By  on March 9, 2010

Procter & Gamble Co. is flexing its skin care muscle in the men’s arena with the introduction this June of a treatment line within its Gillette business called Fusion ProSeries.

The launch of the four-item men’s skin care line is the first introduction of its kind under Gillette since the firm was acquired by P&G for $57 billion in 2005.

Gillette had launched a men’s skin care line in 2004 called Complete Skincare, a six-item collection that included a cleansing bar, shave gel, aftershave gel and an SPF 15 moisturizer.

But, even though there are fewer products in the Gillette Fusion ProSeries line than there were in Gillette Complete Skincare, which was phased out within the past two years, Gillette Fusion ProSeries is “a far more extensive range” in terms of how it is designed to perform as part of an overall shaving regimen, Matt Wohl, general manager of male new products at Gillette, said during an interview following a press launch at Manhattan’s Exit Art gallery Thursday.

“This is the beauty of Gillette and P&G coming together [in] shaving and skin care,” he added. This union, he continued, “has manifested itself in ProSeries.”

“While the razor remains the central component to a man’s grooming routine, we know that the products used before, during and after the shave play an incredibly important role in ensuring shaving and skin comfort,” stated Chip Bergh, group president of global male grooming at P&G.

With the ProSeries initiative, P&G is out to boost its share of what it quantifies as a $6.1 billion North American male grooming industry. Of that, men’s blades and razors account for $2.4 billion, while men’s shaving creams and gels account for $364 million. Globally, the male grooming industry stands at $30.8 billion, according to P&G.

Wohl contended Gillette’s commitment to skin care for men, who have thicker and oilier skin than women, is “strong,” adding, “We’re committed to guys.”

The Gillette Fusion ProSeries line, which is priced from $6.99 to $8.99, includes Thermal Face Scrub, Sensitive Face Wash, Intense Cooling Lotion and Instant Hydration UV Moisturizer + SPF 15.

P&G claims the Thermal Face Scrub (3.3 oz.), designed to warm, comfort and clean the skin of dirt and oil, as well as help soften facial hair, is the first mass market men’s thermal face scrub.

“There’s similar technology in Olay,” noted Stew Taub, associate director of Gillette male premium systems at P&G research and development, referring to another of the consumer product giant’s skin care brands, which markets a product called Regenerist Thermal Skin Polisher.

The Gillette Fusion ProSeries face wash (5-oz.) employs a soap-free formula that includes aloe vera, while the cooling lotion (3.3-oz.) is designed to hydrate “just-shaved skin” and combat irritation. The SPF 15 moisturizer (1.7 oz.) is infused with vitamin E and is intended to provide all-day hydration and reduce tightness.

Gillette Fusion ProSeries, which is tied to the launch of two new razors under the Gillette Fusion ProGlide moniker, is slated to reach “very wide distribution” in North American mass merchants, drugstore chains, grocery stores and club stores by June 6, Wohl noted. A global expansion is slated for the next 12 to 18 months, according to P&G.

Wohl said a broad advertising and promotional campaign would be employed to support the new launches, including TV, print, radio, digital and in-store efforts. “We want to surround these guys,” he said of the products’ roughly 18- to 49-year-old target audience.

While executives would not break out sales projections, they said they expect performance of the new introductions to be similar to the 2006 launch of the Fusion shaving system, a line of manual and power razors and pre- and post-shaving products that P&G calls the heart of the Gillette franchise today. The Fusion shaving system reached $1 billion in global sales after just more than two years on the market.

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