Gillette is taking on bullying, sexism, and sexual harassment in a powerful new ad that fully embraces the #MeToo movement while attempting to put an end to ‘toxic masculinity.’
For the past 30 years, the shaving brand has used the tagline ‘The Best A Man Can Get,’ but the new ad puts a spin on the slogan by putting the responsibility on men to change social norms and stop the mistreatment of women.
Critics of the socially conscious campaign took to Twitter to slam the ad while claiming Gillette had ‘just insulted their own user base.’
The majority of those who spoke out against the ad are male, and many proudly used the hashtag #GetWokeGoBroke while swearing off the company’s products.
‘So we just started 2019, and already a company has started pushing sexism towards Men… @Gillette have no become a Leftist Bigot Company that insulted their own user base by calling them “Sexists,”‘ one person tweeted. ‘Well done, Giellette. #GetWokeGoBroke.’
Ironically, some took issue with the fact that the shaving brand’s ad was directed by a ‘feminist’ woman.
‘A shaving ad written by pink-haired feminist scolds is about as effective as a tampon ad written by middle aged men,’ wrote Canadian conservative media personality Ezra Levant.
The ad, titled ‘We Believe,’ begins with shots of different men looking in the mirror as audio of news about the #MeToo movement plays in the background.
‘Is this the best a man can get? Is it?’ a voiceover asks as a group of bullies chase a victim through a movie screen showing a vintage Gillette ad.
The commercial continues by highlighting all the different ways the mistreatment of women has been normalized over the years, including a group of male cartoon characters whistling at a woman and a sitcom scene that shows the lead character grabbing his maid’s backside while the audience laughs.
‘Boys will be boys,’ a dad says as he watches his son fight someone.
The ad stresses that toxic masculinity and the long-running excuses defending it should no longer be tolerated.
‘We can’t hide from it. It’s been going on far too long,’ the voiceover says. ‘We can’t laugh it off. Making the same old excuses.
‘But something finally changed, and there will be no going back. Because we, we believe the best in men, to say the right thing, to act the right way. Some already are, in ways big and small.
The commercial shows a clip of actor Terry Crews, a victim of sexual assault, saying: ‘Men need to hold other men accountable.’
It also depicts a number of men stepping in to stop their friends from telling women to smile or catcalling them as they walk by.
Instead of letting his son fight, one dad rushes over and breaks it up, telling him that isn’t how you treat people.
The ad then ends with a voiceover that says having just some men step in ‘is not enough because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.’
The thought-provoking video was directed by Kim Gehrig, who was selected through Procter & Gamble’s partnership with Free the Bid, a program that advocates for more female directors on ads.
The ad is among the first to address the #MeToo movement while telling men it’s time for them to change their behavior.
‘This is an important conversation happening, and as a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address it and take action of our own,’ Gillette brand director Pankaj Bhalla told the Wall Street Journal in an emailed statement.
Boycott: Critics took to Twitter to slam the new campaign and swear off the brand’s products, with some using the hashtag #GetWokeGoBroke
‘We are taking a realistic look at what’s happening today, and aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying “Boys Will Be Boys” is not an excuse. We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and hope all the men we serve will come along on that journey to find our “best” together.’
Along with the ad, Gillette has launched the new site, TheBestMenCanBe.org, which provides more detail about its new stance.
According to the site, the shaving brand has pledged ‘to donate $1 million per year for the next three years to non-profit organizations executing programs in the United States designed to inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal “best” and become role models for the next generation.’
While only time will tell how the ad will affect sales, Gillette has risked alienating its longtime customers with the socially conscious message.
Dean Crutchfield, CEO of branding firm Crutchfield + Partners, told the Wall Street Journal that the brand should focus on appealing to millennials who care about what companies stand for.
Upon the ad’s release, many men, particularly conservatives, flooded Twitter with their criticisms of the message, claiming the brand was attacking masculinity.
For real: Fans argued that outrage over the ad is proof that the commercial is necessary
‘I hope Gillette’s smear gets the same market response as Dick’s Sporting Goods when they turned against their customers. Count this 30-year customer out,’ one person commented.
‘A society that emasculated its men will quickly be replaced by one that doesn’t,’ Paul Joseph Watson tweeted.
Some fans of the ad wondered if the critics had even bothered to watch it before slamming it online.
‘Wow, so many of the comments here just go to prove why commercials/videos like this are necessary. At no point in this commercial did it say all men are guilty of these actions, yet here are so many men defending themselves.’
Someone else added: ‘Men on this post *freaking out* about it and claiming they’re going to boycott Gillette is everything you need to know about how they see their own masculinity. Weak.’
Nike received similar backlash over its controversial ‘Just Do It’ ad starring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who led players’ protests for racial injustice by kneeling during the pregame national anthem.
While critics, including President Donald Trump, predicted the widely praised ad would ruin the company, Nike saw a 31 per cent increase in sales in the aftermath of the endorsement deal.