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Norelco is the American brand name for electric shavers and other personal care products made by the Consumer Lifestyle division of Philips.

Norelco and Philishave[edit]

Main article: Philishave

For personal care products marketed outside the USA, Philips used the Philishave trademark until 2006. Philips then dropped that name and began using the Philips name.

History of the name[edit]

From the early 1940s, Philco was legally able to prevent Philips from using the name "Philips" on any products marketed in the USA, because the two names were judged to sound similar and that it may cause litigation. As a result, Philips instead used the name Norelco, an acronym for "North American Philips [electrical] Company." Philips continued to use that name for all their US products until 1974, when Philips purchased The Magnavox Company. Philips then relabeled their US consumer electronics products to the Magnavox name, but retained the Norelco name for their other US products. When Philips bought Philco in 1981, Philips was able to freely use the Philips name for all of their US products, but they chose to retain the Norelco name for personal care appliances, and the Magnavox name for economy-priced consumer electronics.

One reason for retaining the Norelco name for personal care appliances was that a shift to the Philips name could have alienated those US buyers who were reluctant to purchase foreign brands. The market share of Philips, a European company, was very low in the US compared to other countries; with their Norelco and Magnavox brands, they were able to get a larger market share.[1]

Eventually, to improve Philips brand recognition in the USA, Philips began branding their shavers "Philips Norelco" in 2005. The Philips Norelco co-branding will allow for an eventual phase out of the Norelco name in favor of the Philips name.[2]

Norelco shavers[edit]

While Philips began making electric shavers in 1939, World War II delayed their marketing of the shaver in the USA until 1948. Philips was not successful in marketing this shaver until a two-headed model was introduced in 1951.

Philips raised eyebrows in 2006 with the introduction of the Philips Norelco Bodygroom shaver for shaving male body hair. An online website as well as a demonstration on Howard Stern's show garnered attention.[3]

Norelco is also famous for its Christmas commercials. One featured Santa Claus riding the shaver up and down snow drifts, making the ads the standard for all to follow in the commercial industry, and setting off an ad campaign war that worked very well. The "Norelco Santa" commercials, which were the beginning of creative animation starting in the 1960s, were top of the line in the industry at that time and are still in use today; Philips introduced a new Norelco Santa ad in 2011.[4]

Norelco Cassette Tape recorders[edit]

Norelco introduced the Philips Compact Cassette portable Tape Player/Recorder in the United States under the Norelco brand name in November 1964. It was called the Carry-Corder 150.

Norelco video cameras[edit]

Philips also made and marketed for many years a line of Norelco professional video cameras in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. CBS was a notable customer, using models PC-60, PC-70, PC-72, PCP-90, the LDH series, and later the LDK series. By the 1980s, the Norelco name was dropped in favor of Philips. Later marketed using the BTS - Broadcast Television Systems Inc. brand name in a joint venture with Bosch, this Broadcast Division was later sold to Thomson's Grass Valley.


  1. ^ Philips Norelco Razors
  2. ^ "Case Study: Philips' Norelco / How neck hairs led to the remaking of an icon". Business Week. 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  3. ^ Word of mouth makes the cut for Philips Norelco Bodygroom - DMNews
  4. ^ Philips Norelco on YouTube

External links[edit]