Gillette Flunks the Giggle Test
Volkswagen: "Think small."—Doyle Dane Bernbach, 1959
Clairol: "Does she … or doesn't she?"—Foote, Cone & Belding, 1957
Ivory Soap: "99 and 44/100% pure"—Proctor & Gamble, 1882
Gillette: "Look sharp, feel sharp"—BBDO, 1940s
Gillette M3 Power Razor: "Gentle micropulses stimulate hair up and away from the skin"—BBDO, 2005
Does the copy pass the "giggle test?"
The giggle test is a legal term. Is a claim legitimate, lawyers ask, or will it cause the judge to giggle?
Beards are tough. A close shave requires softening the face with plenty of soap, water and shaving cream and using a razor to push the skin down, causing the hairs to stick out, whereupon they are sliced off with one, two, three or four blades. The only men who would not understand the giggle test--that a battery-powered razor would raise facial hair--would be members of the castrati, who have little to giggle about in the first place.
For the rest of us, the idea that a battery-powered, vibrating razor "raises facial hair" is preposterous.
Nevertheless, from the moment it was introduced, the M3 Power became America's best-selling razor.
The Cost of False Advertising
As a result of its excesses, Gillette must field an army of fixers to relabel millions of M3 Power packages. According to AdAge.com:
In court filings, Gillette said there are about 3.2 million M3 Power packages on store shelves, backrooms and warehouses, plus another 1 million in its own warehouses and another 2.3 million partially completed packages that will need to be relabeled. Gillette estimated the cost at $400,000 for putting stickers on packages in its own supply chain and another $1.2 million to send people to stores to put stickers on inventory there.
This is on the heels of Gillette's restickering millions of razors in Germany after losing a similar suit to Schick there.