Sweat It Out

March 5, 2007

The Ap/Deo market has found a lucrative niche in the spray category but where does that leave traditional formats?

Sweat It Out

The Ap/Deo market has found a lucrative niche in the spray category but where does that leave traditional formats?

LaToyah Burke
Associate Editor

Marketers of antiperspirants/deodorants seem to live in a land of spray believe. Advertisements insist that a man can create a mystifying effect by using a body spray. These deodorant body sprays not only squelch odor, but they also make women go crazy, according to advertisements. Not unlike the commercials that accompany them, the deodorant spray category has generated the most excitement in the U.S.

Axe Clix helps guys click with girls.
The sector is responsible for a 1.2% gain in the antiperspirant/deodorant market, according to Euromonitor International, Chicago IL. Some of the more traditional formats such as roll-ons and creams have flat sales, but sales of sticks are expected to rise 1%.

“Deodorant sprays continued to be the largest subsector, while formats with less penetration, such as sticks, creams and wipes failed to take off,” said Virginia Lee, analyst at Euromonitor International.

In a crowded and very competitive category, AP/Deo branding is more important than ever. Recently, the female brands in the category have focused on messages that tout functional benefits, such as non-residue or strong performance against odor and wetness. In contrast, men’s brands have been segmented based on the personality of the user such as hip, club-goers or real guys.

According to Information Resources Inc., the top individual brands of deodorant include Degree, Secret Platinum, Old Spice, Secret, Dove and Right Guard. Coming in at No. 10 was Axe’s dry deodorant, with sales of nearly $40 million in the past year.

With sales of $500 million, Procter & Gamble is the No. 1 player in the $1.1 billion AP/Deo segment.

IRI data includes results from food, drug and mass merchandisers, excluding Wal-Mart.

Axed, Tagged, RGX’d

Axe Clix is a new scent that is supposed to represent a clicking point in male/female interaction. The clicking point can be intense eye contact or a subtle smile—whenever a guy clicks or connects with a girl. The ads even purport “new Axe Clix helps guys click with more girls.”

Axe Clix is a blend of cranberry, rhubarb and green citrus combined with a deep wood scent. It is available in a 12oz. shower gel, 4oz. deodorant body spray, 3oz. dry deodorant and 2.7oz. antiperspirant/deodorant. Axe retails for $3.99.

Unilever’s Axe and its follower, P&G’s Tag, targets the guy who focuses on getting the girl. This is evident in the positioning associated with these two popular brands. Guy uses spray and gets many—if not all—the girls.

Degree's focus is on efficacy and performance.
But not every new spray carries the guy-gets-girl scenario. Right Guard was the first company to introduce the aerosol antiperspirant, a sector that was made popular in the 1960s and 1970s.  RGX Body Spray from Right Guard is a new product that attempts to differentiate itself from the other major players in the market. With the launch of RGX, Dial hopes to reach a new group of men with a more mature approach and less juvenile positioning. RGX ads feature a confident young man who wants to take the next step in life, as opposed to the boy seeking to attract aggressive girls.

“Its unique product packaging makes RGX standout in the body spray category,” according to Stephen Koven, brand manager of marketing for RGX. “Reinforcing the RGX bottle is a brushed aluminum casing and contemporary lines that create an understated yet aggressive presentation.”
Mr. Koven also noted, “the body spray segment was the growth driver in the category the last few years, but that growth slowed dramatically in 2006. This created the right moment for Right Guard to step up and breathe new life into a segment that is characterized by one-dimensional product positioning and brand-user imagery.”

Already a major player in other formats, Right Guard Sport deodorants claimed the No. 6 spot in sales according to IRI, with approximately $57 million.

Many consumers reject current body spray offerings due to their overpowering fragrances. RGX seeks to bring growth back to the body spray category with mature positioning, packaging and a set of fragrances that stay with the man who wears it, instead of diffusing throughout the room, according to Mr. Koven. RGX is available in Chill, Rush, Surge and Refresh.

Before There Was Spray

Gender segmentation continues to be a focal point in the AP/Deo market. It has contributed to the market’s efforts to generate excitement and interest in more traditional formats such as antiperspirants/deodorants, roll-ons and sticks.

