Gillette Raises Bar With Five Blade Razor. What Say We Make It An Even Dozen.

Posted by: David Kiley on September 14, 2005

Gillette Co. today unveiled its newest shaving system, a five-bladed razor called Fusion that comes with a nifty trimmer on the back of the cartridge for men who have mustaches and beards.

Gillette was the first to sell a three-bladed razor, Mach3, in 1998. Five years later, Schick followed with the four-bladed Quattro.

I confess that razor commercials crack me up. The animated face and enlarged whisker, and then the succession of blades that arrive to slice the dreaded hair. The first blade arrives on the scene to tackle the whisker at the knees. The second follows with a clothesline style take-down around the neck. The third lifts the whisker up, pulling it out of the skin so that the cutting operation is performed on the part of the hair that is below the surface of the skin. The fourth blade distracts the now bleeding and dazed whisker by rubbing its shoulders and playing a Billie Holiday song…and then…drumroll…the fifth and last (for now) blade comes in like hellfire and finally axes the whisker off the face. After his work is done, the moisturizing strip leaves a trail of slippery whoknowswhat on the face to cut down on razor burn. It’s all more impressive than the first Star Wars movie when we first saw it.

Fusion should hit shelves after the expected approval this fall of Gillette’s acquisition by Procter & Gamble Co.

Look, I’m not saying these razors don’t provide a close shave. But I am saying…enough already with the multi-blades. How many does any man need with one drag of the razor across his face? The Fusion razor and two cartridges will cost about $9.99, and Fusion Power, with one cartridge and a Duracell battery, will cost about $11.99. A four-pack of Fusion cartridges will sell for $12 to $13 and a four-pack of Fusion Power cartridges will cost $13 to $14. There is huge profit in them thar blades. I just paid around $15.00 for a pack of six blades for my razor, and I felt kind of ripped off. When did this happen? I thought.

I got back on the expensive razor wagon a while back when I shaved off my beard. But after seeing what’s happened to the razor market and pricing, I’ve let it grow back.


TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blogs.businessweek.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/

Reader Comments

Matt Duff

September 15, 2005 09:47 AM

Regarding Mr. Kiley's article regarding the the insanity of men's razors as exemplified by the new Gillette five blade razor. For sure, next we men will need a John Deere tractor to pull the soon to come six blade razor across our puss.

Not for me, thank you. I have inherited my father's Schick Injector Razor, vintage 1948. It has one cold steel blade that trims sideburns and devastates all whiskers brave enough to stand up. And blades are still marketed by CVS Pharmacies for about $3-4.00 for eleven blades.
Oh there might be a nick or cut from time to time, but you definitely get clean shave. And put that after shave on and you are set for the whole day.

Patricia Dee

September 15, 2005 08:34 PM

You'll see that the Onion predicted this exact thing in Feb '04. (language warning) Very funny.
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33930

Marc E. Babej

September 16, 2005 02:14 PM

David,
I was just going to write a post about the Fusion when I came across yours. You took the words out of my mouth – except that I don't wear a beard. ;-)
Good piece!
-Marc

Nik Dholakia

September 19, 2005 05:49 PM

It's blood money, I say... the "cost per shave" index is rising faster than real estate in Silicon Valley. Where are the Japanese "second-but-better" consumer marketers when we need them so desperately now? They are busy upgrading us from Toyotas to Lexuses! Even the rapier wielding, China-sourcing, price-slashing Wal-Mart Smiley is no match -- his deep-discounting ways tremble and humble before the rapacious appetite of those extracting the last milligram of flesh in return for the "closest shave a man can get." It is time to grow back the beards: "Men of the World Unite: You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Razor Burns!!"

Swade

September 21, 2005 10:17 PM

It should be known that an Australian comedy group - the D-Generation - did a sketch on their program 'The Late Show' that featured a 17-blade razor. This was way back in the mid 1990's. If they only knew.....

Paul

September 22, 2005 03:18 AM

Just the other day, I tried a Gem single edge blade in my antique Ever-Ready razor, and got a first-rate shave. Fun, too, since that antique razor looks like a museum piece, and I got it for about the cost of an M3 Power razor.

Single edge blades cost about $.50 each. They're probably worth that just because of the quantity of metal it uses. What I don't understand is why these blades are so easy to find when the razors they fit have been extinct for years. (You used to be able to send in $1 with a coupon from the back of the blade package to get a razor.)

I do have to admit that injector razors give a first-rate shave, and that I have more than one injector myself. Runor has it that the injector razor will be made once again, though probably by a niche manufacturer, and not by Schick, who seems about as obsessed as Gillette with this multi-blade mishegas.

Jason Kerr

September 22, 2005 10:48 PM

I for one still wish Schick hadn't made the Mach3.
I was in love the FX Diamond razor. I still had a stash of the blades until a few weeks ago. They were premium priced, but the things lasted forever.
I would go so long without changing blades that when it finally got dull, I was honestly surprised when I got nics. I was like, "What the heck is that?" Oh, it's finally time to change the blade.
I hate these stupid megamultiblade things. Talk about wasteful.

Dag

October 16, 2005 05:08 AM

It's all fine not to like the Fusion, and superficially it did appear to be just the marketing hype thing taken too far. But in fact Gillette spent over $600 million developing the razor, just like they did with Mach3 before - which is de facto the world's preferred razor.

