Great Indian Shaving Debate fuels 35% increase in market share for Gillette

Triggering a debate about shaving among Indian men resulted in a sales increase of 38% and a 35% increase of market share for Gillette.Research highlighted a series of controversial points. Were clean-shaven men more successful? Did the nation prefer clean-shaven celebrities? And the big one: did women prefer clean-shaven men?

Insights, Strategy and the Idea:The Indian man’s traditional shaving device, the double-edged razor, could not be dislodged by newer and better shaving systems like the Gillette Mach3. The Gillette Mach3 is 10 times more expensive than this default choice, and, despite being able to afford it, Indian men did not consider shaving to be a significant enough activity to justify such a premium.

As a result, after a decade of presence in India, Gillette Mach3’s trials and sales were flat. For men to rationalise the price premium and switch to the Mach3, the real challenge lay in combating men’s inertia and indifference to shaving.

Mediacom’s insight was that we needed to spark a national debate, recognising Indian men’s love for voicing their opinions on everything.

“We needed to get shaving out of the bathroom and into the living-room, chat-rooms and conversations.We developed a platform for the campaign: “India Votes… to shave or not”, says a Mediacom spokesperson.

Creative Execution:First, Mediacom piqued the nation’s interest by commissioning the first ever Nielsen survey on the country’s attitudes to shaving. Research highlighted a series of controversial points. Were clean-shaven men more successful? Did the nation prefer clean-shaven celebrities? And the big one: did women prefer clean-shaven men?

The provocative results created immediate interest and hit primetime news. As expected, people were ready with their point of view! And the Great Indian Shaving Debate was on. For 8 weeks, leading TV news and radio stations ran celebrity interviews, panel discussions and news stories. Newspapers and men’s magazines carried editorial features and reader polls. In a PR event, Bollywood stars shaved off their famous stubbles in front of the media. Live polling conducted in malls, gyms, cinemas and offices kept the debate raging, and offered men a chance to trial the product. All media directed people to a dedicated website to cast their vote.

Results and Effectiveness:This radical communications model led to a record sales increase of 38%. Awareness doubled. Trial increased by 400% as did market share by 35%. In the end 12.2 million Indians voted for a clean shave.

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