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Gillette sets Mach3 launch
April 14, 1998: 1:20 p.m. ET

Three-blade razor aimed at nicking 30 percent of market with $300M ad blitz
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The "best a man can get" apparently can get even better, if the newest in would-be shaving revolutions grabs the attention of men's faces worldwide.
     Gillette Co. on Tuesday unveiled its biggest marketing gamble ever, a $300 million ad blitz to speed sales of its new three-bladed razor by convincing men there's no closer shave on earth.
     The "Mach3" razor, whose catchy moniker is the culmination of $750 million of research and development, is expected to gain up to a 30 percent market share, Gillette said.
     And the Boston-based consumer products maker said it plans to collect that share of the $1.1 billion wet-razor market even though the Mach3 and its cartridges will cost 35 percent more than its now-outdated, twin-bladed cousin, the SensorExcel.
     But Gillette cited studies that found that in the quest for the optimal shave, men are willing to trade up to better products.

     "With Gillette Mach3, we are armed with all of the tools to have tremendous impact in the marketplace,'' said John Darman, vice president of business management in Gillette's male shaving division.
     "Our new advertising capitalizes on the Mach3 name and the product's sleek design to build a brand image suggestive of high-performance, aerodynamic flight,'' Darman added.
     But eager consumers will have to wait for takeoff -- the Mach3 won't hit store shelves in North America until July and in Europe until September.
     Gillette said the multi-media ad frenzy, which includes the Internet, will retain the longtime ad theme "Gillette. The Best A Man Can Get.''
     The expected U.S. price of a Mach3 will be up to $6.99, while a four-pack of cartridges is set to cost up to $6.79.
     Analyst Constance Maneaty of Bear Stearns said the Mach3 should improve the quality of earnings at Gillette and further extend its global market share.
     But because of the secretive development of the new razor, Maneaty said, "I don't have any take on it."
     After a sharp run-up yesterday, Gillette shares (G) fell 2-3/8 to 123 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday.Back to top


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