Gillette Kicks Off New Ads With NFL’s Matt Ryan

Procter & Gamble has introduced two new razors under the Gillette Fusion line, and is promoting the launch in a campaign starring Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan.

Ads for the new razors—Gillette Fusion MVP and Gillette Fusion Power MVP—are running on network and cable TV, starting today (Monday). They feature the League’s 24-year-old “2008 Rookie of the Year,” who confronts different extremes of the football field—from mud-splattering collisions to brutal winter conditions. “My face takes enough abuse. That’s why I use Gillette Fusion for my sensitive skin,” he says. The ad goes on to describe how Fusion’s five-blade shaving surface technology keeps Ryan looking his best until the next game. “Fusion: Proven performance on sensitive skin,” Ryan says in the closing shot. Omnicom’s BBDO, New York, created the spot.

The campaign is part of P&G’s ongoing, multi-year partnership with the NFL, which allows the packaged goods giant to print the logo, “Official Locker Room Product of the NFL” on select products, including Head & Shoulders shampoo and Old Spice deodorants.

P&G, which earlier this year expanded its men’s grooming business to include high-end brands like Zirh and The Art of Shaving, said the ads tap into guys’ concern over sensitive skin, which affects 40 percent of U.S. males. The condition is worse for those involved in sports or outdoor physical activity, per the company.

“Matt Ryan is one of the NFL’s rising stars and his performance on and off the field makes him a perfect fit for Gillette,” Michelle Potorski, associate marketing director of Gillette North America, said in a statement. “We teamed up with Matt because he has sensitive skin and he knows firsthand how shaving with Fusion, Gillette’s most comfortable shave, can provide a solution.”

Both Gillette Fusion MVP and Gillette Fusion MVP Power retail for $11.99 on average. The products hit stores earlier this month.

Earlier this month, P&G inked another sports deal with the U.S. Olympics Committee. Brands such as Olay, Pantene, Secret and Oral B are included in the deal, which gives P&G sponsorship rights in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and London 2012 Games.
In picking Ryan for the ads, P&G is aligning itself with its core audience: Men who are interested in shaving and good grooming habits, said Kevin Adler, founder of sports marketing firm Engage Marketing, Chicago. But to be successful, partnerships like these often hinge on how well integrated and relevant they are to consumers’ lives, he said.

“[Successful sports sponsorships] go way beyond telling the consumer that you’re in the game. [It’s about] how you add value, and that’s where you end up going beyond awareness to what we call true brand engagement,” Adler said. Gillette Fusion, no doubt, has the necessary brand awareness, but it remains to be seen what P&G does to take that engagement one step further, such as consumer promotions, Adler added.

P&G spent $59 million advertising its Gillette Fusion product line in 2008, excluding online, per Nielsen. It spent $32 million through July of this year.