Thinking of Razor Blades: The Utopian Razor Blade (2 of 2)

Yes, it is the best a man can get but sometimes Gillette unfortunately gets a little too clever for its own good in its advertising. How many of you got a share of the $7.5 million settlement it made five years ago for false advertising. Lawyers who filed the suit in 2005 and settled the matter in 2011, which settlement was approved by Judge Douglas Woodlock of Catherine Greig fame, took away 1.85 million in fees and expenses.

The suit was about the M3 Power Razor. It was claimed Gillette advertised that the M3 Power Razor delivered “micropulses” that stimulated hair “up and away from skin” which would give closer shaves . Independent testing showed the claim was baseless which Gillette knew. The complaint said:“Indeed, Gillette’s chief scientist advised Gillette’s in-house legal counsel and other high-level Gillette employees that the marketing campaign was inaccurate.” In settling, Gillette denied all wrongdoing.

After the lawyers took their bite, the remaining $5.5 million plus went to the people who were lured into buying the M3 Power Razor. How did they find out who these people were? I was never notified of a chance to get my money back. I’ll have to look into that to see if it is too late to make a claim – if I do I’m sure they won’t take my word for it – hmm’  – I wonder if I can find my receipts from 2003.

As you know Proctor and Gamble took over Gillette in 2005 which was considered a wise move by it. Warren Buffett, “called the acquisition “a dream deal” that would “create the greatest consumer-products company in the world.””

Less than 10 years later it was becoming more of a nightmare. It was reported in 2014 that it revenue was “down 2% for the nine months ended March 31, making it P&G’s worst performing unit.”  The reason for this is that other razor companies like the Dollar Shave Club or Harry’s or 800Razors are all eating into its market. And others are getting into the fray like Dorco who makes the razors for Dollar.

They all, as you know, depend on the turnover in blade usage.

What got me thinking about all this was when I was shaving one morning with my Gillette razor and somehow I recalled an ad from Gillette that came on during a football game that said its razors cost less than the other razors. I thought it was bad form for Gillette to recognize its competitors which told me it was feeling the heat. I also wondered at the little deception in that ad – in a small section of the ad it noted in writing that it computed its cost not on shaving daily but on shaving I believe every other day. Seeing that I thought it could base the cost of its razor on a person shaving once a week, or once a month, or once a year for a special holiday?

That would really make them cheap. But who does that? When I’m out in public I shave every day. Sometimes I skip a day or two when not going anywhere but that is rare because I don’t like to have the grizzle on my face.

Putting all this together I thought that if King Gillette were around today he would come up with the utopian razor blade. That would be a blade that kept its sharpness forever. With the materials available today that is something that easily could be done.

Today the biggest difficulty facing Gillette and other razor companies is coming up with that fine line between keeping a razor sharp enough for just a limited number of shaves but to have it go dull after that number is reached. They want one that is good but not too good. It is a delicate balancing act.  The last thing they would want is a King Gillette whose invention of the “forever blade” would put them out of business.





6 thoughts on “Thinking of Razor Blades: The Utopian Razor Blade (2 of 2)

  1. Matt:

    I switched to Harry’s about one year ago.

    Much better and much cheaper.

  2. Hello Matt, I have found a way to keep a Gillette Blade functioning for close to a year. I too hate to have that grizzling feeling after several days of non shaving. We could be related. I try to work out 3 or4 times a week and my health club has a steam room. In that area I shave and do not shave again until my next workout. Times are changing, yesterday I was shaving my beard and looked around in the steam room at three other shavers and they were shaving their heads. I have found that by shaving exclusively in the steamer that my blade will last close toa year. Go BC beat NC

    1. JRC:

      We might be related since you have the same feeling about the grizzle. That’s pretty good getting a year out of a blade. The secret must be to use steam to soften up the beard. I have one of those steamers that is supposed to take wrinkles out of my clothes but it doesn’t work well. Maybe it will do better on my beard.

      BC makes me appreciate the Patriots winning. It’s not fun to be 0 – 7 in the ACC. The only problem with the Patriots is that they are so good that they have become boring; but better to be bored than to be losing.

  3. If King Gillette had invented a blade that would last forever, surely he would have also invented a handle that needed to be replaced weekly…or maybe shaving soap that needed refreshing every 15 seconds.

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