INTERNATIONAL NEWS: H&K bags Gillette hi-tech toothbrush launch

LONDON: Gillette Group UK has hired Hill & Knowlton to handle the product PR launch for a hi-tech toothbrush from the UK's biggest-selling brand, Oral-B.

LONDON: Gillette Group UK has hired Hill & Knowlton to handle the product PR launch for a hi-tech toothbrush from the UK's biggest-selling brand, Oral-B.

The consumer account, which carries fees of more than dollars 150,000, was awarded last week following a three-way pitch against The Grove and Sandpiper Communications. The Grove did not end up entirely empty-handed, however, as it won an account to handle Gillette's dental accessories, including floss.

Oral-B has a 20.4% share of the UK manual toothbrush market, ahead of Johnson & Johnson (18.1%) and SmithKline Beecham's Macleans and Aquafresh (15.1%).

H&K, which already handles PR for Gillette's other consumer brands (Duracell batteries and Parker pens) has been charged with mounting a high-impact campaign to launch the new Oral-B CrossAction toothbrush as a hi-tech product. The company spent nearly dollars 2 million in clinical research on CrossAction, involving 4,000 consumers and 600 dental professionals.

'Oral-B asked us to create a Mach 3-style launch for its new toothbrush,' said H&K board director Dan Holliday. 'We're confident our program will deliver this.' H&K plans to promote the new brush across all media, from national newspapers to lifestyle consumer magazines such as Cosmopolitan and GQ.

H&K will also handle PR for Gillette's power-assisted range of toothbrushes.

The agency also announced plans to set up a new environmental practice, to be headed by Andrew Pharoah, a director of its public and corporate affairs division. It is designed to help clients cope with the environmental aspects of corporate reputation.

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