Fresh Scents

July 9, 2007

Antiperspirant, deodorant marketers are catering more to consumers.

Fresh Scents

Antiperspirant, deodorant marketers are catering more to consumers.

Melissa Meisel
Associate Editor

Never let them see you sweat. The advertising slogan coined by Donna Karan in a mid-1980s Dry Idea commercial encapsulates the antiperspirant, deodorant (AP/Deo) market in a nutshell — however, today’s AP/Deos call for a lot more than just wetness protection.

According to Certain Dri’s Perspiration Poll, 45% of American adults report perspiration is either “sometimes” or “often” a problem for them, and 42% of this group said they worry about having body odor. In addition, 18% (nearly 18 million) also indicated that excessive perspiration has ruined some of their wares.

“For the millions of people with this condition, or, those who feel their perspiration is a problem, the summer months and the skin-bearing wardrobes that come along with the season are a dreaded time,” said David Bank, M.D., dermatologist and director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, NY.

Our bodies—particularly in hot weather—can lose up to a quart of fluid per day, but this is just the average for those who have “normal” perspiration, said Dr. Bank. Someone with excessive underarm perspiration, or axillary hyperhidrosis, as it’s called medically, will perspire even more.

While there are several options to treat hyperhidrosis, including surgery or Botox injections to the underarm area, Dr. Bank recommends that most people start with the least invasive and least expensive options first. Enter the vast assortment of 2007’s AP/Deo products.

Must-Have Attributes

The retail market sales of antiperspirants and deodorants through all U.S. retail channels reached $1.9 billion in 2005, according to a five-year study conducted by MarketResearch.com. Furthermore, Euromonitor International reported that 2007 is expected to account for 39% of the total incremental growth between 2006-11, with stick and spray deodorants leading the subsector.

“Consumers want choice in their antiperspirant/deodorants,” said Sam Chadha, director of marketing at Unilever.  “Some consumers find fragrance to be the most important aspect they’re looking for, while others find odor and wetness protection to be the most vital.

Bjoern Leyser, brand manager for Right Guard, agreed.

“It’s a bit of ‘avoiding the negative’ while adding just the right amount of ‘positive,’” said Mr. Leyser. “‘Negative’ for men means odor and wetness; the primary concern is definitely odor…the ‘positive’ (meaning fragrance) has two meanings: first, it works as reassurance that one’s AP/Deo is still working and second, it is seen as a ‘tool’ to enhance one’s appeal to others (women).”

Billy Hulkower, a Mintel research group analyst based in Los Angeles, points to fragrance as a major proponent of AP/Deo marketability: “Scent is a key differentiator for gender-specific products and for brands themselves. The most common reason consumers switch brands is to try a new scent, with more than half of men and women who have switched brands doing so for this reason.”

Crossover and Portability

There’s also a lot of potential for more crossover fragrance/deodorant products for women, noted Mr. Hulkower. Look out for kits in 2007 with multiple deodorant scents for women and men. Another potential arena for growth is in a product set for women that would align scents across shampoo, conditioner, oral care and deodorant.

“We’ve [Mintel] polled consumers and they like the idea of buying a complete personal care kits from a brand they trust,” said Mr. Hulkower.
As for travel, with today’s strict airline regulations that limit carry-on liquids to 3 oz. or less, what is a deodorant-needy traveler to do? Southern California-based La Fresh Group recently released a line of 3” X 3” individually wrapped hygiene products that include a Deodorant for Men Towelette and Deodorant for Women Towelette.

“Especially in today’s fast-paced, multi-tasking world, small hygiene problems can easily become magnified,” said Eve Yen, president, Diamond Wipes and La Fresh Group, who added that her company launched the product so consumers could have more access to these “easy and fresh solutions designed to improve their day-to-day lives.”

On the home front, shelf space will become more of a challenge for antiperspirant and deodorant manufacturers if a new, larger, array of scents expands a product line, said Mr. Hulkower of Mintel. 

 “A single brand can offer many different scents, but they aren’t going to necessarily make it onto shelves. Seasonal scents, limited-release scents and direct-to-consumer sales online can offer some relief from the fight for shelf space. But it will still be a challenge to get products on the shelves, and it’s also going to take more effort (and larger budgets) to market scent-driven products,” he said.

Selling a Lifestyle

As with most retail products, cutting-edge AP/Deo companions are aiming to represent a lifestyle or make a fashion statement.

According to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Forrester Research, 78% of advertisers said that traditional television advertising has become less effective in the past few years, and therefore, marketers are exploring alternative and emerging opportunities. Along with endorsements, in recent years, celebrity branding has also become very popular in promoting AP/Deos.

For example, Old Spice has signed on as the presenting sponsor of this year’s AND 1 Mix Tape Tour, a street basketball entertainment production embarking on a nationwide 10-city tour that runs through August 25. As presenting sponsor, Old Spice will have a prominent presence in the AND 1 Mix Tape Tour's marketing including national print ads, the ESPN show “Streetball: The AND 1 Mix Tape Tour Presented by Old Spice” and online.

The Dial Corporation also recently announced that Right Guard has renewed its event title sponsorship of the AST Dew Tour for 2007.  The sponsorship supports the Right Guard Xtreme line of antiperspirants and deodorants, helping Right Guard Xtreme to reach its target consumer of young men.

It is also the third consecutive year Right Guard has held event title sponsorship of the Right Guard Open, one of five tour stops on the action sports AST Dew Tour. This year’s Right Guard Open will take place July 19 – 22 in Cleveland, OH, at the city’s North Coast Harbor.

Unilever, the manufacturer of Dove deodorants, also showcased a “360 marketing program” this past spring to launch the women’s Dove Deodorant Sleeveless Ready campaign and new Dove Ultimate Clear Smooth Cashmere product. The initiative included an “unconventional” mix of television, including teaming up with “The Tyra Banks Show,” online and in-store retail components. This integration emphasized product innovations that aim to give women softer, smoother, sleeveless ready underarms in just five days.

Other marketing efforts included teaming up with “Project Runway” winner, Chloe Dao, and launching the Dove Deodorant Sleeveless Ready Celebrity Auction this past May on Dove.com.

Unilever extended the partnership to include an in-store experience; Dove Deodorant and “The Tyra Banks Show” executed co-branded in-store “retailtainment” events in more than 1,000 U.S. Wal-Mart stores. Eighty stores displayed site-specific tune-in messages to drive consumers to watch “Tyra.” Additional initiatives include point-of-purchase displays and in-store brand ambassadors.

“It seems only natural for Dove to team up with “The Tyra Banks Show,” which encourages real beauty and raises women’s self-esteem,” said Chadha of Unilever. “Our co-branded initiative at Wal-Mart enables us to give more women the confidence to feel good, look good and get more out of life.”