Schick-Wilkinson Sword

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Schick-Wilkinson Sword

10 Leighton Road
Milford, Connecticut 06460-3552
Telephone: (203) 882-2100
Fax: (203) 882-2415
Web site:



For many years Schick-Wilkinson Sword was a distant second to Gillette Company in all categories of the global market for shaving products, but in the late 1990s Schick recognized an opening in the women's grooming category. Shaving razors specifically marketed to women was a relatively new category. Previously women had used men's razors to shave their legs, and even women's products were nothing more than a men's product in a feminine package. But then Schick decided to develop a shaving product specifically intended for women. The result was Intuition, a three-blade pivoting razor with a conditioning soap that provided its own lather, ideal for use in the shower.

The $120 million "Shaving Made Simple" campaign to introduce Intuition was launched in April 2003 and ran through the rest of the year. It featured television, radio, and print elements, all of which took a humorous approach to the problems women had shaving the traditional way. The song "Intuition," released by popular music star Jewel, was also licensed at the cost of $500,000.

The "Shaving Made Simple" campaign succeeded in doubling Schick's share of the women's shaving market and was an important step in Schick becoming a greater challenge to Gillette in the global shaving market. The campaign also won a prestigious award, a 2005 bronze EFFIE in the Beauty Ads category of the annual EFFIE Awards sponsored by the New York American Marketing Association.


For years women used men's shaving razors, and even as razor companies recognized that women's shaving products was a distinct category, the products made for women were little more than variations of men's products. As Charles Forelle wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "Women's razors weren't much more than men's versions with a pink handle." Schick, which was looking to make inroads against its larger rival and industry leader Gillette Company, recognized in the late 1990s that there was an opening to exploit in the women's shaving category. In 1999 Schick convened worldwide conferences where employees brainstormed about the way women shaved their legs. The primary conclusion was that they shaved in the shower, where they often fumbled with shaving gel. According to Forelle, "Back in her room one evening after a session in Greenwich, Connecticut, Glennis Orloff, a Schick razor engineer, saw a small bar of hotel soap on the edge of the tub and wondered if she could figure out a way to lather up and shave at the same time. Ms. Orloff took the bar back to the lab, carved a hole in it, and stuck a razor cartridge in the hole. 'It worked really well considering how crude it was,' she said."

Orloff's idea was put into development along with a number of other projects, but it soon received greater attention in 2000 after Pfizer Inc. acquired Schick's owner, Warner-Lambert. Executive Joe Lynch, who subsequently became Schick's president, was dispatched along with a colleague to take stock of the blade company. Lynch told Forelle that he found a company with world-class capabilities but little direction. According to Forelle, "It lagged sorely in high-end replacement razors and had missed two opportunities to capitalize on Gillette's delays in releasing women's razors—a two-year gap between Sensor and Sensor for Women, and a three-year gap between Mach3 and Venus … So Mr. Lynch put the brakes on scores of research projects and told engineers to start building prototypes of the two ideas he considered most promising: a four-bladed men's razor and the Intuition concept."

Orloff's crude idea was developed into a new Schick women's shaver called Intuition, a one-step product that featured a cartridge with a pivoting triple-blade razor surrounded by a skin-conditioning solid that contained aloe, cocoa butter, and vitamin E to produce a soft, smooth finish. The skin was lubricated with each pass, and the shower washed away the hair. Initially the skin-conditioning solid came in two varieties: fresh-scented Normal to Dry formula and a fragrance-free Sensitive Skin formula. In addition a razor kit was developed that included a refillable handle, a pair of cartridges, a protective travel cap, and a shower hanger for storing the shaver.

Intuition was ready for market in the spring of 2003, timed to launch in the middle of a Gillette product cycle, at a time when the latest Gillette offering was beginning to look old and a new product could not be quickly launched to counter Schick's move. In this way Schick avoided going head-to-head with its more powerful competitor. In the spring of 2003, with J. Walter Thompson handling the advertising, Schick launched the $120 million "Shaving Made Simple" campaign to introduce Intuition, the largest marketing launch in the company's history.


