Is This the Best Gillette Can Be?
Gillette is the latest brand to foray into marketing an ideal—not a product. They’re following the “woke advertising” trend alongside other companies like Nike or Pepsi. But the brand’s attempt to join one of our generation’s most poignant conversations may have backfired.
The Best Men Can Be, the first video in Gillette’s latest campaign, is a short film that addresses negative behavior associated with toxic masculinity. In an effort to inspire action, the spot challenges men to “be better” after several nods to the #MeToo movement. The minds behind the ad seem to have aimed at a positive message, asking men to be role models for a new generation—but much of the consumer base has taken offense to the ad.
Critics of the video argue that Gillette is patronizing men and stereotyping them under one sweeping generalization. They claim that men are being demonized, and that the ad is conveniently ignoring the sins of the opposite sex.
Those in support of the video say that the critics are missing the main point: Gillette has revealed an uncomfortable truth. Unchecked toxic masculinity has created a culture where predatory behavior is not only prevalent, but accepted. Supporters feel that Gillette is challenging men to reverse this effect by cultivating a healthier interpretation of “manliness.”
Another point of contention is the fact that the villains in the video are portrayed by Caucasian males, while the heroes who make an effort to empower women are portrayed primarily by men of color. Some applaud this detail, while others see it as an egregious depiction of race.
Gillette brand director Pankaj Bhalla commented, “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.”
For better or for worse, Gillette has gotten people talking.
What do you think?
According to a recent survey by the Morning Consult, the Gillette ad was positively received by a significant number of consumers. In fact, the ad was successful in conveying Gillette’s motives, and a majority of consumers say they feel Gillette shares their values. A small portion of consumers have actually seen any negative press about the company, and the ad has not majorly impacted the brand’s sales. Check out the full results here.