Gillette’s New Ad—Razor Sharp or Cutting it too Close?

Posted on by Patty Odell

A new ad this week from Gillette encouraging men to do better in the #MeToo era has sparked both praise and controversy.

The ad, “We Believe,” from parent Procter & Gamble, challenges the image of masculinity that Gillette has long built its brand identity around by flipping the longstanding “boys will be boys” theme on its head.

The ad addresses stereotypical male gender roles and behavior head on as men of all ages and ethnicities take a hard look at themselves in the mirror as the narrator asks: “Is this the best a man can get?”

“The consumer goods company, whose net sales totaled $66.8 billion last year, has ignited a debate about gender and cultural branding, as well as about the power exercised by multinational corporations in shaping evolving ideas about family and relationships in the #MeToo era,” the Washington Post reported.

Ads like the Gillette spot, nearly two-minutes long and created by ad agency Grey New York, have sparked passionate dialogues that are important conversations. But despite lots of support, some said the Gillette spot painted men in a bad light and sparked the hashtag #BoycottGillette.

On Tuesday, the video had 276,000 downvotes on YouTube, compared to 47,000 favorable vote. “On Twitter, the video had drawn about 70,000 likes and 19,000 comments by early Tuesday,” the Washington Post reported.

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Gillette follows other brands that have reframed their messaging in the context of the #MeToo movement. Experts predict that the megaphone of the Super Bowl will unveil a new of slate of socially conscious ads as advertisers continue to evolve with the changing culture.

Last year, Schick Hydro released “The Man I Am,” promoting healthy masculinity. And Nike’s stock soared after it released its campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick despite the controversy that exploded following the launch.

“I thought Nike was brave—they knew their customer and the appeal that it would have,” says Ally CMO Andrea Brimmer. “The fact that they created the amount of talk value for that execution by just simply putting it out there and saying nothing more was brilliant. That’s really knowing your brand; really knowing your customer and really knowing how to strike all different kinds of emotion. As a marketer you have to admire it whether you agree with Colin Kaepernick or not is beside the point, as a marketer it was a stroke of genius.”


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