalized on the success of Dove soap, targeting women with the introduction of Dove AP/deo in 2000. One out of every three households in the U.S. in 2000 uses a Dove product, according to AC Nielsen.

"Dove is the world's fastest-growing skin care brand and a leading equity in Unilever's brand portfolio worldwide," said Ms. Lem. "Dove is the first antiperspirant that takes care of your skin and provides dryness protection."

In January, Dove launched Dove Body Refreshers, pre-moistened, lightly scented sheets to offer women effective refreshment and moisturization with one wipe. The wipes are designed to appeal to women ages 25-49 and do not contain alcohol.

In an effort to reach its target audience, Unilever and Bally Total Fitness entered into a co-marketing agreement last July to promote Unilever's Dove brand. The agreement includes a wide variety of marketing, promotional and sponsorship activities for female members such as complimentary group fitness classes and branded apparel. Additionally, Unilever will receive 50 one-year Bally all-club memberships and two million two-week trial memberships for use in promotions.

Natural Odor Fighters
Burt's Bees, Durham, NC, hasn't introduced anything new this year in the AP/deo sector. In fact, the company introduced its Farmer's Friend Herbal deodorant in 1999. But last year's sales more than doubled for the product. Main ingredients include the natural and odor-fighting essential oils of sage, lavandin and lemon that reduce the bacterial content on the skin-the main culprit of body odor.

"Those who seek alternatives have rejected the notion that we must not sweat," said Chuck Friedman, scientific director, Burt's Bees, Durham, NC. "It is a normal bodily function, but these consumers are also not comfortable with inherent human odors. Essential oils tend to have antimicrobial properties. Our objective is to re-odorize and knock back the microorganism content on the underarm."

Mr. Friedman noted there was a big push for antiperspirants when aluminum chlorohydrate and zirconium salts came onto the scene in the 1970s. And many consumers today feel it is inappropriate to have hints of sweat on the body. "Those who use antiperspirants have acclimated to the fact that the appearance of sweat is inappropriate," explained Mr. Friedman. Burt's Bees is sold around the world, including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.

Selph, a Los Angeles-based company for pregnant women, was launched last June to cater to the needs of women and their sensitive and susceptible skin during pregnancy. This segment of the population is expanding, as the country prepares for a baby boomlet following the terrorist attacks of September 11, much like the baby boom after World War II, according to owner Una Cassidy. "In tough times, people decide to make major life-changing decisions," Ms. Cassidy observed.

Selph recently launched Dreamy deodorant, a light liquid deodorant that replaces aluminum chlorohydrate and alcohol ingredients with a mild antibacterial agent and lavender oil to keep the skin fresh and scented throughout the day. Body temperature rises during pregnancy due to hot flashes and increased circulation.

Selph, a line for pregnant women, introduced the light Dreamy deodorant.

"The benefits of the Dreamy deodorant spray is that it does not contain alcohol or aluminum, it is colorless and therefore does not stain clothing and in its liquid form, it quickly absorbs into the skin," said Ms. Cassidy.

Ms. Cassidy, whose motto is, "Des-peration is the mother of invention," said most lines for women only offer at most one or two personal care SKUs for pregnant women. Upscale products were severely lacking in the market. And since most mothers today are having babies later on, between the ages of 35-40, they are career women and often have a disposable income, Ms. Cassidy discerned. The line-from its clean and simple graphics to its portability-was designed for the modern mother.

"The packages cater to busy and practical women with travel sizes, secure caps and non-breakable containers," Ms. Cassidy said.

The company plans to expand its popular fragranced lines, such as the Serafina baby powder fragrance, in the near future. Dreamy deodorant retails for $16.50 in a 4-oz. spray bottle.

Selph recently launched www. myselph.com. Products can be found at Henri Bendel, Pea in a Pod, Brown's Apothecary & Co. and several other specialty boutiques.

Is Bigger Better?
Another factor changing in AP/deo market is the size of containers. With fears of recession lingering, more consumers are opting for value-sized AP/deos, according to AC Nielsen. P&G recently introduced larger AP/deo sizes in club stores where people actively seek value products, Procter & Gamble executives said. These sizes are about two-tenths larger than those sold in supermarket stores.

"The market has trended towards larger sizes and this segment is recording the best volume growth right now," said P&G's Mr. Davis.

Executives from Unilever HPC North America noted that manufacturers across the board are expanding their large-sized offerings while eliminating some smaller sizes. Pretty soon petite may be obsolete. But whatever the next trend to hit the AP/deo market, it will no doubt take the consumer's perception into consideration, either in terms of size, scent or performance.


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