Gillette Flunks the Giggle Test
Razor Wars: Little Schick cries foul and the giant is nicked
Look over the saga of Gillette vs. Schick-Wilkinson Sword, and you do not find two rivals vying for share of shaver market.
This latest decision in favor of Schick is but one small victory in what is a truly nasty, all-out war between a corporate Goliath (Gillette with 90 percent market share) and David (Schick). The conflict is not only being waged in the media and on retailers' shelves for the whiskers of the American post-pubescent males, but also in courtrooms on both sides of the Atlantic.
To follow their endless litigious antics is to believe the only ones making money are the lawyers. Think again.
When Procter & Gamble bought Gillette last January for $57 billion, Gillette's CEO, James Kilts, came away with $185 million. This was chump change compared to Warren Buffett's one-day haul of $645 million.
Today's column is not about patent infringement suits and counter-suits or mergers and acquisitions.
This is about advertisers--and their agencies--making horses' asses of themselves.
The Holy Grail of Advertising: The USP
When a new product or service is introduced, the brand manager has to create a summary sheet describing its physical characteristics and the size and make-up of the universe of prospective buyers. In addition, a media plan must be created that outlines the most efficient way to reach the market (e.g., print ads, TV, direct mail, point-of-purchase promotions or, most likely, a combination).
It is then up to the advertising agency to come up with the USP--Unique Selling Proposition or main benefit--that sets this new product apart from the competition and makes it so desirable that the potential buyer simply must have it.
Examples of USPs:
Rolls-Royce: "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock." —David Ogilvy, 1957