Big business, ad firms and marketing agencies have been toying with us for years, telling and selling the consumer – that would be you and me – all the sorts of things we need to make our life wonderful and perfect.
So we buy shoes that add a spring to our step, shirts and blouses that are stylish and lovely; trucks that are “ram tough” and cars that are zoom-terrific; we drink beer because it’s for the, ahhh, common guy and wine because it’s oh-so elegant. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.
And all of that’s okay as long as we know it’s absolute bull and we’re buying stuff because, for whatever reason, we happen to like a particular product. All of this is preamble, my long-winded – but hopefully enjoyable and entertaining – way to expose one of the longest lasting and most successful marketing schemes to be lathered upon the American public.
It’s really cutting edge stuff – not the marketing plan but the product itself. I’m talking razors, both the thingy you hold in your hand and the blades that do the work. Two mega-companies, Gillette and Schick, dominate the market – between them they rake in over $4 billion annually. The corporations, not happy enough with this mountain of cash, continue to come up with outlandish products that essentially do the same thing the companies have been offering for decades.
All of this became clear during a recent shopping trip to my local supermarket where I spent 30 minutes sorting through an assortment of razors, blades, creams, deodorants, body washes and hair care products offered by Gillette, Schick and some smaller competitors.
I was simply looking for some additional blades for my Gillette “Sensor” when I spotted the latest addition to the company’s line – the Fusion ProGlide Razor, not to be confused with last year’s model, the Mach3 Turbo.
The Fusion ProGlide I have since learned comes with re-engineered low cutting force blades with thinner and finer edges; includes Fusion’s most advanced low-resistance blade coating, improved blade suspension and, drum roll please, has a 25 percent larger “lubraStrip”! Oh, right, it also comes with a re-designed handle.
By the way, just for the sake of comparison, at the bottom of the Gillette razor food chain there’s the Sensor Disposable Razor. You can pick up eight of these plastic gadgets for about the same price – $10, give or take – as one Fusion ProGlide.
The marketing gurus at Gillette actually make it a difficult choice which device to pick, writing in poetic, glowing terms about the disposable razor's nifty qualities – soft, protective layers over the blades, three spring mounted Sensor blades on a pivoting head, optimal shave indicator strip and a uniquely shaped, non-slip rubber handle.
Folks. It’s a RAZOR! They all come with a handle and a head that holds a blade. It doesn’t really matter all that much if it’s red, blue, gold or silver, if the handle is ergonomically engineered or an ice cream stick with a blade taped to one end.
Gillette, Schick and all the rest will continue rolling out new models, featuring 3, 4, even 5 blades – would that be the Mach5 Turbo Razor – as long as we continue to pay for such nonsense.
I suggest saving your money and growing a beard. Of course then you’ll probably need to start buying Gillette’s new TurboSudsShampoo, made especially for beards. And no doubt next year you’ll be able to purchase TurboSuds2, featuring lavender bubbles and an ergonomically designed rubberized grip.
SOMETHING NEW: Well, not really. Razors (photo above) have been around forever. The only thing new is the rubberized grip and the marketing hype!