Gillette signs up football stars including Messi to boost sales

Gillette is looking to counter the impact of beard-growing hipsters globally by signing up football players including Lionel Messi and England goalkeeper Joe Hart for the launch of its global football strategy that aims to take advantage of the hype around this year’s World Cup.

Video: Lionel Messi and Roger Federer star in Gillette’s new “Trading Places” ad

The campaign, “Fans of Steel”, aims to “reward and celebrate” football fans that show unwavering support for their team. To mark the launch, Messi is starring in a “Trading Places” ad, alongside tennis player Roger Federer, which sees them transported from reality to fantasy as they use different special edition Gillette razors.

Federer tries out the razor with the colours of the Japanese team and is transported to Asia where he tries out sumo wrestling, while Messi takes a trip to India for a game of cricket.

The new line of razors is available in the colours of the national football teams, including England and Brazil. They will be available to buy until 31 July.

Gillette is also encouraging football fans to share their stories through the hashtag #InnerSteel.

The new campaign comes after Gillette sales were hit in the last quarter as men’s shaving habits change. Both stubble and beards are growing in popularity, exacerbated last quarter by the rise of Movember, which asks men not to shave in November to raise awareness of and funds for prostate cancer.

There is also trend among cash-strapped consumers to switch to cheaper disposable razors from brands such as Bic. P&G’s chief financial officer, Jon Moeller, said that in the final quarter of last year the shaving market in the developed world contracted.

Sales at P&G’s grooming business, which includes Gillette, were flat.

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