Gillette's New-Age Ad Is Progressive, But Will It Work?

James Kirk
Author James Kirk
Collection StoriaBusiness

Gillette's newest social media advertisement doesn’t show shaving, or beards or personal hygiene; it sings praises of new-age manhood – the kind of manhood that shies away from aggressive behaviour and demeaning attitudes toward women.

The company's "We Believe" ad – a one-minute-and-48-second spot posted to its social media accounts this week – addresses serious issues like toxic masculinity, sexual harassment, and #metoo, reports CNN.

Gillette plays on its famous tagline and asks: "Is this the best a man can get?"

Will this video work to fix toxic manhood? Probably not. Gillette needs to run a more sustained campaign to achieve the goal of this ad.

Riding piggy-back on the #MeToo movement seems a fad. The intention may be noble, but latching on to a fad doesn’t help.

Also, a one-off ad fades away from public memory too soon.

Reactions to the commercial have been mixed, and extreme. Some commended the progressive ad while others have threatened to boycott the razor company.

"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," Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette's North America brand director, said.

He said he hopes men who watch the video will be inspired to act like role models and show younger children how to stand up to bad behavior and treat other people with respect.

Procter & Gamble, which owns Gillette, has made progressive advertising before.

The company has won accolades for advertisements such as its Always "Like a Girl" campaign and Pantene's "Strong is Beautiful" campaign that shows NFL players braiding their daughter's hair.

The Gillette "We Believe" includes a voice narrating over scenes of bullies, sexual harassment, and masculinity.

Gillette's says its team consulted men across the country, conducted its own studies, and spoke to experts on masculinity.

However, the ad is likely to produce an outcome only with a more sustained advertising campaign.

Is Gillette up to it?

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