Schick ditches the script for rebrand targeted at everyday men

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Schick revealed a rebranding campaign that focuses on everyday men expressing their individuality, an attempt to bring more authentic representation to the razor category, according to a press release.
  • “Be You. No One Else Can.,” developed with the Edgewell Personal Care marketer’s new agency Partners & Spade, eschews working with models or celebrities to profile real men discussing what facial hair means to them. Ads directed by filmmaker Mike Mills (last year’s “C’Mon C’Mon”) are shot in stark black-and-white and feature unscripted conversations. They do not show Schick products.
  • Digital extensions include a sponsored Ask Me Anything series of discussions on Reddit encouraging users to share their personal stories and a TikTok #SchickAsks hashtag challenge posing the question, “What is something people would be surprised to know about you?” The strategy marks another instance of a razor marketer trying to break with stereotypes to instead position itself around content that’s grounded and relatable to a wider range of men.

Dive Insight:

Schick and agency Partners & Spade are taking a pared-down and digital-forward approach to reinventing the legacy razor brand in a way that could resonate with the growing number of consumers who value authenticity over the high-gloss ads of the past. Along with documentary-style ads helmed by an acclaimed indie filmmaker, the push features a simpler Schick logo, more minimalist packaging and a refreshed website. Schick is at the same time trying to spark user-generated discussions by leveraging tools on TikTok and Reddit, apps favored by younger cohorts.

The rebranding initiative followed a national survey commissioned by Schick that found 85% of men prefer to see real people depicted in ads. Seven in 10 stated that personal grooming and facial hair factor into their sense of self-expression. Schick is also acknowledging that not everyone desires a clean shave, as over 60% of respondents opt to keep some form of facial hair. That generated a need to spotlight a larger product portfolio that carries shave gels and skincare offerings.

Video ads attached to the campaign center on individual stories over product peddling. The idea is to instill confidence in men for who they already are versus presenting a monolithic idealized version of a man to strive toward.

“Shave category ads have put men in narrowly defined boxes for many years, and what we heard with our survey is that men want this type of advertising to depict real individuals,” Matt Bell, senior vice president of Schick North America, said in a press statement. “Grooming plays a key role in self-expression, so we’re reshaping the category narrative by focusing on authentic representation to resonate with our existing and broader target audience.”

Competitors have also grappled with how to meet the needs of modern audiences that have a skeptical view of ultra-macho messaging. Procter & Gamble’s Gillette in 2019 sparked a media firestorm with a campaign that tackled thorny topics like #MeToo and toxic masculinity and broadly challenged men to do better. Commercials flipped the marketer’s usual tagline of “The best a man can get” to “The best men can be.” While Gillette defended the work, more recent output has been comparatively tame. An ad the brand ran around the Super Bowl this year spent most of its airtime digging into a new razor’s features and returned to the old tagline.

Large razor marketers have struggled amid the emergence of direct-to-consumer (DTC) upstarts and as men shave less frequently. Two years ago, Schick’s owner moved to acquire Harry’s, a leading DTC razor brand, for $1.37 billion, but the deal was blocked by the FTC. Edgewell last year purchased Billie, a DTC line targeted at women, for $310 million. P&G previously attempted to acquire Billie but encountered its own regulatory hurdles.

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