28 Jul 2010
Back in 1993, I had no idea how successful King of Shaves would become in the men’s toiletries sector. In fact, I was even hesitant about the choice of brand name – King of Shaves, and the first packs we sold were actually branded KINGS – King of Shaves. But, King of Shaves ‘stuck’ and for the last 17 years, we’ve grown up to become a genuine challenger brand to Gillette & Wilkinson Sword in the cut throat shaving market. Along the way, we’ve been joined by competitors – Nivea for Men in 1999 and L’Oreal Men Expert in 2004. But, since then, there has been little in the way of men’s grooming launches in the mass sector.
In early 2010, Boots, with whom we’ve always enjoyed a close, strategic partnership asked us what we might do in “Men’s” that would be genuinely new. There was a huge temptation for me to lead the project, as I had done “back in the day” – BUT – it was time to let the next generation of guys at King of Shaves lead the way. So I stepped back, and they stepped up to the challenge. They vox pop’d young guys, 14-25 asking them what they felt was missing in the sector. Lynx was oft mentioned as a ‘staple’ brand, but outside of this – they felt there wasn’t much for them. Then, they briefed the agency behind our remarkably successful Queen of… range for women, to come up with a range that would build on the King of Shaves tradition – a ‘zag’ product, which did things differently, quirkily but with the consumer always at the forefront.
Interviews were conducted, fashion stores visited, in the UK and overseas, and within a few short weeks, we had a concept to pitch to the extremely commercial (yet willing to take a risk) team at Boots. Having stepped back from the project, I only saw the creative executions just prior to the presentation.
Wow I thought. I’d have never been able to brief out an agency to come back with these!
And, so tomorrow, in Soho, London our new range KINGS launches. Note it’s not King’s – it’s not “my” range as such. No, the team were insistent it was about making the user of the product be the star of the show, the King. But they did add in it was since 1965, the year I was born…
You can find Kings on the web here, facebook here and twitter here. Sadly, I can’t even be at the launch, due to a prior overseas commitment, but in a way – I feel glad about that. The King isn’t dead – he’s just stepped back to take stock of the Kingdom, and its time for “Long Live The Kings”.