King of Shaves is backing the launch of its “revolutionary” Hyperglide razor - claimed to eliminate the need for shaving foam - by sponsoring a professional videogaming team.
It is hoping the “six-figure” deal with gaming team Fnatic will help to raise its profile among 18 to 24-year-olds, a market it has admitted struggling to reach. Brands including Coca-Cola and Monster have entered into similar deals to support ‘eSports’ in which teams compete in videogames for cash prizes and are watched by millions of fans online.
The sponsorship deal comes as King of Shaves rolls out Hyperglide, which founder Will King predicted would also help the brand reach a younger audience.
Hyperglide features patented self-lubricating technology that creates gel when it comes into contact with water, negating the need for foam (rsp: £9.99 for handle with one cartridge or a three-cartridge pack).
King described the NPD as an “iPhone moment” for the company, which he said had spent four years and £5m developing the product.
Predicting first-year sales of £2m to £3m, King will be hoping the launch and sponsorship deal will help to reverse a 30.3% slump in sales of King of Shaves to £1.9m [Nielsen 52 w/e 12 October 2013]. King said the decline was predominantly caused by a reduction in availability of its Azor system in preparation for Hyperglide.
Branding expert Giles Lury, chairman at agency The Value Engineers, said King of Shaves was probably one of the few brands that had the potential to carve out a niche in a market dominated by Gillette and Wilkinson Sword.
“It’s good to see it has avoided producing ’just another blade”, he said.
Hyperglide rolls into Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco next week, followed by Morrisons and Waitrose in the spring.