To appeal to women, for example, more brands include skin caring benefits. Unilever’s newest entry in AP/Deo is Dove Ultimate Clear deodorant, which is made with 1/4 translucent moisturizers. Dove claims that the antiperspirant/deodorant provides care for underarm skin by reducing irritation caused by shaving to create softer, smoother underarms in five days. Of course, the product also provides 24-hour odor and wetness protection.

Tom's deodorant is improved with hops.
Dove Ultimate Clear is an invisible solid available in Cool Essential, Radiant Silk, Fresh, Powder and Original Clean scents. There is also a sensitive skin formula, which is scent-free. The new Smooth Cashmere scent is a fragrance that includes Jasmine, Peach and Vanilla.

Secret has its own formula for dealing with a woman’s sensitive underarm skin. Secret Platinum & Olay Conditioners is an antiperspirant and deodorant that improves the condition of underarm skin over time with a unique combination of conditioners and pro-vitamins B5, E and petrolatum.
Serving as a way to treat underarm skin that needs special attention due to being delicate, sensitive, curvy and bumpy, Secret with Olay Conditioners makes skin smoother and more even-toned in 14 days. It is available in soft and invisible solid forms.

Other female AP/Deo brands continue to focus on functional benefits such as no residue or strong performance against odor and wetness. Dial found that with its Soft & Dri brand, women prefer more emotional brand positioning. Rudy Vetter, vice president of marketing, Soft & Dri explained, “the focus on functional benefits in the women’s segment of the category has resulted in fairly low loyalty among consumers, as women often bounce between brands searching for an AP/Deo that does something better.”

Dial found that women respond to a more emotional brand positioning. This led to the repositioning of Soft & Dri antiperspirant/deodorants. Consumers have responded positively to the brand’s new pink and black package.

“Because the 30-something women who are most interested in Soft & Dri enjoy doing things that help them feel sexy for their significant others, we realized that Soft & Dri could be part of what makes these women feel sexy,” said Mr. Vetter. The launch of Soft & Dri Conditioning Silk is also part of the brand’s repositioning. The sub-line is targeted to help soothe skin after shaving and provides the trusted odor and wetness protection of Soft & Dri. It is available in two variants—Touch of Aloe and Soft Cashmere.

According to Euromonitor Inter-national, U.S. AP/Deo sales will be relatively flat through 2010. The forecast indicates that by 2011, retail sales values will increase from $2.3 billion in 2006 to approximately $2.4 billion for an overall CAGR of less than 1%; roll-ons will decline, while sprays will experience the most growth at 1.2%.

It seems that the pressure driving consumers to trade-up the market will increase in the long run. This is most likely due to a competitive market, as well as growing maturity in developed markets. “Manufacturers will need to prevent commoditization by driving consumers to trade up to more sophisticated offerings,” said Ms. Lee.

New Additions

Amidst all the excitement surrounding body sprays, demand for sticks and creams continues to fall. Additions and innovations to existing products are breathing life into some of the popular brands, but sales are relatively flat.

Tom’s of Maine has  recently improved its deodorant offerings. By making them longer lasting, with the addition of hops as an ingredient, Tom’s of Maine natural deodorant now has more powerful odor-fighting properties. The deodorant stick and roll-on fight odor three ways—hops inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria, zinc ricinoleate binds up odor molecules and fragrance blocks odor. The antimicrobial action of hops slows down the increase of odor-causing bacteria while reducing the possibility of skin irritation. Sourced from castor beans, zinc ricinoleate traps and absorbs odor. The natural fragrances of apricot, organic lavender or organic lemongrass help make the deodorant last longer.
Hops replaces lichen in the Tom’s of Maine formula. According to the company, some consumers had an adverse reaction to lichen. “Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant with Hops continues our 37 year commitment to innovating with new ingredients and producing highly effective products entirely sourced from nature,” said Tom Chappell, chief executive officer and co-founder of Tom’s of Maine.

The advantage of formulating with hops is that it is a more sustainable, renewable ingredient. It is a fast-growing perennial plant, whereas lichen—when harvested in large scale—may not be sustainable since it takes long to regrow.

Right Guard is also differentiating its men’s brand of odor and wetness protection. Right Guard launched Right Sport MAX, the biggest deodorant stick in the market. According to Mr. Koven, “loyal users of Right Guard deodorants requested this format, which will deliver the well proven performance in a new form.” The new big stick is available in two variants, Rush and Surf.

