Byline: C.K.

NEW YORK — Gillette Co. is seeking a middle ground for its 35-year-old White Rain hair care brand.
Throughout August, the company will launch White Rain Exotics — a line of shampoos, conditioners and styling products — in the hopes of attracting women age 24 and older to the White Rain franchise.
“Our White Rain Essentials line of fruit-scented products tends to appeal to younger people in their teens,” said Michèle Syznal, personal care manager of Gillette. “Our original [White Rain] line is more popular with women over 40, who remember the brand from when they were younger. We are looking to get a consumer somewhere in between the two.”
The 10-item White Rain Exotics line will consist of an 11-oz. shampoo and an 11-oz. conditioner in three different fragrances: Hibiscus, Lotus Petals and Orchid Petals. The Exotics styling products are a 7-oz. hair spray, a 5-oz. mousse, a 4-oz. styling gel and a 7-oz. styling spritz. Each one will be scented with a mixed floral fragrance called Tropical Petals.
Each item in the line will have a suggested retail price of $1.29.
Gillette has used living flower technology to create each of the fragrances, a method the company maintains replicates the fragrance of a living flower instead of a picked blossom.
“Fragrance is one of the primary reasons that people buy a shampoo,” Syznal said. “We find that the shampoo consumer is essentially pretty fickle and is constantly in search of the latest and newest scents. We think that living flower technology gives us a unique point of view.”
While living flower technology is becoming more popular in prestige fragrances, it is still a relatively new concept for the mass market. Gillette maintains that it is the first company to offer this type of process in a mass hair care line.
“We think the line will attract price-conscious women who are looking for small indulgences,” Syznal said.
Gillette first realized the power of fragrance after the launch of its White Rain Essentials line in 1992.
“The fruity fragrance really seemed to make the difference,” Syznal said. “Our market share really took off.”
Syznal noted that White Rain’s share of the price-value shampoo segment increased from 17.6 percent in 1992 to 20.3 percent in 1993. The market was valued in 1993 at $683 million, giving the White Rain franchise roughly $137 million in retail sales. Company executives attribute the growth to the launch of Essentials.
While Gillette executives declined to make sales projections, industry sources estimated the Exotics line would increase White Rain’s sales volume by 10 to 15 percent in the first year.
Sources expect White Rain to continue to gain about three share points over the next two years, mainly due to Essentials and next month’s launch of Exotics. That would give the White Rain line a total market share of 26 percent in 1995.
The company is reportedly spending $1 million to $2 million on a print ad campaign that will break in August.
According to Syznal, the ads will run in six women’s magazines at least through the first half of next year.
“We think that Exotics will bring some growth to the whole White Rain franchise and that the line will definitely bring some new users into the fold,” Syznal said.”The price-value segment of the market grows every year, since people seem to spending their money in other places than in beauty.”

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