Philips: Designer stubble

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | August 08, 2014
How Philips is dealing with the irony of having one product that encourages shaving and another that promotes sporting a stubble.

Philips Pro Skin Trimmer TVC

Philips Pro Skin Advance Trimmer

Anurita Chopra

Going by what Philips believes about Indian men, the clean-shaven look is passé and the stubble is in. As a result, it has come out with, what it claims is, a device that can get one the perfect stubble in minutes. It is called the Philips Pro Skin Advance Trimmer and helps men get the macho look with stubble et al.

The company has roped in actor Arjun Kapoor as brand ambassador for its male grooming category. It recently launched a TV campaign featuring Kapoor, to promote the Trimmer among young, male audiences. The campaign promotes the message 'Look macho, stay boyish'.

Designed by Ogilvy India, the campaign is targeted at the youth. Speaking about the idea behind the campaign, Anurita Chopra, director, marketing, personal care, Philips India, says that the campaign signifies how young men in India like to look these days. "The facial stubble is fast becoming an identity as it gives them a feeling of standing apart. The youth today, even at workplaces, is about being casual, and experimenting with their looks - the stubble amplifies the casual attitude. This campaign is all about category creation," she says.

Trim and proper

According to Chopra, the campaign idea was derived after a detailed research of the grooming preferences of young Indian men. The research discovered that today's young man likes to experiment with his looks more than ever before. Now men don't shy away from flaunting a casual look at their workplaces.

Many believe that growing a beard is not difficult, it's the grooming that's tough. That's where the Trimmer fits in. According to Juhi Dua, editor, L'Officiel India, a fashion magazine, it is not just about the men wanting to stand apart, it is also about their women or spouses wanting them to experiment with their looks. "Women in India find the clean shaven look boring and insist that their men have interesting styles. Having facial hair is definitely a growing trend in India among men," explains Dua.

The Philips trimmer range, priced between Rs 1,800 and 2,000, offers up to 20 lock-in length settings, from 0.5mm to 10mm, for precise cutting of facial hair. The trimmers also come with non-scratch teeth. The blades are made of titanium-coated stainless steel, and have rounded tips for a smoother trim.

Close shave

Juhi Dua

Philips also sells electric shavers in the personal care category, which promote the clean-shaven look. So is there a conflict of interest or is the trimmer a by-product of the shaver, which seems to be losing audience now? Chopra believes that there is no conflict as such because their audiences are well defined and are different from each other. The Trimmer is targeted at the 18-22-year-old, just out of college or in his new job. The shaver targets men between 25 and 35, who are settled in their work.

To understand the difference better, Philips India commissioned a survey by Nielsen in March 2014 covering 533 males and nd 502 females in the age group of 25-30 across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. According to the survey, the health of a man's skin also impacts how women react to him. The survey reveals that more than 91 per cent women are turned off by men with hard facial skin, while 62 per cent women do not like their partner to have nicks and cuts on their face.

Philips' shavers are aimed at those who use razors and are more likely to have a nick on their face, as opposed to the trimmer user, who is experiencing facial hair for the first time. The shavers are priced between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000.

Philips claims that men's grooming products is a key focus area of growth for it. According to Chopra, male grooming in India is a 300 million euros (around Rs 2,400 crore) market. Of this, the market size for electrical products is 40 million euros (around Rs 320 crore). The good news, for Philips, is that the male grooming market in India is expected to grow to Rs 5,300 crore by 2016, according to a Euromonitor study.

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