New 'Toxic Masculinity' Gillette Commercial Sparks Conversation
Gillette wants us to rethink "Boys will be boys."
The #MeToo campaign has caused a lot of corporations to rethink both their internal practices and public image. As Hollywood has to reconcile a lot of their misbehaviors, it's interesting to see how other parts of the industry have embraced or shunned the message. Advertising in particular.
Well this new campaign from Gillette, titled "We Believe" features no razors.
Instead, they went with a much more important message.
"We expected debate. Actually, a discussion is necessary. If we don't discuss and don't talk about it, I don't think real change will happen," said Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette's North America brand director.
The advertisement has been divisive online, with some lauding the message, while others tearing it apart. Plenty of people have taken to social media to share images of them flushing their razors down the toilet. Which... might cause some plumbing issues...
Gillette is owned by Proctor and Gamble, who prides themselves on message-based advertising. It seems like stirring up controversy is getting the views and getting people talking about Gillette again.
This isn't the first time P&G has waded into social messaging waters if you missed 'The Talk' from 2017, it's truly a masterful piece of content, and messaging handled by NYC ad agency BBDO:
Gillette's website leads with this explanation of The Best A Man Can Get commercial:
"Thirty years ago, we launched our The Best A Man Can Get tagline.
Since then, it has been an aspirational statement, reflecting standards that many men strive to achieve.
But turn on the news today and it’s easy to believe that men are not at their best. Many find themselves at a crossroads, caught between the past and a new era of masculinity. While it is clear that changes are needed, where and how we can start to effect that change is less obvious for many. And when the changes needed seem so monumental, it can feel daunting to begin. So, let’s do it together.
It’s time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture. And as a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man. With that in mind, we have spent the last few months taking a hard look at our past and coming communication and reflecting on the types of men and behaviors we want to celebrate. We’re inviting all men along this journey with us – to strive to be better, to make us better, and to help each other be better.
From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette. In the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and so much more.
As part of The Best Men Can Be campaign, Gillette is committing to donate $1 million per year for the next three years to non-profit organizations executing programs in the United States designed to inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal “best” and become role models for the next generation.
Our tagline needs to continue to inspire us all to be better every day, and to help create a new standard for boys to admire and for men to achieve… Because the boys of today are the men of tomorrow.
We’ve all got work to do. And it starts today.
Gillette. The Best A Man Can Get."
Let's keep in mind that behind the spot, love it or hate it, is a company looking for exposure. You don't have to be jaded to recognize that something like this is going to get a lot of clicks.
It's going to get a lot of celebrities talking... tweeting... supporting... hating.
We've heard the expression 'there is no such thing as bad publicity', they say coined by P.T. Barnum of circus self-promotion fame. Do people on every news channel blasting or supporting a Gillette ad get more attention to Gillette maybe than there was a few weeks ago?
Remember what happened to Nike's stock after the Kaepernick ad?
Of course this isn't to say there isn't great value in this sort of message going mainstream. Of course there is! But we should keep the big picture in mind. Gillette and Proctor and Gamble make this move for more than one reason.
What Do You Make of Gillette "We Believe" Commercial
What do you think of the advertisement? Should companies use their brands to push a socially conscious message? Are they just after attention, or does the cause matter to them?
Let us know in the comments!