Getting emotional about razor cartridges
How do you feel about these two Gillette razor blades? Do you like one over the other? Which one would you use?
Though they may seem very similar except for the very obvious color choice, I feel that there will be a big difference in the way the two are used. The key is the color.
The one on the left, designed for Gillette Fusion razors, was launched earlier. The one on the right, designed for Gillette Fusion Power razors, was an enhancement to the product line. Thoughtfully or not, the designers have hit upon a great idea. First we need to understand how Gillette makes money. A Fusion razor kit is priced at $11.29 MSRP (as on 23-Sep-2015), which includes a razor, 2 cartridges, and an organizer, whereas Fusion cartridge is priced at $17.99 MSRP for a pack of 4. Gillette estimates that people can use a cartridge for five weeks – https://vimeo.com/39102643. I find that the last one in my pack of four lasts appreciably longer than the first three, much longer than five weeks. More cartridges mean more profit for Gillette.
Gillette has a problem, it has to get people to use more and more cartridges without degrading (perception of) blade quality. This is where orange colored “Flexible Comfort Guard” comes in. The image below is a blade that has been used just twice. The specks of black that you see on the comfort guard are hairs that are notoriously difficult to wash away. The orange color has increased visibility of hairs which was earlier less apparent in the blue background color in the earlier version. The emotion of disgust I have when looking at a used cartridge has been effectively dialed up. Over time, most probably lesser than in five weeks, it will get disgusting enough for me to throw this one away and use a new one.
Disgust as an emotion has a very powerful hold on our behavior. We are shaped by evolution to react to disgusting stimuli – usually to avoid, sometimes to clean. Product designers in toilet space have long thought about how to avoid disgust; high function Japanese toilets (Toto NEOREST for example) which play fake flushing sounds, spray fragrance are all example of this in action. Gillette’s design is a good example of a product using our reaction to disgusting stimuli.