GSK unveils raft of oral care launches to beat back Colgate

GlaxoSmithKline is poised for a head-on battle with oral care market leader Colgate-Palmolive when it launches a raft of new products under its brands Aquafresh, Macleans and Sensodyne.

The company is launching a range of products under its Macleans brand, called Macleans Confidence. The company aims to attract new users by placing “social confidence” at the heart of its positioning. The new line comprises a gel-to-foam toothpaste, a mouthwash and, in what GSK claims is a first for a major brand, a mouth spray. A major marketing push will support the launch in late spring.

Under its Aquafresh brand, GSK is launching its first manual and vibrating interdental toothbrush, which is “inspired by dental floss” the company says. The Aquafresh Interdental Action will be available in manual and gentle “buzz” versions. The launch will receive significant marketing support. The brand, the UK’s third largest, behind Colgate and Macleans, will also extend the Aquafresh Iso-active toothpaste range with a whitening variant.

GSK is also extending its Sensodyne range with versions using GSK’s iso-active technology, which transforms gel into microfine foam that the company claims penetrates hard to reach areas.

The launches form a strong challenge to Colgate-Palmolive which, although market leader with Colgate accounting for 27% of the oral hygiene market, has seen slower growth than rival GSK. GSK has a market share of 20%. In the key toothpaste segment, GSK brands grew by 9.8% between 2006 and 2008, whereas Colgate-Palmolive’s market share rose by 3.9% in the same period according to Mintel.

Chairman and chief executive of News Corp Europe and Asia James Murdoch has just been appointed a non-executive director of GSK.

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