“Having a beautiful smile guarantees both professional and personal success.” At least this is one of the main arguments Unilever will put forward in campaigns advertising their latest innovation, White Now Men, a whitening toothpaste formula destined for men only. This is a world first which, according to the group, should contribute to the growth of a dynamic market driven by the increased value given to supply. In France, where White Now Men has been marketed by the Signal  brand since the beginning of January, the toothpaste market represents about €450 million, and its value grew by 5 % in 2013 (1 % in volume).
White Now Men is based on the Blue Light technology developed and patented by Unilever, and offers instant, temporary whiteness. In practice, users just have to drop a blue pigment onto their tooth surface to neutralize the yellow colouring of teeth and make them visibly whiter after brushing, thanks to an optical effect. This technology already proved effective when the first White Now toothpaste was launched in 2008 as a product destined for the whole family. Then in 2013, a Gold version was added to the range, with higher levels of Blue Light pigments, but it was more specifically targeted at young women.
“We designed it as a real beauty product whose 50 ml travel size made it easy to slip into a handbag”, explains Alice Jactel, Manager of the Signal brand at Unilever.
Unilever has thus decided to target men who, according to the group, have very specific needs in this respect: clinical studies conducted in the USA and the UK have shown that, on average, men’s teeth are more stained and yellow than women’s. And there is a particular reason to this, which is their life hygiene: they consume more tobacco, alcohol, especially red wine, and coffee. And Unilever has another argument: men have different, more pronounced tastes.
According to Unilever, demand already exists. Indeed, a Harris Interactive omnibus survey conducted on 480 men in May 2013 revealed that more than 50 % of them already use their own toothpaste, while 29 % share it with the rest of the family. The same study showed ¼ of men would be interested in toothpaste whose taste would be adapted to their preferences.
A real growth driver
The new Signal White Now Men toothpaste is available in two references: Super Pure was specifically designed to fight against nicotine, coffee, wine and tea stains, and Deep Cool offers a very fresh, lasting taste. Unilever added green pigments to the Blue Light technology, so that teeth can get even whiter and less stained. The point is to guarantee an immediate effect on a sensitive issue since, according to a Signal/GMI study conducted on 420 individuals, men and women alike are convinced their smile is a key element in men’s success. A “cute smile” would even be the first attractiveness criterion for 47 % of women, before humour, style, glibness or bank accounts. In addition, 86 % of the people polled think a man with white teeth is more attractive than others.
Unilever is definitely ready to cash in on such demand and go on putting the toothpaste market forward, as it is greatly stimulated by innovation. The White Now range already holds 6 % of the whole French market, and 30 % of the whiteness sector. White Now Men should be sold between €3.50 and 3.60, about 5 % more than the other references of the range. “We do think that, just like White Now Gold, it will contribute to driving the market up,” concludes Alice Jactel.