Schick Wilkinson Sword: how a number two brand used social media to take on Gillette

Geoffrey Precourt

Even with an imaginative new product extension in hand, being the number-two brand in a market where your primary competitor has a 90-percent share and a parent company 50 times the size of your own is not an enviable marketing proposition.

For Jeff Chapman, director of global brand communications at Schick & Wilkinson Sword, a subsidiary of Energizer Holdings, the solution was simple: Go up against Procter & Gamble's Gillette with "something different."

In fact, Chapman brought two points of difference in marketing the new Schick Hydro: a new category definition and a new reliance on digital and social media.

Chapman, who ran the Shick account from 2000 to 2006 at JWT (where he also served as the global lead for business development), told the first Digital and Social Media Conference of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), that a new brand positioning reflects the idea that "shaving is about taking care of skin - not just removing whiskers. If we presented it as a less stressful, more pleasurable experience, we might have something that could equalize the playing field."