BIC Wraps Up Direct Sampling Drop for Shaver

BIC Consumer Products is concluding the final phase of a 3.2-million-piece direct mail sampling drop of its year-old BIC Softwin shaver.

Around 25,000 consumers will receive by mail a sample containing two Softwin shavers and a $1 repurchase coupon. It is packaged in a green-hued carton with a die-cut window to display the product.

"The objective was to generate trial of Softwin shavers," said Randy Musiker, vice president of Source Marketing, a Westport, CT, agency that handles the BIC shaver account.

Kicking off in June, the sampling effort comes almost a year after the debut of a $20 million worldwide television campaign by TBWA Worldwide for Softwin.

"We wanted to get shavers into consumers' hands for summer, the peak season for shaving," Musiker said.

Men and women tend to shave more often in the summer, based on the higher sales during that season as seen by BIC.

For this effort, BIC, Milford, CT, rented a compiled consumer list. The demographics included adults ages 25 to 44 with a high school or college education and an annual household income of more than $40,000.

"To help us narrow it down even more from there, we looked at our market geographically and targeted the surrounding areas of major BIC retailers," said Susan Lanzarotto, BIC product manager for shavers.

As with all sampling efforts, the main goal of this push by Source Marketing is to get products into consumers' hands in a market hotly contested by Gillette Co. and Schick.

"When you're able to do a promotion like this, you're able to really hit that target consumer, so the likelihood that you'll reach a potential user and repeat customer is that much greater," Lanzarotto said.

"We're also doing free-standing inserts, retailer promotions, etc.," Lanzarotto said. "This direct marketing program was an essential part of our entire marketing program to gain trial, penetration and sales."

BIC traditionally has used free-standing inserts and bonus packs to drive purchase of its shavers, which, along with stationery products and lighters, form BIC USA Inc.'s product portfolio.

Other alternatives considered for Softwin shavers, but not pursued, included newspaper pouches, co-op sample packs, intercept and direct to door. But BIC did implement an online sampling promotion in May, working with

While BIC expects to have created a significant branding impact with this sampling exercise, tangible results are expected only in November.

The ultimate hope is that the Softwin drop will succeed at strongly plucking at the sleeves of consumers looking for a one-piece shaver.

"When you have a new product out in the market, the first two years are essential in building consumer trial," Lanzarotto said.

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