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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 July, 2004, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Cleanse it like Beckham
By Jessica Atkinson
BBC Money Programme

Victoria Beckham
Is grooming girlie, or about getting the girl?
Behind the scenes at Euro 2004 there has been another battle - for the hearts, minds and faces of both the footballers and their fans.

It is all because of the booming male skincare industry and their belief that the beautiful game is a great way to get men to look more beautiful too.

UK market leaders Nivea For Men have already closely associated their brand with football. Shaving giant Gillette are launching a new skincare range for men, and they have just signed a multi-million pound deal with England captain David Beckham to be their face of the future.

The stakes are high because the potential profits to be made are huge; the women's beauty industry turns over 100bn every year and the market for men's grooming products seems to be really taking off too.

Splash it all over

UK sales of male beauty products have grown by a third in just five years. Sales of skin care products have increased by a phenomenal 900%.

Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson: "It's about looking after yourself."

"Our real long term challenge is to make this sector of male skin care as big as it is currently for women," says Joanne Mintz, marketing manager for Nivea for Men in the UK.

"That's clearly the utopia, and there's no reason why that could not happen within the next 10 to 15 years."

The BBC Money Programme investigates the tactics used by big business to convert men to willing users of products traditionally seen as "girlie" and off limits.

Reporter Rajan Datar meets Henry Cooper, the original face of 'Brut' aftershave in the 1970s, who first helped to persuade men to "splash it all over".

"The Henry Cooper Brut ad was a classic piece of marketing and branding," says Richard Holmes, the commercial director for Beauty at Boots.

"It was brilliant in its time. Taking an iconic figure whose masculinity was unquestioned and getting him to rub stuff all over him was an amazing insight into how to get men to change their behaviour."

Face care

Boots, Britain's biggest chemist, are as determined to profit from the burgeoning male grooming sector as Nivea and Gillette.

They're redesigning their shops and introducing specific "men's zones" where all male grooming products are brought together in one place. They also want a real slice of the action themselves and are launching nine new men's ranges.

David Beckham leads the England team
Can Beckham lead more men into the world of fashion?
One of them is being fronted by Jonny Wilkinson, England's hero during last year's rugby World Cup. Wilkinson himself reckons it's just common sense that men should moisturise.

"It's not about being girlie or feminine. It's about looking after yourself," he says. It turns out many of his colleagues on the England rugby team dabble in face care.

The beautiful game

It is not rugby but football, however, which is really the name of the game for the industry as it pushes its moisturising message.

Since its launch in 1998, Nivea for Men have used football to promote their brand in advertising, including perimeter boards at premiership club grounds. When they launched new products especially for men with "sensitive" skin, they teamed up with Talksport Radio's coverage of Euro 2004 in the hope that some of the glamour and interest in the tournament will rub off on them, and their sales figures.

As competition hots up on the pitch during Euro 2004, it is mirrored off the pitch by the battle of the brands fighting for market share. Gillette, the biggest global player in male grooming, have just launched their 'Complete' skin care range in the US and plan to bring it to the UK soon.

They have a strong masculine brand and they are exhorting us to "face skin care like a man!". With David Beckham on board they plan to harness his influence as a global icon and a self-confessed cleansing and moisturising man to convince even more of the male population.

Staying power

Both Nivea and Gillette had hoped that England would do well in Euro 2004 to ensure the eyes and ears of fans were focused on the tournament, and therefore their brands, for longer.

David Beckham
Beckham: A self-confessed cleansing and moisturising man.
However, England was forced out of the tournament at the quarter final stage after losing to Portugal on penalties. One of them was missed by David Beckham and he has been bearing the brunt of press and public disappointment. It has not been the best result for his corporate sponsors but they, at least, say they are sticking by him.

"We have a long term relationship with this guy and it's built on the performance element and the whole style icon side of it," says Scott O'Hara, general manager for Gillette in the UK.

"He's a leading footballer, one of the best footballers in the world and that's not going to change overnight."

Cleanse it like Beckham was broadcast on BBC Two at 1930 on Wednesday 7 July.



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