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Neat Shave: Gillette pilots grooming salons

20-April-2004
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Neat Shave: Gillette pilots grooming salons

The way to a man’s heart is through a good... shave. Realising the need gap in the grooming industry, Gillette India Ltd has decided to use the route of beauty parlours to bond with its consumers.

In a pilot project, Gillette India has associated itself with about 50 salons in Delhi, Gurgoan and Noida and branded these ‘Gillette Grooming Centers’. According to the company, the Gillette branded salons are neither company-owned nor franchised. The company only offers specific ‘tips’ to these salons on how to give an ideal shaving experience and also displays the entire Gillette range of products including its razors and shaving prep products like deos and talcs.

Gillette India insists that the initiative is only a temporary affair and is being pursued just as a ‘branding exercise’. “The primary aim is to project the brand image and deliver a good shaving experience,” says Gillette India corporate affairs head Anshuman Sharma.

The company is obviously cashing in on the increasing trend where men are spending more time on grooming and looking good. A study commissioned by the company shows that Indian men spend an average of 20 minutes in front of the mirror every morning against 18 by women.

A study commissioned by the company shows that Indian men spend an average of 20 minutes in front of the mirror every morning against 18 by women

A fact the rest of the FMCG corporate sector has already cashed in on. FMCG majors including the heavyweight HLL led by others like CavinKare, L’Oreal, Marico and Wella have already set the trend by opening exclusive salons and clinics in a bid to get closer to their target audience.

Gillette, however, says that right now there’s no proposal to take its salon initiative to other metros or national. “So far, it’s just a test-launch and we have not tracked the results as yet,” Mr Sharma said. “Besides,” he added, “we don’t have the infrastructure to take it forward.”

According to industry observers, it may indeed be a little too early for Gillette to take the idea further. For lifestyle changes and the need to ‘look good,’ they feel, are still a woman’s domain.

Sooner or later, however, Gillette will have to take the plunge into the service sector even if it calls for being lured by the beauty binge, observe others. Gillette, however, insists that the company’s forte is developing and marketing ‘grooming’ products and it’s not a service company at all.

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