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Shave for swipes

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our customisable research platform featuring the world’s most innovative, creative and effective ad campaigns and marketing ideas

Male grooming brand partners with Tinder to prove that hairiness isn’t hot

Global male grooming brand Gillette has partnered with dating appTinder to prove its hypotheses that women prefer a clean-shaven face.

The Shave Test involved analysing the popularity of 100,000 male Tinder users between 18 and 24, to find out whether men with facial hair were more or less successful at scoring matches than those without. The results showed that well-groomed guys got 37% more matches than their scruffy counterparts.

A second experiment recruited 17 guys who had only unshaven photos on their Tinder profile. After a week, they updated their profiles with photos of themselves with finely groomed faces, allowing Gillette and Tinder to see if this affected their appeal to the ladies. Results showed it did: in fact, shaving created a 19% uplift in right (‘I’m interested’) swipes.

The brand also conducted surveys across ten different college campuses to collect more data which found, for example, that nine in ten women believed that well-groomed men are more attractive.

The results are hosted on and have also been crafted into shareable pictures (see above).

To further spread their message, Gillette travelled around different colleges in its Shave and Release campaign. This involved enlisting sororities to uncover the college’s grisliest men and persuading them to let Gillette tackle their fluff.


Contagious Insight / 

Escaping a hairy situation / The recent hipster-fuelled beard trend and charity event Movember has caused the shaving market in the developed world to significantly shrink, according to a 2014 article in the Financial Times: ‘Procter & Gamble, Gillette’s owner, said the Movember movement, which began in 2003 in Australia, had magnified a deeper-seated trend that is more troubling to razor makers: a decline in facial shaving.’ So while this campaign is fun and playful, it has an important underlying commercial aim. Luckily for Gillette, the beard may well have recently peaked in trendiness anyway. This campaign has the potential to aid the demise of the craze. The Google Trends graph below shows the rise and recent dip of ‘beard’ as a search term since 2009:

A sprouting audience / What’s interesting about this campaign is the younger demographic that Gillette is targeting. These freshly-fluffy faces will be just starting to form their grooming habits, and by aligning with them at a young age, Gillette can hope to remain their go-to shaving brand as they grow up.

Plus, younger men are particularly impressionable when it comes to tips about impressing women. For example, many male students treat Neil Strauss’ The Game like a bible. By harnessing Tinder statistics, the brand is offering horny college kids a tangible benefit of using its products, not just a ‘look’.

De-tangling data sets / The results of Gillette’s research seem simple on the surface and certainly provide some attention-grabbing stats (19% increase in female attention after you shave!), but the many different experiments, figures and vague wording makes it all bit confusing when you look closely. For example, the claim that ‘nine out of ten women agree that a well-groomed man is more attractive’, when ‘well groomed’ could mean a number of things other than ‘clean shaven’. We suspect that the picture is not quite as clean-cut as Gillette would have us believe.

However, perhaps getting fussy about the presentation of the numbers is to miss the point. It’s a fun bit of PR and is convincing enough to challenge beard fans.

The Shave Test


This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O contact