Oh, yet another commercial fail. This time, it’s Gillette that has found itself in hot waters.
In case you have not heard, Gillette broke the Internet when the razor company released a commercial on Tuesday, drawing heavy backlash for its new seemingly “progressive” short film. Playing on the idea of “toxic masculinity” the ad attempted to take on the issues of sexual harassment and bullying, but ultimately failed to deliver its message across – disastrously. The commercial also insinuated that all men are sexual harassers and bullies, while excusing the behavior because “boys will be boys.” There is also talk surrounding the choice of demographics in the ad, arguing that there is a demonization of white men in the video.
The original message that Gillette had intended to get across was that men should hold other men accountable for their actions. It seems like the company wanted to embolden men to be positive, uplifting, courageous and righteous. This has now divided the internet, garnering mixed reactions:
I’ve used @Gillette razors my entire adult life but this absurd virtue-signalling PC guff may drive me away to a company less eager to fuel the current pathetic global assault on masculinity. Let boys be damn boys. Let men be damn men.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 14, 2019
I honestly don’t see the big deal with the Gillette ad. I was expecting something controversial. But this ad basically says, “Don’t be a jerk. Don’t raise a jerk. Call out other men being for jerks.” My dad, who was a mechanic w an 8th grade education, told me that in 1987.
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) January 15, 2019
Yes I saw the Gillette ad. No I am not surprised it was controversial. No I am not surprised that men have successfully stigmatized efforts to end toxic masculinity. No I am not surprised that men have turned a productive, positive conversation into an aggressive joke.
— feminist next door (@emrazz) January 15, 2019
Hi @Gillette, I can’t find your video on men who: 1. Force women to undergo FGM, 2. Force their wives and daughters to wear a Burqa, 3. Kill their women for leaving the religion, 4. Rape their wives because their Imam allows it, 5. Form rape gangs across Europe. Thank you.
— Imam Mohamad Tawhidi (@Imamofpeace) January 15, 2019
This ad is amazing and made me cry. Bravo @Gillette for taking a stand. This is the kind of world I want my son to grow up in. To all the men offended by this… take a good hard look in the mirror pal and ask yourself why.
— Melissa Fumero (@melissafumero) January 15, 2019
Many are now calling for a boycott of the brand. Some are saying that the message has no ill-intent and is instead just encouraging men to not be afraid to step up against other men. Some even praise Gillette for explicitly conveying the concept of positive masculinity, arguing that it is absent in our media today. Others are outraged and feel that the ad personally attacks men, and that masculinity has nothing to do with and not to be blamed for the #MeToo movement.
No matter how you feel about this ad, I think we can all agree that this just turned out to be a really bad marketing ploy. There could have been a better way to portray the message. “Is this the best a man can get?” Certainly not.
Watch the commercial here and see what you think: