“We believe in the best in men: To say the right thing, to act the right way. Some already are in ways big and small. But some is not enough. Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow,”
If you have been fortunate enough to watch the latest advertisement by Gillette, the company that sells razors and associated products mainly to men, you will have heard the above quote. Gillette, who have had the slogan, “The best a man could get,” for the best part of 30 years has finally stepped into the light and made some changes to their words.
There has been quite the backlash over the latest Gillette ad on toxic masculinity. However in the marketing world, you could say that Gillette has killed it. Regardless of the number of people who have complained about the advert and its ‘male emasculation,’ the Gillette advertisement has been a marketing dream. Why? Because people are talking about it.
News channels, social media, magazines, newspapers – every conceivable media tool has picked up on this conversation piece of an advert and had their say. Gillette waded in with their advert as a response to the #MeToo campaign, playing on their 30-year tagline mentioned earlier by replacing it with, “The best men can be.”
The advert itself has a run of clips of news that report the #MeToo movement. Interspersed with images showing sexism portrayed as comedy. Mansplaining in the boardroom to make women feel talked down to. Violence between young boys and boys bullying each other. The powerful advert immediately went viral, pulling in 4 million YouTube hits within 48 hours. If this isn’t a marketing dream, then what is?
Positivity Is The Message In This Advertisement
The criticism hasn’t just been severe, though. Many have absolutely praised Gillette’s bold move, with the daughter of Martin Luther King, Bernice King. She wrote, “This commercial isn’t anti-male, it’s pro-humanity,” Gillette has simply asked men to make each other accountable for their actions. To support each other, to be better than inciting violence and encouraging sexism and intimidation and mansplaining. It hasn’t been well-received by everyone, though, with Gillette being accused of jumping on the “men are horrible” bandwagon.
Many have enjoyed watching the fall out from the campaign on social media. Believing anything that ruffles the feathers of Piers Morgan and Donald Trump must be a good thing and so has supported Gillette for that reason alone. When it comes to marketing, though, Gillette is a brand that has needed the chance to evolve – and boy, did they take that chance! They have used their campaign to create conversation, debates, and opportunities for other men to stand up and agree. They do not want to be portrayed as toxic.
Toxic masculinity isn’t just damaging to women, but it’s damaging to men, too. Gillette has picked this up with grace, pulling apart the media pressure on men to “be a man” in the traditional, long-taught sense. It’s 2019, and there is no place for emotional disconnection and objectifying women and resolving conflicts with violence.
Talking About Uncomfortable Issues – It’s A Must
This advert has tackled each of those issues in turn, creating a profound ripple effect across different age groups. Gillette has explained that they feel it’s time that a brand as recognized as theirs has to play a role in cultural influence, focusing on promoting positive and inclusive versions of what it means to be a man.
Some people will say that this advert was a bad idea. They took too big of a risk and rather than just being a waste of marketing budget, but an expensive way to destroy their share in the markets. The question has been risen as to whether Gillette has aimed for men to feel bad about themselves. The rebuttal has been that if a man is feeling bad about himself due to the advert, perhaps he needs to re-evaluate his toxic masculinity and ask himself whether he is the best man that he can be?
Ultimately, Gillette stepped into the fray with their advert. It’s the most talked about advert across news sites and social media. They’re going to have an impact. Men are at a crossroads between traditional values of the past century and a new era of masculinity. Which is why 1.2 million dislikes of the advert online have been published versus the 670,000 likes. All Gillette have attempted to do is have men reflect on their impact on other men and women, and make themselves accountable for their behavior.
In 2019, this is not a wrong message to send. Share your thoughts with a comment below.
IMAGE BY: Валерий Качаев