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A Market Fit—The Evolution of Deodorants and Antiperspirants

By: Abby Penning
Posted: August 3, 2010, from the August 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The new line announcements also included the launch of the brand’s “Battle of the Sexes” marketing campaign. The centerpiece of the Battle of the Sexes campaign is www.surebattle.com, a Web site where men and women can answer trivia questions and compete against the opposite gender for points to win monthly prizes and eventually be entered to win the grand prize in December 2010—a women’s adventure trip for two, as well as a corresponding trip for men.

The Web site component of the marketing campaign is an interesting element, somewhat similar to the packaging efforts, as it brings both genders to the same destination for product information and interaction with the product and the contest, but still singles out each of the lines as products with their own gender-specific reaches, interests and benefits. It’s a nod to the original gender-neutrality of the Sure brand while also recognizing the growing development of the men’s and women’s deodorant/antiperspirant markets as independent of each other.

The progression of the Sure brand from a gender-neutral product to one that now markets its products as highly distinct indicates the growth of the deodorant/antiperspirant market, as well as the realization that the men’s and women’s beauty care markets grow and operate independently of each other, even within a niche as small as deodorants/antiperspirants. With the men’s market currently on an upswing, marketing efforts from multinational companies to small operations focus on the ingredients and formulations in both men’s and women’s deodorants and antiperspirants that do relatively the same thing, in addition to those all-important differences—including fragrances, packaging colors and design, and even marketing channels.

Making the Most of a Market

Key differences in the way to reach and speak to men and women when selling beauty products are nothing new, but applying them in such specific and distinct ways in products that include many of the same benefits and features shows a new way brand owners can leverage a product and present it in a vastly different light to a vastly different audience.

While similar ingredients treat the wetness and odor problems both sexes are looking to quell with deodorants and antiperspirants, the additions of different fragrances, skin-soothing ingredients and packaging components give a basic product a new life to a whole new set of consumers. Thinking about the differences between consumers—and not just between men and women, but also young and old, highly product-conscious and those who use products little—can open up a range of new avenues to beauty brand owners for a variety of products.