每次谈到刀片使用寿命问题，吉列总是守口如瓶。如果是与剃须有关的其他任何问题，吉列都会给出详尽的答复。比如，你知道吗，男士每次剃须平均要刮150次？你是否知道男士面部有10,000 – 15,000个毛囊？你是否知道，只有10%的男士会定期更换剃须刀的刀片，而其他人只是凭感觉来决定是否替换？
以前，吉列从未以刀片使用寿命作为广告噱头，因为没有这个必要。作为宝洁公司（Procter & Gamble）旗下的品牌，吉列能够发展成为男士剃须用品行业的领头羊，并不是因为它的刀片可以永久使用，而是因为质量更好，就是这么简单。而吉列产品之所以品质更高，原因在于公司比竞争对手在这方面投入更多——为了开发锋速3（Mach 3）剃须刀，公司毫不犹豫投入了10亿美元。此外，吉列从不提及刀片使用寿命的另一个原因是，消费者不知情对公司更有好处。毕竟，消费者不知道刀片的使用寿命，他们更换刀片的频率可能就更高。
This year Gillette debuted a 30-second television spot that will go down in the annals of razor blade marketing. Actor Brandon Quinn begins by telling the audience that Gillette sent him around the world to see how long he could shave with a single ProGlide cartridge. After gallivanting through what looks like the African Savanna, Paris, and some Asian rainforests, he tells viewers what Gillette never had: That the company's blades last up to five weeks.
Gillette has always been famously tight-lipped when it came to blade life. Ask them anything else about shaving, and you got a thorough response. Did you know the average male takes 150 strokes per shave? Or that men's faces include 10,000-15,000 hair follicles? Or that 10% of male shavers replace their blades according to the calendar, while the rest of us go by feel?
But broach the subject of blade life and you got a long list of reasons why it wasn't possible to estimate. Until now. "This is most specific we've been," says Gillette spokesman Damon Jones.
Gillette never advertised blade lifebecause it never had to. The brand, owned by Procter & Gamble (PG), grew into the leading men's shaving line not because its blades lasted forever but because they were better, period. They were better because Gillette spent more than anyone else to make them that way -- it didn't hesitate to cough up $1 billion developing the Mach 3. And Gillette never mentioned blade life because it was better if the consumer didn't know. By not knowing exactly how long (or short) a blades' lifespan, the customer might replace it more often than necessary.
And that's often what they did. After disposables lost their luster, Gillette introduced the two-bladed Sensor in 1990, then the three-bladed Mach3 in 1998, then the six-bladed Fusion line in 2006. By then its market share figures exceeded 80% in the lucrative U.S. market, and yearly sales of replacement blades and razors were approaching $1 billion.
As blade counts rose, so did replacement cartridge prices. Which was fine when the economy was humming. But now as it limps along, Gillette's market share has taken a hit -- its hold of the U.S. replacement cartridges market slipped by 3 percentage points from 2010 through the first quarter of 2012. Jones says Gillette reacted with the new ad. "One of the things we wanted to do was to help reframe the value perception of our brand," he says. Translated from PR-speak: Gillette needed to give men another reason to pay more for its blades.
Gillette contends its pricing is competitive with rivals like Schick. But the average price paid for a pack of Gillette's replacement blades today is $18.04, far higher than the $15.32 industry average and nearly $8 more than what Energizer Holdings' (which owns Schick) customers pay for a pack, according to SymphonyIRI Group.