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A Plus for Men

February 5, 2009

Multifunctional Pert Plus for Men debuts in food, drug and mass merchandisers.

A Plus for Men

Multifunctional Pert Plus for Men debuts in food, drug and mass merchandisers.

By Bridget Klebaur

Though they may never admit it, guys do care about their looks, which may explain why sales of men’s grooming products are soaring.

In 2008, Mintel tracked more 500 new men's personal care products in the U.S., a substantial increase from the 375 launched in 2007.

Clearly, male grooming habits have improved in recent years, but in order to get a guy to purchase products on a regular basis, they must be quick and easy to use. As the only brand dedicated to a 2-in-1 formula, Pert Plus is taking it one step further, with the January roll out of a line of products especially for men.

The Thickening Formula should be a hit with men.
While there are other products specifically for men on the market, brand executives say Pert Plus Men’s is unique because it delivers four different freshly scented, quick and easy 2-in-1 products that specifically meet the needs of men who care about their appearance.

“Men are interested in appearance,” said Roanne Wallace, director of marketing for Pert Plus. “Surveys have shown that 70% of men notice appearance and say it affects salary and career prospects, and 30% use female products.”

The new products include Pert Plus for Men 3-in-1, Pert Plus for Men Thickening, Pert Plus for Men Daily Dandruff and Pert Plus for Men Deep Cleansing. The 3-in-1 formula is a shampoo, conditioner and body wash in one that’s designed to clean and condition hair and skin. The patented thickening formula offers a light conditioner that won’t weigh hair down.

Pert Plus, which was first launched in the 1980s, is owned by Innovative Brands, a Phoenix, AZ-based firm that includes Sure antiperspirants in its stable of products. It acquired the North American assets of both brands from P&G in 2006.

A Thin Line

Although men’s hair is generally no different than women’s, their hair tends to thin more because of hormones, according to Ms. Wallace.

“There is no difference in the hair except for thinning, but the vegetable and conditioning formula help to reduce breakage by about 30%,” she said.

While men’s hair is not very different than women’s, what they expect from their hair products definitely is. While most men admitted to using female products, they also expressed desire for a more masculine line of shampoos and conditioners, with fresher, less feminine scents. To that end, Pert Plus for Men’s 3-in-1 formula features green leafy top notes with cedar and vetiver, while the thickening formula has a light, citrus scent.

The 3-in-1 formula keeps things simple for guys.
The launch comes at a difficult time in the economic cycle and the product category. While the U.S. is mired in recession, sales of shampoos in food, drug and mass (excluding Wal-Mart) fell 2.3% last year to just under $1.4 billion for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 28, according to Information Resources, Inc. At the same time, sales of hair conditioners slipped nearly 2.8% to about $940 million, while sales of liquid body wash bucked the trend, rising 6% to almost $725 million.

While the men’s grooming category is becoming more crowded, Ms. Wallace insists that the brand’s positioning makes it unique.

“There is a strong desire for our products,” she explained, “especially with Pert Plus because we concentrate on combining shampoo, conditioner and body wash.”

While Pert Plus has found a way to combine two, even three products into one, some might wonder how they compete against multi-billion dollar multinationals.

“What makes us different is our multipurpose 2-in-1 formula, and we’re the only brand dedicated to that. It attracts consumers who want quick, simple and easy-to-use products. We have a range of products, and have a mix of males and females core group products,” insisted Ms. Wallace. “Our heritage and expectation for Pert Plus also sets us apart.”

And as a final plus, with the economy in the doldrums, perhaps even more consumers will be willing to scrap a variety of shampoos and cleansers in favor of one multipurpose product like Pert Plus for Men.

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