Unilever Hoping to Sweat Out Smaller Brands With Rexona Deodorant Launch

Firm believes they can hold half of Israeli market in 5 years.

Unilever Israel is looking to double its share of the deodorant market in Israel, with the help of a new offering: Rexona. The company already markets Dove and Axe deodorants.

"Within five years we intend to reach a 50% share of the deodorant category," says Anat Gavriel, deputy head of the global categories division at Unilever Israel.

"Rexona alone should reach a market share of 20%," she projects, adding that in the company's opinion, smaller brands will disappear entirely.

Unilever Israel will be offering 24 new products, which Gavriel sees changing deodorants shelves as Israeli consumers know them.

In half the countries where it is sold, Rexona commands a leading position, says Unilever Israel.

That includes South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, the U.S., Russia and Norway.

Deodorant sales ran at NIS 166 million in 2009.

Recent product launches include CosmoPharm, a body spray for men called Kef, and L'Oreal product Garnier.

According to the Nielsen market research firm, Unilever has been the market leader in Israel this year, with a 23.7% share, selling Dove and Axe.

Second in line is Schestowitz, with 21.1% of the market. It sells Speed Stick and Lady Speed Stick.

Competition in deodorants is fierce.

In the last two months, investment in advertising has increased by 48%, according to Ifat Business Information - but the figure may be misleading, given that the increase is almost entirely due to two companies.

One is Procter and Gamble, which sells Gillette: it has spent NIS 3.3 million in the last two months compared with NIS 1.3 million in all of 2009.

The other is L'Oreal, which has spent NIS 1.4 million on promoting Garnier products for women.

Unilever Israel plans to spend NIS 12 million on campaigns promoting Rexona, with the slogan "It won't let you down."

It will be spending NIS 8 million more on promoting Dove and Axe, an increase of 40% compared with its spending on these brands last year.