Our Work – New Product Innovation

Edge Saver – Identify and solve a consumer need

Freebie marketing (“Give ’em the razor; sell ’em the blades”) is said to have originated with Gillette razors. But for this model to remain profitable, after receiving the “benefit” of the free razor, consumers must buy multiple blade refills from the manufacturer. A third party product innovation which allowed consumers to reduce or avoid their subsequent refill blade expenditures disrupts the entire category.

Category Background and Innovation Opportunity

  • “High margins attract new competitors, while low margins attract new consumers.” For years, new competitive entrants to the razor blade category had been kept at bay by Gillette’s brand share and distribution dominance. But the category value chain was so distorted, it was only a matter of time before outside competitors broke through where the margins were highest.
  • In the “razors and blades” business model, the manufacturer gives the consumer the razor or sells it to them below cost, and then takes exorbitant profits on the refill blades. Keeping consumers “in the game” requires almost constant meaningful new product innovation.
    Gillette’s “Let’s just keep adding more blades” approach to new products had become so uninspired, in 2004, they were lampooned ‘n the satirical newspaper, The Onion.
  • The freebie marketing tactics are being mimicked today in categories as varied as inkjet printers and ink cartr’dges, “Swiffers” and cleaning fluid, mobile phones and service contracts, and game consoles and video games.
  • Consumers enjoy the initial “freeb’e”, but often experience refill price “sticker shock”, and then quickly resent the refill “extortion”. They are very receptive to any innovation which can tilt the value equation to their advantage.
  • The potential refill razor blade market is huge. The safety razor industry is an estimated $3 bill’on dollar industry in the U.S. alone. Other sources estimate two billion razor blades are discarded annually ‘n the U.S.

New Products Solution

  • A new product innovation that protects the razor blade.
  • A single blade can now last more than six weeks, and also provide a cleaner closer shave.
    • Consumers are surprised to learn the razor blades they throw away aren’t dull; they’re corroded.
    • Edge Saver’s patented hydrophobic oil protects the blade from the corrosion.
    • Saves money – Edge Saver pays for itself almost immediately.
    • Clean blade means cleaner closer shaves.


  • Featured on QVC’s “Quest for America’s Best”
  • Quickly disrupted the category price/value equation.
    • Gillette debuted a 2nd 30-second television spot telling viewers what they never heard before – that the company’s blades can last at least five weeks.
    • As Fortune magazine observed in a 2012 feature article on Gillette, “Talking about a blade’s life span used to be taboo in razor marketing. Then hard times hit.”
  • In 2014, now owned by P&G, Gillette introduced the overpriced and thoroughly unessential, New “Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall”. The irony of a 21st century razor blade manufacturer ignoring the simple 13th century wisdom of Occam’s Razor.