Category winner: Gillette’s ‘Shave India Movement’:
Razor Sharp Against the Stubble (A)

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This case won the Knowledge, Information and Communication Systems Management category at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2018.
 
The case
Sharat Verma

Who – the protagonist

Sharat Verma, Gillette India Brand Manager.

What?

Gillette

Gillette is the dominant shaving brand worldwide, offering razors, disposable blades and shaving foam, to name just a few products.

The Gillette Company, employing 129,000 people globally, was purchased by Procter & Gamble in 2005 for $57billion.

Why?

Uncharacteristically compared to other markets, Gillette was struggling to crack India with their Mach3 razor.

There was immense potential for growth in the country, but Indian men were refusing to ditch the extremely cheap disposable razors ($0.20 on average) for the premium Mach3 ($7 for the razor and $2 for the blade), especially as they believed a different blade wouldn’t make a difference.

Verma first set about getting the Global and Engineering teams to modify the Mach3, which would eventually be priced at $2.30 for the razor and a fixed price of $2 for the blades.

Verma then moved on to perceptions, and the ‘Shave India Movement’, which would see Mach3 sales increase by 500%, had the whole of India debating the pros and cons of stubble.

shavingWhen?

The ‘Shave India Movement’ began in 2008 and by 2010, the marketing campaign had made a tremendous impact.

Where?

Gillette’s headquarters can be found in Boston, Massachusetts, with the brand boasting marketing leadership in almost all markets in the world except Japan. Gillette owns 70% or more market share in Australia, the US and Western Europe.

Key quote

“In India, if you take out the men in the population who are too old or too young to shave you still have a consumer group of 400 million. 80% of them are using this double edge blade. This is what King Gillette (founder) invented a hundred years ago!” – Sharat Verma, Gillette India Brand Manager, speaking before the ‘Shave India Movement’ really took hold of the market.

What next?

There was no doubting the ‘Shave India Movement’ had been a huge success. But what lessons could they learn from the success of the campaign, and could those lessons be applied to even more Indian consumers?

The authors

Srinivas K Reddy and Christopher Dula

authors

Srinivas reflects on Gillette trying to make its way in India, and what makes a good case.

Worldwide recognition

“It is very rewarding that the case is being used and recognised widely across many institutions,” said Srinivas.

Fulfilling potential

Srinivas commented: “Gillette is not only a global brand but also one of the most valuable in the world.

“This case illustrates the challenges that Gillette faced in India – a country with a huge potential that had not been fully tapped into.

“It also describes the innovative way that Gillette was able to face these challenges successfully.”

indiaThe allure of India

Srinivas added: “The setting in India, potentially one of the largest emerging markets, as well as the innovative, non-traditional communication that Gillette used to motivate and influence consumers, draws students to the case.”

Key to a good case

He concluded: “In my opinion, a good case should address a clear problem that firms face, provide a framework and information that offers students a challenge to explore and engage in alternative solutions, and clear takeaways which go beyond the specific case.”

About the authors

Srinivas K Reddy is Professor of Marketing at Singapore Management University.
e sreddy@smu.edu.sg

Christopher Dula was a senior case writer at Singapore Management University when the case was written. He is now a research investigator at the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.

 
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Gillette’s ‘Shave India Movement’: Razor Sharp Against the Stubble (A)
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Gillette’s ‘Shave India Movement’: Razor Sharp Against the Stubble (B)
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