In general, Intuition targeted a mass audience: women who shaved their legs in the bath or shower, a group that ranged widely in terms of age and income. Because the potential Intuition customer had to be willing to fundamentally change her shaving behavior, the focus of the advertising was on younger women, whose habits were not as longstanding and who were by nature more open to try a new product and were willing to pay extra for the added benefits. They were also generally more interested in beauty, and increasingly shaving products were being marketed as part of a greater beauty category, which appealed to the younger demographic. According to Intuition brand manager Lynne Macchiarulo in an interview with Stephanie Loughran and Dan Alaimo for Supermarket News, the Intuition target market was "looking for products that make their lifestyle easier and products that take care of their skin better. Women look for products with multiple benefits, while men are interested in the technology in shaving."


The man behind the Schick name was Jack Schick, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who retired from the military in 1910 and staked mining claims in Alaska and Canada. With a lot of free time on his hands during the long, cold winter nights, he conceived of a dry razor that did not need water or lather. He found no backers for the idea but had more success with the magazine repeating razor, inspired by his military training. Like a rifle that used a clip of bullets, Schick's razor stored replacement blades in a clip in the handle that could be fed into position as needed. His idea led to the highly popular Schick Injector Razor, which featured a separate clip of blades that could be slipped into the razor, the forefather of all razor systems.


Schick's Intuition product competed against all methods used by women to remove leg hair, including depilatories, like Nair, which used chemicals to disintegrate hair; waxes, which caused pain when peeled off but lasted four to six weeks; and epilators, essentially wax-free waxing machines that gently plucked out the hair. Schick's direct competition, however, came from Gillette and Socieéteé BIC. Gillette had dominated the women's shaving category, first with Sensor for Women and later with its top-selling Venus product, a woman's three-blade system akin to the men's Mach3 product introduced in 2000. In 2002 Gillette generated $37 million in sales of Venus razors and another $86.9 million in refill razor blades, compared to Schick and Intuition's predecessor, Silk Effects Plus, which accounted for $7.2 million in razor sales and $13.5 million in refill blades. It was from Venus that Schick hoped to take away considerable business and begin to make inroads against Gillette on the world stage, where Gillette controlled about 70 percent of the men's and women's razor market and Schick just 18 percent. The only answer to Intuition that Gillette had available was Pink Passion Venus, which offered more of a fashion statement than an innovative concept like Intuition. But Gillette had plenty of money to promote Pink Passion and developed a campaign using the tagline "Passion for Life" and even sponsored a fashion show in which pop star Christina Aguilera modeled a hot pink gown inscribed with the words "Venus Passion." It would take another year, however, before Gillette would be able to take on Schick directly by launching a new product, called Venus Divine, which included an aloe-enriched moisture strip.

Flying somewhat under the radar was BIC, which had not advertised much in recent years and concentrated on disposable razors. Both Gillette and Schick were reluctant to promote their disposable products, afraid to take away sales from their more profitable systems business. In 2003 BIC finally launched its own three-bladed model, BIC Comfort 3, for men and women. As a value-priced product, it did not figure to offer serious competition for Intuition, which was aimed at target customers willing to pay a premium for additional benefits.


The goals of the "Shaving Made Simple" campaign were to introduce the Intuition product, educate women about how it worked, and motivate them to change their shaving behavior and try the product. According to Suzanne Vranica, writing for the Wall Street Journal, "Schick took the advice of a creative team composed entirely of young women—and embraced a campaign that uses humor to make its points … [it] pokes fun at the mishaps that women experience when trying to shave, such as continuously losing the soap in the tub. The tagline for the effort is 'Trust Your Intuition.' "

To ready the market for the introduction of Intuition, Schick first launched a teaser campaign to familiarize consumers with the product. Before the April 2003 launch of the main campaign, the company also sponsored an overnight event at a New York hotel for magazine beauty editors, who were able to try out the razor themselves. The product was officially unveiled in Central Park, where musical artist Jewel gave a free concert and sang her newly released song "Intuition," and free product samples were given out to 5,000 attendees. Schick also paid about $500,000 to license the Jewel song for use in commercials.

