Finding Inspiration in Fighting Perspiration

March 3, 2009

Marketers find new, innovative features for classic antiperspirants and deodorants.

Today’s consumers want to stay fresh all day, every day.

Finding Inspiration in Fighting Perspiration

Marketers find new, innovative features for classic antiperspirants and deodorants.

Melissa Meisel
Associate Editor

The U.S. may be in a recession, but shoppers are stocking up on personal care staples such as toothpaste and antiperspirants/deodorants (AP/Deos). A shaky job market has consumers wanting to stay fresh and look at the top of their game. After all, a $4 stick of deodorant is a small price to pay for clean, cool composure—not to mention saving on dry cleaner’s bills from perspiration marks on fine suits or dresses.

Sales of deodorants totaled $1.2 billion in U.S. supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchandisers excluding Wal-Mart, according to Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) of Chicago, IL, for the year ended Dec. 28, 2008—a rise of 2.3% from 2007. Unilever’s Degree led the pack with sales of $113 million, followed by Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice High Endurance at $67 million and Secret at $62 million.

While less than 5% of the U.S. population suffers from excessive perspiration, a significant portion of consumers believe that their perspiration is beyond normal, according to Roman Shuster, a research analyst with Euromontinor International, Chicago, IL. Therefore, users tend to find a brand of anti-perspirant/deodorant and stick with it.

“Deodorant purchase decisions are very emotionally motivated. Most consumers identify with a brand or scent and are loyal,” he told Happi.

Everyone sweats, but the road divides when it comes to how he or she masks body odor. According to Nancy Mills, Kline & Company’s industry manager of consumer practice, Austin, TX, sales of soft sticks have increased, while aerosol and clear gels have diminished in the marketplace.

“For clear gel, it is due to the residue, and the wetter, stickier consistency,” she told Happi. “Aerosol is not the most convenient. Roll-on has a group of loyal consumers that are used to the form.”

According to Mr. Shuster, stick deodorants outsell all other formats combined by a margin of two to one. “Stick is just the most established/familiar format for the U.S. consumer,” he told Happi. “It truly is flexible as it offers consumers a high level of wetness protection. Most recently, stick deodorants have had an explosion in scents, so now a stick can offer both.”

Sales of body sprays came on very strong at the beginning of the millennium, but are beginning to slow down, noted Mr. Shuster.

“Much of that was driven by the male body spray. Yet those products still only appeal to a limited segment of the population (the 11 year old to 30-something male). So far it has limited appeal beyond that. In the past two years, there have been efforts to introduce the female body spray concept. Secret launched a series of female body sprays in 2007, yet by the summer of 2008 I did not see many of these products in stores. Dove also launched its own body spray in 2008. I think that these products will have a harder time finding appeal among women, who already are using body splashes for a similar effect.”

Fragrance is ‘Escentual’

Scent is a key component of a consumer’s purchase decision, according to Mr. Shuster. He cited the growth of Axe, Tag and Old Spice body sprays as examples. “Men are increasingly turning to these products as a fragrance and a supplement to standard perspiration fighting deodorants,” he said.

The fragrance trend has also spilled over to the women’s category, noted Mr. Shuster, with exotic scents such as Secret’s Jasmine Orient or Southern Peach. Most recently, Axe launched Dark Temptation, a chocolate-scented body spray.

Upscale body mists are on trend for Spring 2009.
In fact, the biggest buzzword in 2009 AP/Deo launches is fragrance. Debuting this month are new products from Secret, Degree and Ban that tap this fragrant trend.

Secret Scent Expressions will add two new scents to its lineup, Bella Bloom Invisible Solid and Fabulously Floral Crystal Clear Gel. The products also feature new aesthetic aspects. The upgraded Invisible Solid packaging showcases pink pearl accent coloring and sparkle design, while the new Crystal Clear Gel has a redesigned dome-shaped applicator said to ensure the right amount of product is delivered with each application.

