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Over-achieving in Underarm Protection



The newest AP/deos do more than fight odor and wetness - they provide skin-caring benefits as well.



Published November 14, 2005
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Over-achieving in Underarm Protection



The newest AP/Deos do more than fight odor and wetness—they provide skin-caring benefits as well.



Veronica MacDonald
Associate Editor


Ultramax uses the power of baking soda to eliminate and absorb body odor.

Consumers don’t traditionally turn up their noses to new underarm products, but last year’s results were dismal. Not including Wal-Mart, antiperspirant/deodorant (AP/deo) sales slipped 2.4% to $1.15 billion in 2002, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago. The market is mature in the States; nearly everyone uses AP/deos. Unit sales also declined 6.1% to $422 million in 2002, despite an influx of new products, many of them touting skin-caring benefits.

Industry executives agree that the primary concern of AP/deo users is odor and wetness protection. But luckily, there is room for improvement. Some male consumers gripe about ineffectiveness, while some female consumers suffer from shaving irritation. Others balk at wearing sleeveless shirts for fear of white residue.

Enter Procter & Gamble, the No. 1 AP/deo vendor with sales of $319 million in 2002, according to IRI. P&G executives said women are concerned with appearance after applying AP/ deos. In fact, 52% of women choose clear gel antiperspirants to protect them from sweat and odor, to avoid the white marks some deodorants leave on black clothing.

“In the past eight months, the antiperspirant category has been very dynamic, because women are now interested in the different benefits that an antiperspirant can deliver,” said Anne-Marie Mingo, Secret brand manager, P&G. “Based on our extensive re-search, we know that women nowadays not only look for the best wetness protection; some of our consumers are very involved with their appearance.”

Colgate’s Mennen Leads AP/deo Market
Mennen and Right Guard, two male-dominated brands, lead the AP/deo market in food, drug and mass merchandisers for the year ended Dec. 29, 2002. Figures do not include Wal-Mart results. All dollar figures are in millions.
Brand $ Sales % Change $ Share Unit Sales
% Change
Mennen 89.7 0.5 7.7 36.5 -3.8
Right Guard 77.1 -13.1 6.7 25.2 -16.2
Degree 70.8 -9.8 6.1 26.9 -14.3
Old Spice Endurance 65.8 18.4 5.7 24.5 13.5
Secret 54.5 -16.3 4.7 20.4 -19.7
Secret Sheer Dry 53.5 -0.4 4.6 23.3 -2.0
Dove 51.9 -8.3 4.5 21.7 -15.6
Secret Platinum 44.6 9.7 3.9 11.8 5.3
Mitchum 41.6 6.6 3.6 11.4 3.1
Ban 41.3 -13.5 3.6 12.6 -17.5
Category Total 1,158.8 -2.4 100.0 422.1 -6.1
Source: Information Resources Inc., Chicago. Wal-Mart sales are not included.

To answer this call, P&G introduced Secret Platinum Protection Clear gel. Secret Platinum is the No. 8 AP/deo brand with 2002 sales up 9.7% to $44.6 million, IRI reported. Secret Platinum Protection Clear gel’s water-in-silicone emulsion contains a water-soluble antiperspirant active that is re-activated to work immediately on contact with skin and does not leave white residue.

The gel is delivered via a metered dosing and delivery system for controlled dispensing and a specialized cap to help maintain product integrity. The packaging also illustrates the formulation’s transparency. “The clear canister with bold silver and holographic labeling highlights the visual character of this clear antiperspirant,” explained P&G’s Ms. Mingo.

Secret Platinum Protection clear gel (above) leaves no residue on dark clothing. Roll-ons (below right) are making a comeback, according to Andrew Jergens.

Secret Platinum Clear gel is available in Mystic Rain, Ocean Breeze, Glacier Mist and Powder Fresh.

