Procter & Gamble plans to win with skin; outlines major expansion of Olay brand’s reach

By Dan Sewell, AP
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

P&G plans global Olay expansion

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble Co. sees its Olay skin cream brand as a major source of future growth, including with men.

A P&G executive told investors Wednesday at a Barclays Capital conference in Boston that it is launching Olay in 15 new markets this year — including Brazil, a huge and rapidly expanding economy. It plans to increase its global presence from 69 to 100 markets in two years.

Ed Shirley, vice chair of Global Beauty and Grooming. said P&G also sees good opportunities in Asian countries for male skin care products. P&G already has launched its new Olay Men Solutions in China.

“Skin care will be one of the biggest growth drivers in our total portfolio,” he said.

He noted that the Gillette brand has been adding new skin care products for men. Consumer products rival Unilever has also been rolling out men’s skin care items under its Dove and Vaseline brands.

Shirley, a Gillette executive who joined P&G in its 2005 acquisition of the Boston-based razor maker, said the premium-priced Fusion ProGlide that made its U.S. debut in June became the best-selling razor after a week. It went to market at a suggested price of $10.99 for a handle and shaving head, 10 percent more than the previous Fusion.

“When guys place sharpened steel on their face at 5 o’clock in the morning, they can tell the difference, trust me,” Shirley said. “Even at a premium, even in a challenging economic environment, guys trust the Gillette brand.”

Shirley also said the new Gain dishwashing liquid, spun off from the laundry detergent brand, had shipments in its August launch month that were three times expectations.

Meanwhile, P&G announced Wednesday that country music star Carrie Underwood will be the Olay celebrity spokeswoman for a campaign beginning this year.

P&G shares were down 23 cents, to $60.37, in early afternoon trading.

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