Unilever is rolling out the new Degree Women Fine Fragrance Collection, combining “long-lasting, sophisticated scents” with Degree Women’s 24-hour wetness and odor
protection. Each deodorant is paired with a matching body mist for application on the go. The products are available in three scent selections—Delicious Bliss, Sexy Intrigue and Classic Romance—and were designed by fragrance expert Ann Gottlieb. She created each scent like a perfume with top notes, middle notes and base notes.

In addition, Kao’s Ban put a new spin on the classic sweet smell of dessert with Vanilla Twist, an invisible solid infused with top notes of exotic fruits combined with the scent of creamy vanilla. The product also features kihada extract and silver cancrinite, using patented, breakthrough technology to target and eliminate odors. The brand is also set to release a clinical formulation this season.

Furthermore, AP/Deo scent selections and their delivery methods can even be linked to gender. Origins, part of Estée Lauder, recently introduced an organic deodorant that features an essential oil blend of clove, lemon, ylang ylang, lavender, mandarin, patchouli, palmorosa and ginger.

New clinical strength by Ban.
“I’ve spent a lot of time observing consumer purchasing behaviors in a variety of specialty and mass beauty venues and one of the most predictable habits is evaluating scent to determine purchase intent,” explained Raymond Mauro, manager, Origins Product Development. “Those relying on scent solely to mask odors are purchasing deodorant based on fragrance alone, while those looking for all-day protection against sweat and odor base their purchase on both AP/Deo product form (gel, solid or spray) as well as fragrance.”

According to Mr. Mauro, women are most concerned about having the underarm dry and will most likely purchase a quick absorbing gel formula, while men are less concerned about residue than controlling odor throughout the day.

Extra Strong

For 2008, clinical strength was a leading story in deodorants. “Extra strength deodorants have been available as a niche segment of the deodorant sector for years—however, these products were not extensively advertised or promoted, so they were not really relevant to the mass consumers. The introduction and promotion of clinical strength variants from well-known brands has re-energized consumer interest and helped stick deodorants as a whole grow,” Mr. Shuster told Happi, citing the successful clinical launches of Secret and Degree.

Certain Dri, a popular clinical strength brand in the mass market, is introducing a solid application for 2009. According to the company, it was created specifically to complete the line of Certain Dri antiperspirant products for those who want the same 72-hour protection from excessive underarm perspiration in a solid application. The product is specially formulated for those sensitive to aluminum chloride but need everyday dryness from excessive underarm perspiration. It contains 25% aluminum sesquichlorohydrate (anhydrous) and is the only over-the-counter antiperspirant with this ingredient.

Marketers like Lush are finding success
in natural AP/Deos.
“If a consumer perspires heavily, ingredients matter,” said Raymond Abrahamsen, vice president, new products, Certain Dri, DSE Healthcare Solutions, Edison, NJ.“Aluminum zirconium is your basic AP/Deo ingredient. However, if you have hyperhidrosis or perspire heavily, this ingredient will not be sufficient. The gold standard ingredient is aluminum chloride.”

Forty-year-old men’s grooming brand Brut also has bulked up its line of offerings with Brut 24 Hour Protection Anti-Perspirants and Deodorants. The products are formulated with Trimax to provide long lasting protection. Both products help to eliminate odor, while the antiperspirants offer wetness protection. According to the company, Trimax fights odor using two antimicrobial agents to eliminate the bacteria that cause odor. In addition, Brut antiperspirants also contain aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex glycine, the same active ingredient used by clinical strength and prescription strength products to combat wetness.

According to John Hunnicutt, vice president of marketing, Brut, Idelle Management Co., Danbury, CT, a clinical strength formulation only adds to the attributes of the brand. “The role of fragrance in the category is an extremely important variable in brand selection. Scent is, in some cases, the primary strategic platform for consumer marketing. Both men and women are very loyal to their preferred fragrance, but it is not the only key loyalty builder. Product effectiveness is still king. In the case of male consumers, that loyalty extends to form and type.”

Tobias A. Gubitz, senior brand manager for Right Guard, Dial Corporation, Scottsdale, AZ, agreed.

