Wilkinson Sword hopes to take a bigger cut of Gillette’s share of the shaving category with a £4m relaunch.

The British brand will roll out new pack designs from early May that it claims will offer shoppers “a more unified and contemporary appearance on the shaving fixture”.

The Wilkinson Sword logo will be bolder and on-pack imagery would be “brighter and fresher,” said the company. Razors in the men’s and women’s ranges will also receive upgrades, including improvements to the conditioning strips.

Combined with the £4m ad campaign, which breaks on April 8, Wilkinson Sword predicted the relaunch would accelerate brand sales, which jumped 11% to £54m over the past year [Nielsen 52w/e 20 February 2010]. Market leader Gillette, meanwhile, slumped 5% to £211.7m, dragging total category sales down 1.1% to £299.5m.

Wilkinson Sword marketing manager Wibke Stoffers said the relaunch would position the brand as “a stronger and more credible challenger to Gillette”. “The recession has certainly impacted the market, with consumers less reluctant to trade up to premium lines,” she said. “The volume sold on deal has also shot up.

“However, we have seen our sales grow faster than Gillette’s because of our commitment to bring relevant NPD to the category.”

The ads will feature a woman sprucing up foliage and a razor shaving the New York skyline under the strapline ‘Free your skin’.