In the mail today, I received a box from Gillette, containing its newest razor – the Gillette Fusion ProGlide; I found a free razor offer on one of my favorite sports blogs, All Left Turns (a NASCAR blog), and signed up to try it out. When I got the box (seen below), it brought back memories of the fall of my senior year of high school, soon after I turned 18.
What does every boy in this country do at age 18? Register for Selective Service, just in case we ever need to bring back the military draft. It’s sort of a rite of passage, though not as exciting as voting, buying cigarettes or going to a strip club. And soon after that registration, all those boys receive a new Gillette razor in the mail – for me, it was a Mach III but I’m assuming they give Fusions today. What a brilliantly simply piece of marketing.
All Gillette does is buy that list of boys, and send them a product sample. Once they try that razor, they’re customers because it’s a great product, at a premium price, that’s truly worth the extra cost.
It’s just my opinion, but I bet this ongoing initiative drives more business for P&G , with better ROI, then any broadcast campaign with Tiger Woods/Roger Federer/Thierry Henry, silly NASCAR YoungGuns promotion or any social media strategy they run. I wonder if Gillette has any idea what percent of those samples get turned into additional cartridge sales, and how many are regular customers 1, 5 or 10 years down the road. Other than following a sample audience and projecting those numbers nationwide, I’m not sure how they could track it. But then again, they’re P&G and have a marketing budget bigger than the GDP of some countries, so maybe they have more precise numbers.
This is truly marketing at its core – identify the target audience and get the product in their hands. It doesn’t require celebrity endorsement, over-the-top promotion, YouTube videos or any silly consumer research about “online conversations.” To quote The Ad Contrarian’s blog post from earlier today, sometimes, “marketing people take the obvious and make it incomprehensible.” Gillette, thankfully, hasn’t let that happen – brilliantly simple.
When I’m thinking about clients and our next strategies for them, I’m going to try and keep this example in mind – hope you do too.