The consumer products giant, which markets some of the most famous shaving products in the world, including the Mach-3 Razor, has appointed dunnhumby cinnamon to develop targeted e-mail and direct mail communications for its Oral-B range of power toothbrushes.
The activity marks an unprecedented step for Gillette, which has previously relied on the scale of its global marketing budget, estimated to be worth more than £400m annually, to promote its products. The shift into direct marketing suggests it is now keen to build closer relationships with consumers and explore new areas of communication.
The project will also involve other areas of dunnhumby's offering, including its retail arm and data analysis unit. Dunnhumby won the business after a pitch against agencies including WWAV Rapp Collins.
Steve Clarke, Gillette's senior brand manager oral care, said: "Dunnhumby cinnamon impressed us with its ability to draw valuable insights from the segmentation of our customer base, and then create well-crafted and targeted creative communications from those insights."
It is understood that other Gillette marketers will be watching the results of the Oral-B DM project with a view to testing the medium with other company brands.
The DM appointment follows the decision in October to pool Gillette's global media account into MindShare. The UK business is estimated to be worth around £10m, and covers the Gillette and Venus razor brands, Duracell batteries, Oral-B and Right Guard deodorant.
Two months ago, Gillette reported strong quarterly financial results, with sales up 2% to $2.17bn (£1.36bn) from the same period last year.
In August, Gillette promoted Ed Shirley, president of European commercial operations, to the new post of senior vice-president, global marketing services.