“Ingredients that improve efficacy or provide an added benefit also play a large role,” he said, citing Dry Idea’s new Clinical Complete collection as an example. The line is said to provide maximum wetness protection without a prescription, but it also contains skin-conditioning ingredients like vitamin E.

The company also plans to roll out Right Guard Fast Break, an NBA-inspired high-performance line of deodorants.

Dermadoctor, a clinical skin care company whose products are sold at Ulta and Sephora, is entering the deodorant domain with Total Nonscents, two new underarm SKUs. One targets sensitive skin and the other is a brightening formulation with kojic acid for darker skin areas under the arms. Both also feature aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex glycine for clinical support.

“We created the products due to consumer demand,” said Audrey Kunin, M.D., president, Dermadoctor, Inc., Kansas City, MO. “I answered at least one consumer email a day for three years before launching Total Nonscents Brightening Antiperspirant.”

Some natural brands are also stepping up to the plate with extra-strength formulations. Lavilin Underarm and Foot Deodorant Cream, a prestige herbal deodorant developed by scientists studying the link between unpleasant odor and the bacteria normally found in perspiration, features a 24-hour product. According to the company, Lavilin’s effectiveness is drawn from natural properties found in herbal extracts including chamomile, arnica and calendula, which work to eliminate bacteria on the skin. The water-resistant product only needs to be applied once or twice a week.

The Green Scene

Natural AP/Deos are on the rise in the market, in step with the entire personal care industry. Marketers are finding novel ways to incorporate essential oils and even crystals into formulations—giving independent marketers a chance to rub elbows with drugstore brands like Tom’s of Maine.

Mr. Shuster, who sees green AP/Deos as a niche market, noted, “The consumer base for green/natural deodorants is not significant enough for major manufacturers. However, I think that it doesn’t hurt for the leading players to have a small stake in this category.”

According to Mr. Shuster, there is a small group of consumers that do care about ingredients in their deodorants and many of them avoid putting “chemicals,” including the ingredients key to an antiperspirant, on their bodies.

Burt’s Bees is testing the waters with its new Natural Skin Care for Men Deodorant. According to the company, it contains essential oils such as citrus, fir and cypress and fends off odor with sodium usnate, naturally derived from lichen. Beeswax (of course) along with coconut and sesame seed oils create a smooth application. The formula is so effective, 90% of men who tested the product felt it performed as well or better than their current brand of deodorant.

“In launching an all-natural formula, it was critical for us to crack all-day protection and we’ve been able to do that by formulating with sodium usnate and cornstarch,” said Paula Alexander, director, U.S. marketing, Burt’s Bees, Morrisville, NC. “Unlike an antiperspirant, it does not prevent sweating, the body’s natural cool-down mechanism.We believe in harnessing the power of nature to support the body’s natural mechanisms.”

Leading the Way

In fact, many companies are sitting solid in the niche market for green AP/Deos—serving as inspiration for the bigger brands to follow suit. Lush Cosmetics, sold in stand-alone boutiques as well as department stores such as Macy’s, is celebrating its Aroma Crème deodorant’s fifth anniversary. The vegan formulation is made using almond oil and shea butter with odor-absorbing sodium bicarbonate. A fragrant selection of antimicrobial, antibacterial essential oils, including ylang ylang and cassie absolute, combat body odor.

“We are ahead of the curve on eco-friendly products, so people's heightened awareness is only helping the cause,” said Erica Vega, product trainer, Lush Cosmetics, Chicago, IL. “We use fresh essential oils and other natural ingredients to power our deodorants. We are all about keeping packaging minimal or nonexistent. Most of our deodorants are ‘naked,’ completely free of packaging, and can be taken home that way, or wrapped in minimal recyclable paper. We also have post-consumer recycled tins for storage.”

In the past year, Lush expanded its powder range, unveiling a woodsy deodorant called “The Greench” and a “beachy” coconut formulation scented with essential oils, which are big draws in the green AP/Deo arena.