Certain Dri has designed to combat excessive perspiration without the need for a prescription formula. The Certain Dri Protection System includes an antiperspirant and deodorant. The Certain Dri Anti-Perspirant Roll-On is the strongest antiperspirant available at stores without a prescription for the elimination of excessive underarm perspiration. To achieve effective results, it should be applied at night before bed, two to three times a week to help reduce or even eliminate excessive perspiration.

The Certain Dri A.M. Underarm Refresher should be used in conjunction with the roll-on as a daily supplement for added protection against odor. It should be applied in the morning or after bathing.

Because of its prescription-strength aluminum chloride (12%), Certain Dri antiperspirant has a unique application process: it is applied sparingly at bedtime. This allows it to work overnight without washing off after bathing/showering. The refresher is available as a stick or roll-on in Morning Fresh scent. Its special odor control system delivers additional all day deodorant protection when used each morning.

Degree, though it does make a non-residue formula, has become well known for its performance. Degree posted a 25% surge from the previous year, according to IRI and is now the best selling brand in the U.S. with a 9% market share.

Degree Women, much like the men’s variant, focuses on efficacy. Its body responsive ingredient is found in both its men’s and women’s formulations. Degree Women is a deodorant/antiperspirant that delivers—no fancy packaging, clever advertising or promotional stunts—just the odor and wetness protection consumers depend on. Degree’s body responsive technology also helps it differentiate itself from the other sticks in the AP/Deo market.

A New Take on Positioning

Degree Men delivers the same efficacy but with new positioning. Degree does not offer a product in the deodorant body spray category, but company executives have developed a range of novel marketing campaigns to reach men. A Degree ad campaign featuring Chad Johnson, wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, helped position Degree’s products to a more active male audience, while setting the brand apart from the audience that buys Axe or Tag. According to Kevin George, vice president and general manager, deodorants, Unilever, “he’s entertaining, confident and immensely talented. Degree Men protects men who take risks, and he definitely takes risks.”

In addition, Degree partnered with hit television show 24. The extensive relationship with Fox includes television advertising, original online content and retail cross-promotions. Throughout the year-long campaign, Degree Men will feature interactive experiences via the new website. The website, www.CTUrookie.com features 24-themed content by integrating the look of the series including the center terrorist unit (CTU) set.

“We’re confident this program will redefine entertainment partnerships. Degree Men gives men confidence by equipping them with more power than they need,” said Sam Chadha, marketing director, deodorants, Unilever. “We’re very excited to present additional exclusive content men want around one of the most critically-acclaimed and popular shows on television.”

This type of positioning is unique within the AP/Deo market. Though there haven’t been any changes in the market, what can be observed are marketing and concept-driven innovation.

Old Spice recently introduced an online destination, Voice of Experience, with blog topics and advice for the “Guy’s guy,” in conjunction with an acclaimed advertising campaign for its new fragrance for men OS Signature.

The website assembles a team of experts to reveal what’s hot in sports, entertainment, cars, music and more. The site is accessed through OldSpice.com and features a variety of unique insights, guidance and perspectives that a man of experience might appreciate. There is a lineup of editors for each facet of the experience panel.

Tony Stewart, two-time Nascar Nextel Cup Series champion, explores life on the track as well as the hottest cars on the street and gives his personal views on all things automotive. Jamal Munnerlyn, on-air reporter and segment producer for Access Hollywood, provides readers with the latest in movies, music and TV. Fashion consultant Alana Kelen and grooming expert Lori Hamlin deliver advice on how men can look their best. Serving as the food/beverage editor, food columnist Ken Hoffman tells guys where to get a great bite to eat anywhere from the drive-thru to the stadium.
Christopher Shanley, senior game tester for Activision, explores the latest trends and toys for the guy that demands the latest in technology. Ben Hochstein, MTV music supervisor gives readers a run-down on the best of music from emerging bands to upcoming festivals. Matt Buser, Yahoo! Sports columnist will look at the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA and everything in between. April Masini, relationship expert and author, provides the female perspective as the dating and relationships editor.

Sales in the AP/Deo market are projected to increase by less than 1% through the year 2011. This means that marketers must appeal to emerging segments to inspire growth. Once the spray category becomes stale, consumers will seek new ways to stay fresh.