Something smells funny: 48-hour antiperspirant


How to explain the onslaught of 48-hour antiperspirants and deodorants in the shopping aisles of the supermarkets and pharmacies of the nation? The ubiquity of these products—from category leaders like Dove, Degree, Secret, Sure, Speed Stick, RightGuard and Neutrogena—is a puzzle indeed.

So many questions.

Although 48-hour protection is certainly a category innovation, is it a feature people want, need or crave?

Who would use it? (Someone who just pulled an all-nighter at the office and is going directly to the new business pitch? An oil rig worker?) And why are marketing departments being so demure about it? Where are the national campaigns? The PR pushes? The social media blitzes? The Youtube videos of college boys (Freshmen!) having ‘man smell’ competitions?

When it comes to communicating the merits of 48-hour protection, the commercials I’ve seen miss the mark. An ad for Secret Outlast Clear Gel features a female photographer snapping pictures of squirming, rowdy children. The tagline: Fearlessness. Apply daily. Unless this woman is booking appointments long past bedtime, the premise doesn’t align with the product benefit. Ditto for Speedstick Gear which shows men testing the promise of 48-hour protection under extreme conditions like race car driving and a bungee jump that lasts 30 seconds.

All say strong when they should have said long.

Sloppy marketing? Not so fast. This brand extension just might be the victim of something else: irrelevance.

No matter how you slice it, the merits of two-day sweat prevention are dubious for anyone but a survivalist. And this comes through in an inability to position the problem this product is supposed to be solving.

Consumers don’t buy products, they buy solutions. In the absence of a clear purpose or raison d’etre, people will draw their own conclusions. Especially if the premise feels sensationalistic, doesn’t translate easily into real life, or begs a raised eyebrow.

The de facto position for 48-hour antiperspirant?

For people too lazy to shower.

What’s your take on 48-hour deodorant? From a marketing or user POV, is there something we’re missing?


About the blogger: Katherine Gougeon, Felicity Brand Strategist
An award-winning writer and strategist who specializes in identifying, articulating, and communicating what makes a brand indispensable to its audience.

Posted on: March 9th, 2015 by

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