Odor-absorbing crystals are also hot commodities in the green AP/Deo range. Kiss My Face, a natural brand sold at Target and Whole Foods, has a collection of “Liquid Rock” roll-on deodorants with a mineral crystal salt formula that is said to neutralize natural body acids in perspiration. The products also feature salix alba (white willow bark), a natural herbal deodorant, and usnea barbata (lichen), an antimicrobial, natural odor deterrent.

“The eco friendly/green boom has been the mission of our company for 25 years. We have produced 100% natural deodorants in recyclable packaging far before it became trendy to do so,” said Lewis Goldstein, vice president of marketing, Kiss My Face, Gardiner, NY.

Lafe’s, a boutique brand of natural beauty products, features a line of deodorants made with mineral salts “similar to those found in the earth’s crust,” according to the company. Its crystal deodorant sticks and stones are made with potassium alum and feature 99% natural ingredients.

And a company established in the 1980s around mineral formulations, The Crystal, is set to roll out a new “crystal essence” line of deodorants this spring infused with essential oils such as pomegranate and chamomile.

On the Horizon

Sources agree that the future of AP/Deos looks bright—in any economy. At the end of the day, a healthy, clean look may be the best accessory for 2009.

“In recessionary times, consumers return to things they can control, like their health and well-being, so I think we’ll continue to see a rising interest in natural and those products that offer a health benefit,” said Ms. Alexander at Burt’s Bees.

“I think that given the poor state of the economy, value based competition should be big in 2009,” said Mr. Shuster at Euromonitor. “Already we are seeing stores like Target and Wal-mart taking a ‘club store-like’ approach to merchandising. We are seeing more ‘value-buys’ (two or three units packaged together) for a cheaper unit price.”

He also sees clinical formulations as a possible trend for those looking to get the most of out of their AP/Deo.

“I don’t think we are going to see the same robust growth rates for these products that we saw in 2007 and 2008, yet I don’t believe they are going away either. Consumers can get a similar level of protection from cheaper (less promoted brands), but they can’t get the same brand identity and scent. Deodorant is still cheap enough where consumers can splurge a little on a product for which that they have an emotional connection,” he said.

“We believe that there will be a greater sensitivity to the high cost of dry cleaning and replacing fine garments due to damage caused by heavy perspiration. Consumers will continue to look for products that are efficacious, particularly as the current economic crisis squeezes pocketbooks,” agreed Mr. Abrahamsen at DSE Healthcare Solutions.

Savings is indeed the buzzword for AP/Deos in 2009 and beyond, according to Mr. Hunnicutt at Idelle Management Company.

He told Happi, “In a depressed economy, the major trend may be a greater level of value demonstration in support of the brands already on the shelf. Consumers may be reluctant to trade up or test new innovations unless they help them save.‘Lasts longer,’ ‘use less often,’ ‘costs less’ stories may be the key to capturing the consumer’s interest.”

Old Spice Celebrates a Decade of Sponsorship for NASCAR’s Top Racer

Tony Stewart has waved a sweat- and champagne-soaked towel in NASCAR victory lanes more than 40 times since coming to the Sprint Cup Series from IRL IndyCar in 1999. And this year is no different, as Mr. Stewart starts the new season as a driver/owner with his No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet Impala SS fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing.
Old Spice, the official deodorant and bodywash of NASCAR, saw early on in Mr. Stewart's career the opportunity such frequent celebrations presented. The 2009 racing season marks Old Spice’s 10-year anniversary with Mr. Stewart and the familiar Old Spice towel seen draped over the two-time Sprint Cup champion's shoulder after many long, hot afternoons at the racetrack will continue to be a staple of Stewart's post-race ritual.
Every time Mr. Stewart wins a Sprint Cup or NASCAR Nationwide Series race during the 2009 season, he'll use the Old Spice towel to wipe off the sweat and swe­et spray of victory. He’ll later autograph the towel and turn it over to Old Spice for a charity auction on eBay, with all proceeds going to the Tony Stewart Foundation.

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