Unilever has extended its Dove range into the male grooming market and is trialling the new products Dove Men + Care in Italy. Branding experts believe that if the products are launched in the UK they could be more successful than the company’s Lynx range. The Dove Men + Care range is targeted at the over 35-year-olds and includes five deodorants and two shower gels.

Daryl Fielding, who is credited with masterminding Dove’s Real Beauty campaign strategy when at Ogilvy & Mather, says that a men’s range was under discussion during her time at the brand. She says: “The essence of the brand is about honesty and not conforming to stereotypes of beauty. That essence is eminently usable for a men’s brand.”

Colin Hession, managing director of Colin Hession Consulting, adds: “At last it seems Unilever is having a proper go at building on the unique position it has created in the male grooming category with Axe {Lynx in the UK}. If it works, Axe users will no longer have to graduate to the opposition, Nivea Men, L’Oréal Men Expert or Gillette when they grow up.”

The niche exists, according to Caroline Wilde, head of retail at brand consultancy Live & Breathe. She says: “It’s an unfulfilled market. Nivea had some success so the market is there but it is not saturated like the female market.” She adds that shower gels and deodorants are a safe entry to the male market where face creams and beauty products are less popular. However, Andrew Mulholland, head of client services at Future Brand London, says: “Dove’s positioning in the UK is based on the Real Beauty campaign. How do you translate that positioning into the male market?”

The Dove Men + Care brand has been registered with the Intellectual Property office, but Unilever says there are no imminent plans for a UK launch. Fielding left her position as commercial director at The Independent this week.