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Gillette Ad Redefining Masculinity

A recent advertisement by Gillette had people divided for how to react towards it. It has caused controversy all over the internet. Gillette released a new add on January 13th, changing their famous slogan ‘The Best A Man Can Get’ to a new one titled as ‘We Believe’. The two-minute video shows a diverse group of boys facing the bully, teens watching guys objectifying women and men looking in the mirror while the news of #MeToo movement plays in the background. A voiceover asks, “Is this the best a man can get?”. The film shows how men can do better by pointing out behavior counted as toxic.

The advertisement, in the beginning, highlights the ways men have created uncomfortable situations for women, and other men as well. They showed sexual harassment and bullying, and the voice over spoke about how it was now enough for us to listen to boys will be boys. The best part about the advertisement is how they have concluded it by showing what men can do to improve, how each man can contribute towards making a better community and raising a better future for everyone.

The advertisement has been exploding across all social media platforms. It has been viewed 12 million times on YouTube until Wednesday, and #GilletteAd has been the trend on Twitter. The ad has been compared to #MeToo movement by many.

The Backlash

The viewers who went against the advertisement stated that it was anti-male. They believed it stereotyped all men as sexists and ignored traditional masculine qualities. The YouTube video has received 713,000 dislikes, showing how they have managed to upset a large population. Most of the men that found the ad offensive were against the way it has shown behaviors of bad boys like bullying and sexual harassment and labeled it as ‘boys will be boys.

An outrage started against the brand, which included banning the brand altogether. A dominant male organization which was classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law, A voice for Men urged its supporters to boycott from the brand. Many men pointed it out as insulting and said it was a ‘feminist propaganda’.

A guy went ahead calling it “a condescending Ad from a company that relies on men buying their products.” Even male celebrities could not hold back from talking about the way they felt regarding the advertisement. Piers Morgan tweeted to call it a pathetic and virtue signaling ad which was a consequence of radical feminism. He also claimed that he had used it all his life but will ban himself from the brand. Similarly, James Wood too tweeted saying that ‘men are horrible’ campaign is affecting the mainstream Hollywood industry. Moreover, he too boycotted from using the products from the brand.

The hatred of customers towards Gillette was allowing them to shift towards other brands. Their rival, Dollar Shave Club, soon after the release of the ad posted on twitter a welcome for their new customers. This post received 4500 times more likes than usual posts.

Why Did People Like the Ad?

Where people had all the bad things to say about the advertisement, most men, there were people that did appreciate it too. Many tweeted in support of the idea that they presented, praising them for going against their target audience (male) and influencing for a better change. Women came out to support the advertisement, pointing out how men were not ready to hear their flaws. Some even compared how women were objectified and men were never. Females went as far as saying that men that found this ad threatening were not as much of men.

People in favour of the content of the advertisement raised the issue that it was significant for men to be accountable for the sexual assault or bad behaviour they conducted. And in return change their behaviour. They emphasize that women are as much part of the video as men. The issues they face , as a mother, daughter , sister and a victim. These viewers realize that they should stop ignoring actions that are harming people. And work towards themselves and the society to present a better behaviour. They thought the advertisement had a lot to contribute towards the society.

Good or bad reviews about the advertisement, did it benefit the company? Of course, it did! Data shows that the company’s audience broadened since the advertisement had released. The company played a smart move to start a controversy that allowed them to engage new potential customers. They were able to do this while keeping their original branding intact for their existing customers.

There was a lot that the brand has to explain. Their brand director, Pankaj Bhalla pushed back all the criticism by stating that he felt that this was much needed. He highlighted that this was a significant conversation that they highlighted through their ad. He also stated that they wanted to make a better version of themselves and hence came up with this ad. They have promised to donate $1 million a year for the next three years to a nonprofit organization that supports boys and men for positive role modeling. They were well aware that the topic of the advertisement is controversial and won’t be appreciated by everyone. However, they were aware of the fact that it could backfire, similar to the case where Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner Ad did.

Conclusively, an advertisement released by Gillette that showed how men could change themselves for better caused a fire for those who believed that it represented toxic masculinity. For those who supported the advertisement, mostly women felt it was the right time to highlight the way men have been behaving . The controversy grew when many celebrities came out to express their hatred against the brand for the advertisement and them making sure they were not going to use it any further. Moreover, the rivals took an opportunity to gain the customers that Gillette was losing. However, no one realized that the brand itself was gaining a lot from the controversy that had stirred up.

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