Since the Gillette Ad debuted, there have been an outpouring of praise and criticism directed towards the brand. While some people have been commending the brand for speaking out about a gendered issue, others have threatened to boycott the brand – calling the advertisement hypocritical.
The advert itself shows a collection of scenarios with men harassing women or boys fighting, while fathers look on saying “boys will be boys”. The voiceover meanwhile, is suggesting that these are situations that men have been able to get away with in the past and questioning the use of their own message – ‘the best a man can get’. The overall theme throughout the advert, is a call to end toxic masculinity and unite men everywhere to strive to be the best they can be.
Understandably, some men have been frustrated with the negative messages being given to them – perhaps feeling that it suggests that all men are harassers or not good enough.
In my personal opinion, I believe that the overriding theme is positive. Toxic masculinity is a real problem that affects our society, and it’s always impressive when a brand decides to take the plunge and speak out about something like this. There is nothing there that should really offend men, it watches like a rebranding video that shows that with it now being 2019 – it’s time to take a look at what being a man really means. It’s important to recognise that there are things that men cannot do in this political climate – but the video isn’t a criticism, it’s a powerful call to show a modern man.
The message is simply bringing Gillette into 2019 and modernising the idea of masculinity – rather than living with outdated motions. It’s the idea of letting boys grow up, being however they want to be and becoming responsible role models.
For girls and feminism, the message they receive has already been updated and continuously worked on – showing that they can be strong, pretty, clever and whatever they want to be. The rules for boys has always been quite hard to remove, and for now it seems that there are steps forward to change this – including this Ad, that shows that boys have the power to be whatever they want as well, and to work with/respect girls to end inequality.
And of course, from a PR perspective, any news is good news – and this coverage, and the amount of celebrity inputs, is certainly a good effort from the branding team to get their advert recognised. It will be interesting to see what this will do to the profits, and if this message is one that Gillette will strive to uphold.
From the website, thebestmencanbe.org:
It’s time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture. And as a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man. With that in mind, we have spent the last few months taking a hard look at our past and coming communication and reflecting on the types of men and behaviors we want to celebrate. We’re inviting all men along this journey with us – to strive to be better, to make us better, and to help each other be better.