This week Gillette revealed the results of a survey exploring how irritable us Brits are (they have a new Gillette Series ‘Irritable Defence’ range out see). It turns out that technology breaking down gets on our nerves, 32% of us hate queueing for things and 57% of us feel irritated every day (me by daft press releases usually).
Funnily enough, I was conducting my own little survey on here last week with a snap poll on men’s biggest shaving concerns. The results are even more illuminating. Nicks and cuts were in fourth place, razor burn in third and the nightmare that is ingrown hairs was second, with just over 29% of the votes. But the thing that annoys men most about shaving? Well, it turns out to be the cost of blades, with just over 36% of votes. Now that really is something to get irritated about.
PS. As a fascinating footnote to this post, it’s interesting to see that shaving products top this year’s list of ‘High Risk Items’ on Checkpoint’s Global Retail Theft Barometer – a global index of what consumers are swiping from shops.
We all know how much the beloved Daily Mail likes to champion a cause. And having thoroughly exhausted the debate on Wheelie bins the paper has now turned its guns on men’s number one grooming product – the humble razor. The company that has done most to outrage the paper’s sense of fair play (I know, don’t laugh) is Gillette. The thrust of the argument is that (shock of shocks) Gillette is making a huge profit on its Fusion razor and accompanying blades.
Earlier in the summer the paper claimed that the mark up on some shaving items was more than 4,000%. Seemingly, instead of keeping the costs down Gillette is forcing customers to pay for celebrity endorsement from the likes of Tiger Woods and Roger Federer instead. Blimey, what a surprise to discover that we’re not just paying for the raw materials themselves but for the advertising campaigns, the multi-million pound research that goes into creating the products and, to cap it all off, celebrities to endorse it too. I know, I was shocked too.
But not as shocked as Asda is it seems. The supermarket giant, jumping on the Mail’s bandwagon (and with absolutely no thought of shifting units or creating publicity you understand) are helping the British consumer out by slashing the price of their Gillette razors by up to 40%. Will King, the man behind Gillette rival King of Shaves and champion of the recession-hit man on the street, has waded in on the debate too, claiming his cheaper Azor razor is a much better deal for consumers (partly because of the very lack of the expensive research, ad campaign and celeb endorsement I suppose). Like Asda, he’s outraged that a company should make such a huge profit out of the average working man. Touching innit?
Dear readers, never have I heard such a bogus debate (or, if you prefer, such absolute bollocks) in all my life. So, there’s a huge mark-up on razor blades? Well, Gillette are the market leaders and they got there not just by creating a product that men keep buying because it works but because they spent money creating an identifiable, sexy brand. It’s what brands do. The consumer pays for this. We all know that, right? When I buy a £300 pair of Prada shoes am I under any illusion they cost a fraction of that price to make? When I buy a £35 bottle of fragrance advertised by a A-list celebrity am I so deluded I think it cost £33 to make and the endorsement came free? And why do I continually buy Kellogg’s cornflakes instead of as Asda’s own? Because, through bitter experience, I’ve discovered they taste better and sometimes you have do have to pay more for a quality product.
But it’s not just the ridiculousness of the argument that rattles me it’s the hypocrisy of those that spout off about it. Asda’s toiletries buyer, Graham Speak, for example, is quoted as saying: ‘Instead of lining the pockets of Federer, Henry and Woods, we think companies like Gillette should ditch their razorsharp pricing and put customers first, charging a fair price for an everyday product that doesn’t cost a lot to make.” So who the hell paid for Sharon ‘mum in a million’ Osbourne when she appeared in those Asda ads then? The tooth fairy?
Times might be hard but if there’s one thing you certainly shouldn’t skimp on right now it’s the quality of your shave. With the workplace more competitive than ever, a clean, sharp shave has never been more important. And if you’re looking for the ultimate grooming tool, the sleek, award winning Wilkinson Sword Quattro Titanium Precision Razoris it!
The world’s first razor that shaves, edges and trims, its four titanium-coated blades deliver a suberb, super-close, irritation-free shave, while its nifty trim facility, with four adjustable levels, allows you to maintain sideburns (and any other fancy facial furniture you might be sporting) with perfect precision.
Of course, a great razor needs great blades. And if you fancy saving yourself some dosh, click here and you’ll get £1 off your next Wilkinson Sword Quattro Titanium blades purchase! Happy shaving (and saving!).
According to my closest pals one of my least endearing qualities (other than my standoffishness and an unerring knack of saying ‘I told you so!’ when things go cataclysmically wrong) is my innate scepticism. I am the world’s worst doubting Thomas, from a long line of doubting Thomases, whose family name is (rather appropriately) Thomas.
I’m no less sceptical of all the claims made by grooming products (many of which have undergone ‘rigorous’ testing on five people in Switzerland/India/Stoke Poges).
So when Gillette launched a multi-blade razor onto the market many moons ago I was, to say the least, rather doubtful of its efficacy. In honesty, I thought it was just a cheap male marketing gimmick – you know, ‘bigger is better’, ‘more is…more’. Of course, that rather changed once I actually tried the product for myself.
Having sported something approximating a beard for several years I’m actually more of a stranger to razors than most, though I still have to use one shave my cheeks (yes, I’ve heard all the jokes thanks…) and having tried numerous ones I can truthfully say that more blades = better results.
But don’t take it from me. Last night on BBC Two’s Professor Regan’s…Health Spa Gillette’s multi-blade technology was put the test. The Prof herself is a bit annoying if you ask me (a bit like the interfering mum you dread) but the insight into what goes on at Gillette’s Technology Centre in Reading was fascinating. The centre itself is legendary (a bit like the mysterious Area 61 in Nevada but without the aliens and spaceships. Perhaps.) and it’s a treat to see what goes on inside. And there were some wonderful glimpses of ‘human testing’. So if you’ve always wanted to know why five blades are better than one have a look at this.