Just when we were getting used to the term "fake news" being tossed around with increased regularity, now we've got a case of alleged fake brand news.
Back in December, Gillette launched a campaign dubbed "Welcome Back," claiming that "most guys leave Harry's after trying it." It then features shots of supposedly real men—Dennis from Riverside! Pete from Wichita!—and their reasons for ditching the upstart online retailer.
No word on what Gabe Kaplan thought of it, but Harry's wasn't impressed, hitting back with counter-claims that of the more than 375,000 customers who subscribed to Harry's in the past six months, 81% of them have purchased additional Harry's product. The brand's general counsel Jack Sarno sent a letter to P&G chief legal officer Deborah Majoras accusing the company of using false data. The letter calls out alleged misleading statements in the campaign, specifically Harry's customer retention rates, and asks Gillette to fix the error, with data to support their claim.
"We assume that the false claim in Gillette's ad is an innocent mistake and that Gillette would not intentionally mislead consumers . . ."
A source close to Harry's sent Co.Create a copy of the letter.
Harry's is on the charm offensive lately, last week launching a charming short doc chronicling the brand story with co-founders Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield.
UPDATED: A Gillette spokesperson has responded to Co.Create for "the opportunity to let you know how we are thinking about the campaign and Harry’s reaction:
1. Harry’s may not like the data they are seeing, but the simple truth is: our data is accurate, independent and publicly available data from Slice Intelligence that confirms that more than half of guys are not returning to Harry’s after trying it. You are free to reach out to them directly in order to independently verify and report on the actual facts. (ed. note: An August report from Slice reported that Harry's first-time online buyer retention in Q1 2015 was 24%, versus Gillette's at less than 10%).
2. Equally—Harry’s may not like the core message of our campaign that quality matters. But reality is, quality does matter, and the more than 750 million men worldwide who use our products are a testimony to that
3. And lastly, this campaign has never been about us. It’s about the more than 180,000 people who already came back to the Gillette family since launch of the campaign – another proof that in the end, it all comes back to a high quality shaving experience. Clever marketing and repackaging store-brand technology from the 1970’s is just not enough, and men deserve better than that."