• Vicky

Why Gillette may have slashed their own throat.


Whoever said that all publicity is good publicity obviously hadn’t banked on Gillette completely misjudging the mood and alienating a vast proportion of its target market.

Gillette has decided that men don’t just need a good shave. No, what they really need is to be told they’re not really good enough and must improve.

With a two-minute video showcasing the very worst of male behaviour, the global multi-billion dollar brand that has long celebrated men and masculinity, has scored a spectacular PR own goal by stereotyping an entire gender.

With its politically-charged new advert and tagline ‘The best men can be’, the razor giant is hogging headlines around the world. But for the most part, it’s for all the wrong reasons. You can see the thinking behind the campaign. It is a classic case of brand revitalisation, attempting to take its famous 30-year-old ‘The best a man can get’ strapline and reinvent it to link it with a more modern vision of masculinity. But, far from the positive, inspirational and aspirational messages it is known for, the company has instead ended up with a public service video that feels preachy and accusatory.

Toxic masculinity is something that should be tackled wherever it rears its ugly head, and of course nobody would disagree that men must take responsibility for their own behaviour. But, the heavy-handed tone of Gillette’s latest campaign - effectively portraying men as sexist, uneducated, sexual predators who need to be coached in how to be better people - is missing the mark. It touches a nerve when profit-motivated companies jump on the political bandwagon by assuming the worst of their target audience and telling them how to improve. It certainly won’t help them sell razors.

The video has been viewed millions of times since its launch on Monday (14th Jan) and its like to dislike ratio is running 10 to one against the campaign, with men coming forward in their droves threatening to boycott the brand completely - a disaster for a brand that can ill afford to alienate its customer base given the many alternatives vying for its market share.

With this negative ‘man-bashing’ ad, the world’s biggest razor brand may have just cut its own throat.

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