In the very beginning, King C. Gillette put a close shave within reach of every man, every day, with a simple technical breakthrough called the safety razor.
As successive generations came to shave, they were welcomed by new technical breakthroughs – razors, blades, coatings, systems – and constant exhortations from Gillette to see their daily shave as a glorious, masculine ritual.
Executives began to believe it themselves – Gillette technology equals joy in shaving – as did some of their traditional customers.
Then young shavers, as they will, began to reject the old ways and move on. What was so glorious about this daily chore, let alone the technology devoted to it? First in Europe, then elsewhere, disposable razors challenged the old, reverential view and Bic stole market share.
Gillette responded dismissively, putting out its own disposable razors with twin blades but little support, assuming its technology would see off the upstart. Why spend advertising funds on a low margin product against a low-tech competitor? Because the competitor kept winning share, that’s why.
Only when it was shown to Gillette that a new young market had emerged and was moving away, did the old behemoth remember its roots and give the young shaver what he wanted. The Gillette Slalom, launched with proper support. The product itself was over-engineered for this casual new market but the way its story was told hit the button. This was a glide through the daily shave, as easy as it was comfortable. It was, quite simply, “less of a drag”.
The launch was successful, across Europe, but its true importance lay in its reminder to the grand old marketer that you took your eye off your consumer at your cost. His consumer was a moving target – rather like the Slalom skier – and without constant attention was soon wearing another brand’s gear.
The team who spotted this moving target for Gillette, then launched the Slalom in Italy and across Europe, have now launched brandstory italia in the belief that good stories, like old truths, can increase their value when told anew.