(Reuters) - Gillette and Braun hope a new gadget will win over a group that is not their typical customer base -- guys who sport facial hair.
More than 40 percent of men in North America style their facial hair, according to Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) research. That realization pushed the company to look at men’s grooming a bit differently than before, when the focus was on removing facial hair with Gillette razors and blades.
The new ProGlide Styler has a narrow trimmer to guide through tight spots, a Fusion ProGlide razor, three plastic trimming combs and a handle that can be held in various ways to get the right grip. It is powered by a Duracell AA battery, another P&G product.
P&G decided it was time to launch a product combining its Braun and Gillette expertise after seeing more and more men -- including three celebrities it will use in its marketing -- sporting facial hair.
The ProGlide Styler could help P&G add to growth in its $8 billion grooming business. In P&G’s first quarter grooming sales rose 10 percent to $2.1 billion, aided by higher prices.
Gillette first introduced a trimming blade on the back of its then-new Fusion blades in 2006 to help men trim around beards, goatees, mustaches and sideburns. It followed up with an updated “ProGlide” version of Fusion in 2010.
While Gillette and Braun have been under the same roof since 1984, the two units have only worked together on this product for three to four years, trying to link Gillette’s Fusion razor technology with Braun’s expertise in trimming.
“The time was right for us to now come and to meet men’s needs,” Sonia Fife, general manager of Gillette North America, said in an interview.
The ProGlide Styler will hit North American stores in February with a suggested price of $19.99, about $9 more than the Fusion ProGlide battery-operated razor starter kit. While pricier than a razor, it costs less than many electric trimmers and shavers from competitors such as Philips Norelco, Remington and Wahl.
After targeting the 48 million men with facial hair styling needs in North America, P&G will launch the Styler elsewhere over the next 12 to 18 months, Fife said. The company sees a potential market of 200 million men using the gadget worldwide.
Click here for a graphic on shaving: link.reuters.com/wex95s
Advertising from Omnicom’s (OMC.N) BBDO features musician André 3000 Benjamin and actors Adrien Brody and Gael García Bernal using the Styler as they finish getting ready to go out.
P&G is also introducing a clear shave gel under the Gillette name to coincide with the Styler’s launch.
Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago; Editing by Bernard Orr