If it wasn’t for the US Armed Forces, men would probably still be taking a trip to the barber shop for a shave every few days.
Because during World War I, to supply all of its troops the U.S. government ordered 3.5 million disposable razors and 36 million blades from a new company called Gillette.
This meant that small player Gillette had to work shifts around the clock and hire over 500 new employees.
From a marketing perspective, this deal introduced a massive chunk of the target market to the Gillette disposable razor, and indeed self-shaving. And when they returned from the war, they needed new blades to fit the razors they had been issued, and so a captive market was formed.
Then again during World War II, almost the entire production of Gillette razors and blades went to the military, and they needed blades when they returned. And so the growth cycle continued.
In summary, Gillette have a lot of reason to thank the US Armed Forces.
To show their thanks, Gillette have now launched limited edition, Armed Forces special issue razors that support the United Service Organisation, a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale and recreational services to members of the military.
Good on you Gillette for recognizing who your core customers are! Now if only we could shave down Bin Laden.
Here is one I spotted in Walmart, and should have bought. Check out the thickness of that handle, its battle ready!