This comment was in response to a reporter’s inquiry about Gillette and the 5-bladed razor
The blade madness in my opinion has to do with the longstanding competition between the major players in the industry. For years, BIC (a French company specializing in cheap, plastic stuff) has been trying to persuade men that shaving is a commodity and that 19 and a half cents should just about do it, while Gillette has poured millions, if not billions, into persuading guys that more blades are better.I mean if 2 blades are better than 1 blade, and 3 blades are better than 2 blades then 4 blades must be better than 3. Imagine the shock on the part of Gillette when they were beaten to the market by typical also-ran Schick who were able to offer a Four (count em, Four) bladed product ahead of Gillettes launch. It had an interesting effect of turning Gillettes own branding and advertising investments against them.
Gillette responded by pushing their own 4 blader to market ahead of schedule and then racing forward with a five-bladed offering. They also consented to be acquired by Proctor and Gamble, which to me signals that they kind of hit the end of that particular strategy.
Where will this end? I dunno. I imagine we will someday have tiny little tanks crawling across gents faces. Actually, a more realistic disruption in shaving will come from new materials. Imagine a blade made out of super tough ceramics that you never need to replace, or hair dissolving shaving cream that means you can shave quickly without any blades at all, and only a couple of times a week.
As to guys being better off? Shaving is still shaving, and for most men it is not fun, no matter how you modify the experience.