Colgate-Palmolive’s new Lady Speed Stick Naturals offers 24-hour protection without residue. This Colgate AP/deo contains 50% moisturizing emollients such as vitamin E, aloe and silk extracts. Executives said women are looking for simpler and more natural beauty solutions. Nearly half of women also feel their skin is sensitive, and 60% said shaving irritation is a problem.

Lady Speed Stick Naturals is available in Soothing with Aloe, Conditioning with Vitamin E and Moisturizing with Silk Extracts.

Soothing Shaving Solutions
Dove created a new category a few years ago with its skin-caring AP/deos. But Secret, the No. 5 brand in 2002, is gaining momentum. Procter & Gamble’s new Secret Skin Renewal focuses on sensitive underarm skin. Experts said shaving makes skin more susceptible to cuts, rashes and skin irritation. Secret Skin Renewal features provitalin, a blend of skin conditioners and vitamins such as wound-healing provitamin B5, vitamin E and petrolatum to renew, protect and condition skin, making it easier to shave. Test results showed women experienced a smoother shave after one week of use. Secret Skin Renewal’s packaging was also designed to convey these skin care results.

“The soft, pearlescent finish helps to communicate the skin benefits and femininity of the product,” said Ms. Mingo. “The shape of the canister is slightly tapered toward the bottom and the cap is oriented and angled with a soft petal floral design.” The labels also have a pearlescence/shininess to convey wetness protection and skin care benefits, she added.

Ban’s Beautifully Smooth formula, introduced just a year ago, helps underarm skin stay conditioned, fresh, dry and smooth using chamomile oil and vitamin E. Executives said it also improves shaving with continued use. Ban is the No. 10 brand with 2002 sales of $41.3 million, according to IRI. “If you use antiperspirant every day, why not let it build up your skin’s tolerance?” asked Connie Weaver, Ban R&D group leader, Andrew Jergens.

The Ban Beautifully Smooth franchise was recently extended with a roll-on that is said to be an ode to vintage 1970s style. Executives noted Andrew Jergens is the leader in roll-on sales, and has the right technology to bring it back to the mainstream. The roll-on features a rotating ball top that evenly applies antiperspirant. “Roll-ons have been coming back into popularity, as we’ve seen with eyeshadows and lip glosses,” said Ms. Weaver.

The active ingredients offer long-lasting wetness and odor protection due to the liquid’s fast absorption, according to executives. Ban Beautifully Smooth roll-on is sold in Fresh Cotton, Petal Bliss and the new Satin Breeze fragrances. They are the three most popular fragrances with women ages 18-30, executives said.

Satin Breeze is described as having top floral green notes underscored with a sheer floral heart. Executives said the fragrance can compliment perfumes such as J’Adore by Dior and Gucci Envy, which also have floral and green fragrance notes.

“Women don’t normally think of antiperspirants as complimenting their scents, but really antiperspirant is another layer of fragrance—it helps create a person’s total scent,” Ms. Weaver insisted.

Ban has also been revamped with pearl packaging and feminine graphics to capture women’s attention. Ms. Weaver maintains that, “the whole program is geared to women, from the graphics and ads to the formulations.”

Done with All-In-Ones
Church & Dwight’s Arrid brand, the No. 13 brand in the mass market with sales of $33.6 million in 2002, is concerned about women’s underarm skin as well, but Arrid’s marketing department is promoting the all-in-one approach to underarm care. The new Arrid Total AP/deo offers four comprehensive benefits: maximum odor and wetness protection, no residue, skin conditioning and no shaving irritation. It’s all made possible by the product’s formula that features vitamin E and ceramides.

“We all try to pack 48 hours into 24 hours,” Laurel Dobalo, senior director of marketing, antiperspirants and deodorants, Church & Dwight. “People want to know an antiperspirant does what it should without having to think about reapplying. All-in-one protection for today’s ultra busy consumer is the epitome of value for women.”

Arrid Total will be sold in invisible and soft solids, which are preferred by women, executives said. The silver packaging enhances Arrid’s metallic elliptical logo.

Soft & Dri and Right Guard Power Caps use odor-fighting capsules to ward off odor and wetness.