The "Shaving Made Simple" campaign included television, radio, print, Internet, and outdoor elements, such as renting Times Square signage. Intuition would also become an official sponsor of the LGPA, participating at every women's golf tournament, offering product demonstrations, samples, and interactive games. In addition four LGPA golfers became "ambassadors" for the product. Another aspect of the campaign would be the sponsorship of Speaking of Women's Health, an organization dedicated to educating women to make informed decisions about their health, well-being, and personal safety.

The campaign's television spots began airing on such shows as ABC's All American Girl and NBC's ER. An example of the TV spots was "Soap Slip." It showed a woman in a bathtub, with a plastic razor in her mouth, attempting to lather her legs with a bar of soap, only to have the soap slip from her grasp and fall to the floor. The voice-over asked, "Shouldn't shaving be simpler? It is with Schick Intuition." Another woman was then shown using the product in the shower. A second spot, "Shaving Follies," included the same woman in the tub as she fumbled for the soap on the floor, along with another woman struggling to shave her legs with a foot in the sink and eventually losing her balance and kicking the shaving can across the room, and a third who tried to lather her legs with shaving cream but sprayed her face instead. The voice-over asked, "Why shave the old way? When millions of women have already found a simpler way with Schick Intuition." Images of some of the same women were also used in print ads. "Soap Slip" featured the woman in the tub with the headline "Now there's a solution to the soap opera of shaving," while "Wobbler" showed the young lady attempting to shave her legs over the bathroom sink with the headline "Now you can kick the shaving cream can … permanently." A representative radio spot from the campaign used the sound of a sputtering, near-empty can of shaving cream to make the point that Intuition offered greater convenience than the traditional shaving method.


The "Shaving Made Simple" campaign won a 2005 bronze EFFIE in the Beauty Ads category in the annual competition sponsored by the New York American Marketing Association, one of the most prestigious awards in the advertising industry. More importantly Intuition enjoyed strong sales, resulting in Schick doubling its share of the women's shaving market. Gillette fought back, as was to be expected, and launched Venus Divine in the spring of 2005 along with a Venus disposable, supported by an abundance of marketing muscle to win back lost business. Schick countered by adding a new Intuition skin-conditioning solid, cucumber melon, and Quattro for Women, a four-blade shaver based on the successful men's product. Gillette increased the stakes even higher with the introduction of Venus Vibrance, a battery-powered shaver using the technology developed for the men's M3Power product, which sent out vibrations to the skin to raise hairs for a closer shave. The razor wars were still tilted in Gillette's favor, but Schick had established itself as a more formidable opponent with the introduction of Intuition.


Feldstein, Mary Jo. "Razor Wars Shave Profits at Energizer Holdings." St. Louis-Post Dispatch, November 16, 2004.

Forelle, Charles. "Schick Puts a Nick in Gillette's Razor Cycle." Wall Street Journal, October 3, 2003, p. B7.

Howard, Theresa. "Gillette Hopes to Power Shaver Sales to Women with Vibrance." USA Today, October 22, 2005.

Loughran, Stephanie, and Dan Alaimo. "Getting the Edge." Supermarket News, April 21, 2003, p. 41.

McTaggart, Jenny. "Three-in-One Shaver: Schick's Triple-Blade Wet Shaver for Women Cuts Out the Need to Lather Up." Progressive Grocer, May 15, 2003, p. 58.

Neff, Jeff. "Gillette Flexes Its Muscle." Advertising Age, August 2, 2004, p. 1.

―――――――. "$120 Mil in Spending: Gillette, Schick, BIC Launch Blades." Advertising Age, February 24, 2003, p. 8.

Prior, Molly. "Fighting for the Edge in Shaving." DSN Retailing Today, March 8, 2004, p. 21.

"PR Plays Prominent Role as Schick Introduces Intuition." PR Week, May 19, 2003, p. 5.

Tritto, Christopher. "Energizer Gets Boost from Razor Unit." St. Louis Business Journal, May 14, 2004, p. 1.

Vranica, Suzanne. "Schick Challenges Gillette with $120 Million Campaign." Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2003, p. A18.

Wasserman, Todd. "Schick's Intuition Prompts New Quattro." Brandweek, March 21, 2005, p. 8.

                                                 Ed Dinger