Turning the male-centered marketing model on its head
Gillette, the maker of the hugely successful Venus (www.gillettevenus.com) razor designed for women, recently made a bold announcement. It’s going to charge the same price for some men’s and women’s personal care products.
GASP! But we’re used to paying higher prices for the same things. Research from American Demographics (http://amiga.adage.com/de/ad/) indicates that in general, women pay more for haircuts, dry cleaning, clothing alterations, cars, underclothes (and don’t get me started about how much bras cost!), and health insurance. Men, it seems, also come out ahead when it comes to buying auto and life insurance. And actually, Canadian legislators have just introduced a bill to make gender-based pricing a human rights violation!
But back to razors. For years, manufacturers charged more for personal care products on the assumption (you know what they say about assuming) that women care more about their appearance and are thus willing to pay more. Turns out that women, savvy shoppers that we are, instead simply bought men’s razors that were essentially identical to the women’s and refused to pay the difference.
Gillette’s newest Venus razor, the Vibrance, is a battery-powered model that’s equal to the M3Power the company markets to men. Both will be priced between $10 and $12. The company is counting on women to pay a premium for the added technology, a bet that will most likely pay off. Women are the ultimate comparison shoppers and know added value when they see it. They’ll even whip out their debit cards when they see products with worthwhile benefits.
Venus is hoping to reclaim its leadership spot in the $200 million razor category. Venus sales are slumping and the brand is now number four with sales of $73 million. A new, comparably priced razor with benefits just for women? That just might do the trick.