Gillette is a world leader of men’s grooming products and has become a forerunner in sports marketing initiatives. Their company targets young men and men that want to feel young, and what better way to reach this demographic than with sports figures.
Back in 1953, they contracted Marty Marion, the then White Sox Manager to promote Gillette Razors. The message, “when you look good, you feel good.”:
Today, in 2011, Gillette has stayed true and continues to use their proven sponsorship with athletes.
They continue this strategy even after their “Gillette Champions” campaign, which featured three huge sports stars: Roger Federer, Thierry Henry, Tiger Woods (A year later Derek Jeter was signed to this team) experienced a backlash. This is the risk one takes when using celebrities and athletes as sponsors. In this backlash, Tiger Woods made headline news after crashing his car following an argument with his wife. Thierry Henry had an undetected handball in a huge soccer game that caused boycotts of the Gillette brand. And Federer was knocked out of the ATP World Tour semi-final by sixth-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko. Marketers refer to these situations as the “curse of Gillette.” In this case, not all publicity was good publicity.
Jeter is the only real ‘Champion’ Gillette has left and they continue to use him. Jeter recently appeared in their innovative billboard, which was repainted daily to show the three stages of men’s grooming: stubble, shave prep, and clean-shaven. In conjunction with Jeter’s Champion campaign, they also launched “Gillette Young Guns.” This campaign highlights up-and-coming stars, like Carlos Gonzalez from the Colorado Rockies and Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Gillette has seen the perils of sports marketing and they have stayed true to their platform – athletes as sponsors. They also have stayed true to their messages: “When you look good, you feel good, and you perform at your best,” also, “Gillette keeps you looking young and fresh.” By becoming leaders in the sports marketing initiative, Gillette has been able to stay the leader in men’s grooming. A winning combination.