Everlasting Endurance
Some consumers, especially men, are concerned with the endurance of a product. Does it last during a basketball game, or throughout a hot date? Last year, a plethora of products targeted the men’s segment, which is considered a growth segment as more men are investing time and money in beauty routines.

Church & Dwight’s Arm & Hammer brand introduced Ultra-max for men last year. The solid AP/deo line uses the power of baking soda to prevent odors and absorb wetness. Arm & Hammer baking soda’s well-known orange shade was also used in the packaging of Ultramax “Baking soda is known for odor elimination,” said Ms. Dobalo. “It’s only natural that it has the same ability to work on the body.”

Ultramax debuted in a wide stick invisible solid, wide stick deodorant, oval stick invisible solid, oval stick regular solid and roll-on. This year, the company will add clear gels to the line in see-through packaging. The fragrances include Fresh, Active Sport and Cool Blast.

Colgate-Palmolive is targeting the men’s AP/deo segment with Speed Stick Power of Nature deodorant, featuring three powerful scents in the preferred stick form, and building on the successful launch of Speed Stick Power of Nature antiperspirant in 2001. The product’s active imagery conveying strength and power speaks to men ages 15-25. Speed Stick was the No. 1 AP/deo brand in 2002 with sales up 0.5% to $89.7 million, according to IRI.

Propylene Glycol-Free Stick from Herbal Care
Herbal Care Systems Inc., Scottsdale, AZ, has made a technological breakthrough in the AP market—removal of propylene glycol from deodorant stick bases. The Herbal Clear PG-Free deodorant stick debuted in February using a proprietary formula for a stable, all-natural, gentle yet strong, effective, non-toxic deodorant stick.

Propylene glycol is a common ingredient in many personal care products; it is also the active component in antifreeze and can agitate skin or be absorbed by the body. Herbal Care Systems, Inc. is an emerging natural personal care products company powered by big thinkers who repeatedly redesign the industry.

Herbal Clear PG-Free Aloe Fresh (with aloe) and PG-Free Shower Fresh (with chamomile) feature a glycerin deodorant stick base formulation that is stable and effective. PG-Free goes on clear and stays clear, offering lasting protection. The new sticks contain the strong bactericidal attributes of natural botanic lichen that is the trademark of all Herbal Clear odor system personal care products, all of which are also 85% organic and free of aluminum, dyes, alcohol. Executives said products are never tested on animals.

“With Herbal Clear PG-Free, we have created the future of mass and natural market deodorants,” said William Grundemann, founder of Herbal Clear, whose innovative thinking brought two previous major advancements in natural deodorant—crystal sticks and lichen bactericidal odor control—to market. “Propylene glycol has never before been successfully removed from a stick deodorant product, yet natural product consumers were begging for this breakthrough, so Herbal Clear had to solve the problem.

“I threw down the gauntlet to our research and development alliance partner, Body Blue, two years ago to ask their chemistry department to produce a propylene glycol-free stick deodorant. I said, ‘You’re the best at sticks; can you make a propylene glycol-free one?’”

“No one in the mass market ever asked us to try to remove propylene glycol from deodorant sticks,” said David Elliott, president and chief executive officer of Body Blue, a leading international personal care products manufacturer based in Toronto, Canada. Body Blue manufactures tens of millions of sticks a year for deodorant and antiperspirant companies and its world-class research and development chemists develop 90% of the products they manufacture. “The people at Herbal Clear are experienced, passionate and knowledgeable about the natural product market. They showed us that there was an unfulfilled demand for a propylene glycol-free deodorant stick and we accepted their challenge.”

Worth the Wait
It took two years and countless trials and failures, but Body Blue’s chemists succeeded in creating a propylene glycol-free stick that is stable, effective, has all the necessary scientific details nailed down and is all-natural. “We applied very strong scientific knowledge to solve a natural product problem and our R&D skills and stick technology produced what Herbal Clear wanted,” stated Mr. Elliott. “It was a great pairing of talents.”

