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Like so many brands today, Gillette wants to fight for social change as much as shill their shaving gear. Let me state upfront, I am not their target market, though I did buy their razors, shaving gel and clear deodorant for years when I was in College simply because I liked them and I paid no "pink tax" on it. As they went mach-recording breaking crazy in their ads, so much that Clayton quipped "F*ckers keep this up, and I'm going Amish. ", I too deserted the brand for simpler shaves. Gillette was still the undisputed king of razors, but now in the dollar shaveclub era, they are beginning to feel the pinch as they lose market share to convenience.
To reinvent themselves, Gillette has packed away their Large Hadron Collider-like toys touting their rolling heads and twenty-billion blades, and have now taken a page out of Dove's playbook. Hoping for a homerun manifesto film, like the Dove "onslaught" ad, but failing on a key point.
The "onslaught" ad shows the beauty-industry blaming itself, and encourages the punters to resist. The Gillette ad is basically telling their target market, men, that everything is their fault.
The heart may be in the right place, they figured in the #MeToo era that they could shill some wares by attaching their old tagline to the current cause du jour. Instead of the best a man can get, they want to own the best men can be. While this strategy looks sound on paper, it predictably rubbed many the wrong way. It prescribes bullying to being a male-only problem. It shows men BBQ-ing on the weekend as something bad. It depicts the insanely normal dad-reaction of separating two tussling boys as a rare heroic act. They have edited in several annoying youtube talking heads reporting on sexual harassment and briefly land on Terry Crews, but don't dare to touch on the porn problem.
In the end, they tie the manifesto ad up with a line about men of tomorrow. It's interesting that future men will be like my dad was. He didn't hold me up to the mirror and tell me to repeat "I'm strong", but he taught me how to use tools and fight dirty if anyone bullied me and he wasn't within earshot.
And as with many other brands who tried this route, woke can mean broke, when the people who buy your products disagree with being insulted. It may be a reflex "not all men" reaction, but as noted, Dove preached while sneering at their own industry while Gillette is sneering at their own customers. A few reactions from highly followed Twitter accounts show how divided reactions are. On youtube the like to dislike ratio currently stands at 287 likes to 3000 dislikes. Maybe attention will sell more razors? Only time will tell.
Gentle reminder that Gillette is also the owner of Venus "Goddess" razors, who used to advertise to goddesses like this.
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. https://t.co/Hm66OD5lA4
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 14, 2019
Dear @Gillette: Some men are violent misogynists. Most are willing to die to protect our liberties and freedoms (including those of women). It is grotesque to repeatedly ascribe collective guilt onto half of humanity known as men. Being a man is not a disease nor a pathology. https://t.co/CAxGadDiD6
— Gad Saad (@GadSaad) January 14, 2019
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) January 14, 2019
Gillette's own tweet announcing the ad is flooded with offended responses.
— Gillette (@Gillette) January 14, 2019
If I can find verified accounts that are positive to this ad, I will add them to this article. There are many positive reactions from non-celebrity personal accounts, seen here.
Update! As promised from a verified account, I found this perspective:
I am so bored of men complaining that the Gillette advert is bad because it tells men they’re not good enough. Welcome to literally every advert ever targeted at women. At least you’re not good enough because of your actions. We’re just shit because of our skin/hair/weight/face.
— Rebecca Reid (@RebeccaCNReid) 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. https://t.co/Ytyi5R01Nr
— Melissa Fumero (@melissafumero) January 15, 2019