As any advertising exec who’s launched a product for men will know, they’re a tough audience to reach. Mintel says that while women are more likely to believe adverts for products promising glossier hair, or smoother skin, men are much more cynical. According to their research, a third of men pay no interest at all of the claims made by brands on behalf of beauty and personal care products.

So for c-stores to buy into male grooming products, they have to be sure that brands are being marketed effectively to drive men in-store. Where brands once relied on big ads or freebies in lads’ mags to create demand, today they’re much more likely to be going online to reach men through their laptops and smart phones.

For instance, Unilever is using the twin lures of sex symbol Kelly Brook and social networking to promote new Lynx Excite. As part of the £8.32m ad spend around the ‘Fallen Angel’ campaign, viewers get the opportunity for a virtual audience with the glamour model.


Block vertically by brand People are very loyal to particular brands so keep shelves full and double-face the best-selling lines, even if this means removing some of the slower selling brands 

Make customers aware you stock toiletries 
Nearly a fifth (18%) of shoppers don’t realise they can buy toiletries at their local store, so place them in the top-up area where they can be seen. If practical constraints mean some high-value products need to be behind the counter, use visual prompts to ensure your customers ask for what they need and don’t just leave empty-handed 

Stock the bestsellers Three-quarters of shoppers intend to buy a leading toiletries brand, but with limited space and so many products to choose from, what do you stock? Quite simply, the top brands in each sector 

Clearly divide the fixture into product groups 
This can be a complicated fixture to shop, so it is important that it is merchandised logically. Men, in particular, are more comfortable if their products are separated from women’s ranges 

Place your best-selling products at eye level You’ll help maximise sales of your best-selling lines when they’re placed at eye level on the fixture.

“This latest push forms part of a more sophisticated approach to our marketing strategy,” says Lynx brand manager for Unilever UK, Selina Sykes. Meanwhile, Gillette has scored an online hit with a viral video daring to take the mickey out of their previous habit of piling new blades onto existing razors. The spoof video for the MagmaCore Extreme promises a new 80-blade razor “with each razor thinner than a single atom” before directing viewers to their Facebook page to find out more about their real products.

Within male grooming, manufacturers are slowly achieving category growth by convincing consumers to try special male versions of toiletries already popular with women.

“Core toiletries such as shower and deodorant are the main categories driving the performance for male toiletries as more men start to use a ‘for men’ version of products,” explains Partners for Growth’s Hazelden.

“These categories also tend to have more category value innovation on an annual basis.”

In the male shower category, which is growing 7% year on year according to IRI, Dove is extending its moisturising message to men with two new variants for their pioneering Dove Men+Care range.

As well as Aqua Impact, which promises a revitalising shower, new Sensitive Clean caters for men with sensitive skin through a hypoallergenic, neutral fragrance formulation.

Elsewhere, Kleenex is squaring up to a bigger challenge trying to convince men to buy tissues.

“Tissues are of low interest to men,” says Carly Hunter from the Kleenex marketing team. “They don’t regard them as part of their daily routine and will instead resort to cheap functional solutions such as toilet paper. This 2.2 million target audience represents a £10m retail sales opportunity.”

To overcome these barriers, Kleenex has developed Kleenex Pockets an ultra-slimline tissue aimed at men and fronted by Linford Christie.

“Sport stars are great brand ambassadors because they are inspirational but also ‘real people,’” Hunter continues.

“The ‘I’ve got a tiny packet’ strapline provided a reference point for our target audience while mirroring the light-hearted personality of the product.”

Is launching variants of women’s products for men really going to drive the future of the men’s grooming market? Maybe it will, since Mintel’s report reveals another key fact: single men buy their own grooming products, but once they’re married this task often then becomes a woman’s responsibility.

So, though advertising promotes images of successful men in charge of their appearance, like most things in life, it’s women who are really in control.

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