P&G and Grey Advertising took a massive leap this week with a brand that has kept their advertising relatively safe and predictable given its target audience and male-dominated consumer base. For 30 years, Gillette’s “The Best a Man Can Get” was a great tagline for selling razors, but the hyper-masculine brand needed to adapt and reposition their brand for the foreseeable future.
This week Gillette launched a new campaign with the tagline, “The Best a Man Can Be.” A YouTube video associated with the campaign has been highly controversial to some and a welcome sight for others. The video addresses issues surrounding toxic masculinity and encourages men to change the status quo when it comes to bullying, sexism and other normalized and unacceptable male behavior.
I applaud Gillette and P&G for making such a bold move, clearly knowing this ad would be highly polarizing. Advertising should change with society. Consumers want to see brands stand for something, any issue that aligns with their own beliefs and values. The backlash surrounding this video is exactly why the world needed to see it. Advertising has become too safe, and companies have been reluctant to align their brands with issues that could affect their bottom line. Along with Gillette, brands like Nike with Colin Kaepernick and Pepsi with Kendall Jenner (kidding) are pushing boundaries and setting the bar high for cause campaigns in 2019.
The Gillette ad is not virtue baiting and is not an attack on males and their morals. Fragile, emasculated men might be a little triggered as evidenced by the nearly 900k dislikes on YouTube, but if anything the ad achieved its goal of starting a conversation that’s been long overdue. Men CAN do better, and it doesn’t take an ad to remind us of that. The #MeToo movement created a cultural shift in society over the past few years. Advertisers are adapting to a new world where products and services take a back seat to the issues surrounding brands and the consumers with a personal connection to them.
With this new campaign, Gillette is positioning their brand for a future where masculinity and the ‘ideal male’ will take on an entirely different look. If a brand wants to use their clout and online influence to spark real change, let’s give them an opportunity to do it tastefully and creatively. Gillette got it right, and I hope other brands follow suit.