“Enhancing Mother Nature’s Per-fection is our goal at Herbal Care Systems, Inc.,” said Jim Plaza, president and chief executive officer. “Our new, effective, natural personal care products incorporate the latest proprietary raw material technology. The Herbal Clear family of brands continues to offer market niche differentiation, value pricing, superior packaging and formulation quality to meet the stringent demands of today’s consumers.”

Herbal Clear’s revolutionary new PG-Free deodorant sticks retail in accordance with other natural deodorant products at $5.99 for 1.8-oz., a 60-90 day supply. Their attractive packaging visually engages consumers before they even discover the sticks’ unique attributes. The PG-Free line is the flagship of the Herbal Clear all-over body odor control system that now covers 11 products including its Naturally! value line which features the first all-natural deodorants priced below $2, sold in chains nationwide.

“With PG-Free, we at Herbal Clear have achieved our stated goal of creating a complete propylene glycol-free odor elimination system for the whole body from head to foot,” said Mr. Grundemann. PG-Free deodorant sticks complete the lineup started by Herbal Clear’s creation of propylene glycol-free foot and footwear spray and body spray.

“With PG-Free as our flagship, we have become the breakout natural personal care product company,” commented Mr. Plaza. “We are looking into licensing our propylene glycol-free technology to other companies. We perfected a PG-Free deodorant stick that really works, and are the first to bring it to market; we are the ‘good guys’ behind the deodorants that mainstream America will start using in years to come, and we will continue to listen to consumer needs and work to fulfill them.”

Herbal Clear brand Natural deodorant is one of the fastest growing natural deodorants in North America. Herbal Clear deodorant products are available in more than 5,000 stores nationwide, including Target, Eckerd, GNC, Walgreens, Ulta, Whole Foods, Basha’s and Hy-Vee. In addition, Herbal Clear deodorants can be found in fine health stores and natural products catalogs.

Speed Stick Power of Nature deodorant is available in the same three scents as the antiperspirant: Lightning (intense), Avalanche (icy cool) and Cyclone (fresh). Executives said it replaces Speed Stick Ultimate deodorant in the product line.

“Not surprisingly, most young men say odor protection is their No. 1 reason for buying deodorant,” stated Sheila Hopkins, vice president and general manager, Colgate personal care. “But more than 25% will point to fragrance as the most important consideration.”

Speed Stick 24/7, another men’s AP/deo from Colgate, is said to provide long-lasting protection using odor and sweat fighters. Executives said long-lasting odor protection is the No. 1 AP/deo attribute among young men. The packaging has high-impact graphics and a grip-like texture as well as an indented, easy-to-remove cap. Speed Stick 24/7 is available in three scents: Icy Surge, Cool Fusion and Fresh Rush. They are also available in either a clear gel or no-white residue stick.

“Because young men are on the go, it’s important for them to feel confident that their AP/deo is working all day and all night,” noted Ms. Hopkins.

When the Temperature Rises
For some, AP/deos are an integral part of the grooming process and the dating game. Unilever introduced Axe, the No. 1 men’s deodorant brand in the world, to North America in August. The difference between Axe and other deodorants is that Axe can be used as a body odor fighter and cologne. Women cite odor as the No. 1 deal breaker when considering a guy for a date, according to the U.S. Axe Effect survey. Axe comes in six fragrances: Apollo (modern and sexy), Kilo (warm, amber and outdoorsy), Orion (exhilarating), Phoenix (easygoing and sensual), Tsunami (fresh ocean breeze) and Voodoo (oriental and spicy).

“We’ve all experienced how harsh the dating game can be for guys,” noted Diggi Thomson, Axe brand director, North America. “But guys are beginning to realize that grooming is a very effective way to get noticed by girls.”