Besides, I must say I find your complaining about the cost of shaving pretty pathetic. The new blades will sell at a fairly hefty 30% premium to today's blades; which works out to about 20 cents per shave. Personally, I think spending about 20 cents a day to save a bit of time and minimize skin irritation/damage is perfectly acceptable, and I would not even dream of saving 5 cents a day using something else if I find I prefer the Fusion. IMO Gillette makes by a mile the best razor in the world already, and the fact is that among the 9000 men who tested the upcoming model, the Fusion outperformed the Mach3, Quattro and other competitiors by the same margin (2 to 1) as the incumbent did when it was launched back in 1998.

David Risser

November 6, 2005 08:52 PM

Go get a straight razor ( they make them in stainless steel now) a brush, strop, hone, and a mug of hot water and soap.... single blade shaving at it's finest !
Try classicshaving.com for fine straight razors.
Properly cared for, a straight razor will outlast YOU...( pass it on in your will to your "little shaver") and the cost per shave becomes trifling as time goes on after your initial investment.

Korey Smith

December 24, 2005 03:49 AM

David Kiley & others:

I use Mach 3 Turbo and while I agree the prices are up there, one alternative to consider is buying the cryo'd blades from http://www.greatrazors.com/, which I have found to last longer. Also, another product to try is the RazorMax system available at http://www.razormax.com. They also sell the cryo'd blades, however, if I'm not mistaken they get them from greatrazors.com.

damian fantozzi

May 6, 2006 07:43 AM

Im with David, Get a straight razor.

Unless you think you know better than each and every one of your ancestors upto and probably including your father.

Never mind the minimal maintenance, which with the help of classicshaving.com and straightrazorplace.com and razorcentral.com is no mystery. A couple of implements, some soap and a brush and your well on your way to a lifetime of enjoying shaving.

If this doesnt seem like your style, dont worry. at least there are a few of us maintaining the tradition and passing on the knowledge. Stick to your disposables...

Archangel

April 5, 2007 10:29 AM

Go on eBay and score a vintage Gillette Super Speed razor, or an adjustable Gillette FatBoy razor.
Blades are a lot cheaper and the shave is pretty darn close.
Save dollars!

Art K

May 17, 2007 08:22 PM

I received a free Fusion in the mail, and put it aside, saying to myself, what's the big deal. I tried it when I was between blades on my Excel two blade razor. I surprised myself by thinking "this one is a keeper." Now I'm wishing I wasn't the type to not waste the five Excel blades I have left before buying a Fusion pack.

Anyone know where I can find a coupon or discont?

Dr. Lao

December 14, 2007 12:16 PM

Only the uneducated or foolish use today's new fangled razors.

Using a GEM or double edge safety razor is far superior -- closer shaves, no irritation or burns, and it's inexpensive. Wow factor: Being able to use shaving creams and soaps.

This is how a real man shaves.

Chuck

December 31, 2007 02:54 PM

The old fashioned safety razors were actually pretty good, depending on the quality of the blades you bought, of course. Then the injector razor came along and it was an improvement over the safety razor, in my opinion. Then the Gillette Trac II razor hit the market in 1972 or thereabouts -- I still think it was the best razor of all time (it accepted cartridges with two blades on one side). But everything that has come after it is just a waste of money. Three blades, four blades, and now five blades. Ridiculous. I think we've all been duped by advertising.

Lew Levin

February 17, 2008 08:30 PM

The cost of the modern disposables like Gillette mac III and Schick quatro are are absurd. The old Schick injector razors afford a great smooth and inexpensive shave. It's a shame Schick doesn't revive this razor.

Lew

TJ

June 17, 2008 10:00 AM

I can only use GEM single edge razor blazes for my eyebrows.....its become difficult in finding them now....are they sold at places like Walgreens,CVS or Right Aids?????
I NEED MY GEM SINGLE EDGE RAZOR BLADES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I live in Detroit,MI

JN

July 10, 2008 03:02 AM

Gillette needs to set up a counterfiet site because here in NZ i purchased blades from our local auction site that were fake they were blunt mach3 turbo blades i've forwarded emails today to NZ Customs to track down the importer and investigate. more and more fakes are being sound and your company suffers as a result i'm doing my bit

Reb Bahir

October 19, 2008 06:47 PM

Years ago there was a commercial for the first 2 blade razor. The catch line was 'gotcha!" SNL did a spoof with a fictitious 3 blade razor and their laugh line was 'gotcha'. How silly the whole thing has become. I use a straight razor, saving money, not having to buy blades all the time. I am ecologically ok, not having to throw away blades. And I have turned the chore of shaving into a charming morning ritual.

So it goes

rick L

October 24, 2008 08:29 PM

I have been cutting my face with single, double and triple disposable blades for years. One day I got to try a Fusion. It was like night and day. I no longer got the multiple cuts to my face and gave me a closeness the other seem to miss.

IN conlusion... the Fusion rules. If you havent tried it then why belly ache about it?

Charles

September 21, 2009 12:11 PM

After some five decades of shaving with every new razor manufactured by Gillette I have rediscovered the jobs of shaving with double edge shaver and have introduced my son to it. The shaves are good and even more enjoyable is the ritual of shaving the old fashioned way with a real metal razor and not a piece of plastic handle Gillette plus, using brush and shaving cream. The fact that you can buy ten double edge blades for about five dollars is an added bonus. You can buy a double edge shaver at eBay and pay a fortune for a used razor or buy Merkur razor, excellent German quality and engineering, or chose British Edwin Jagger Safety Razor, either way you are winner. Don’t forget lesser pollution with all the plastic cartridges and worse disposable razors.

Post a comment

 

About

News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!