The Power of Capsules
Gillette, the No. 2 vendor in the mass AP/deo market with more than $229 million in annual sales according to IRI, has discovered another way to keep wetness and body odor at bay. Gillette’s new Soft & Dri Power Caps clear gel AP/deo features a breakthrough technology with suspended odor fighting capsules. The time-released odor control system’s blue capsules work with the body’s chemistry for all-day protection, according to executives. Fragrances include Kissed Peach and Citrus Squeeze. Soft & Dri Power Caps is packaged in a sleek silver container with Caribbean blue accents. The Power Caps technology is available in Right Guard Power Caps AP/deos as well. Right Guard was the No. 2 brand in the U.S. with sales of $77.1 million for the year ended Dec. 29, 2002, according to IRI.

In April, Gillette’s Series antiperspirants and deodorants will be extended with Surf, Breeze and Frost scents. These long-lasting odor and wetness protectors come the forms of Power-Stripe, Clear gel, Clear stick and Invisible solid stick. PowerStripe was introduced last year and the company reported net sales rose 3% in the fourth quarter due to gains by PowerStripe AP/deos in North America.

Color Branding Looks to Icons for Answers
Many New women’s AP/deos share the same color schemes, and according to New York-based brand strategy firm Toniq, they all convey age-old symbols of femininity. Principal Cheryl Swanson offered insights:

1. Silver (Arrid Total, Soft & Dri Power Caps, Secret Platinum): “Silver is associated with the moon; the moon effects the cycles of the earth (tides, etc) and it’s cyclical nature on a monthly basis is consistent with femininity.”

2. Clear caps (Secret Platinum Clear gel, Secret Skin Renewal, Ban, Ultra-max): “Clear is neither male or female in a general sense...it’s use now is driven by visual trends in the past several years toward clarity. In the context of AD/deos it has become a gender cue for “’female’...additionally a clear cap allows women to see the product, while reinforcing the idea of ‘clean,’ ‘clear’ and ‘free of residue.’”

3. Pearl (Dove, Ban Beautifully Smooth roll-on): “Pearl, like silver, is associated with the feminine principle because pearls are of the waters and the waters, as ‘giver of all life,’ are the primary symbol of femininity. Pearls are also known for their smoothness; they are not ‘hard’ like other precious gems, such as diamonds or sapphires.” For instance, Venus was said to have been born of the waters and carried to shore in a pearl shell.

The Whole Package
Natural product maker Tom’s of Maine, Kennebunk, ME, isn’t keeping environmental responsibility at arm’s length. Its recyclable deodorant packages recently debuted on supermarkets and natural food store shelves. Executives said deodorant sticks use a complex mixture of plastics that prevent leakage during hot filling and allow the stick to slide when cool, although some components cannot be recycled. All Tom’s of Maine deodorants now use HDPE No. 2 and PP No. 5 for the fill capacity and elevator mechanism. Executives said the packages can be recycled as PP No. 5. If that is not possible, Tom’s of Maine asks consumers to return the bottles to the company’s headquarters.

“Our mission calls us for us to be distinctive in products, and policies that honor and sustain our natural world,” stated Tom Chappell, Tom’s of Maine co-founder and president.

Tom’s of Maine also recently updated its logo to better reflect the company’s natural, efficacious message. The statement, “Working with nature to make a difference” now appears on all packaging with the logo, as well as full-color herbal photography.

Speed Stick Power of Nature’s active imagery appeals to men ages 15-25.

The Big Picture
The struggling AP/deo category isn’t doing so badly. First of all, almost everyone uses and consumers continue to buy AP/deos. There has also been a great deal of new product development recently to attract men and soothe women’s skin. This is amazing in such a utilitarian segment. Church & Dwight’s Ms. Dobalo said it best: “It’s amazing how much is going on in the category, especially considering what it is.”

Industry experts agree that AP/deo skin care benefits and fragrances are only secondary to odor protection, but not in terms of marketing to consumers. These extras are exactly what entice them. “We are starting to see that taking care of this skin as a part of the whole routine,” explained Andrew Jergens’ Ms. Weaver. “Your underarm speaks for you.” Antiperspirants help to convey this message along with extra benefits too.



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