Don’t you know that you’re toxic: Bold Gillette ad divides opinion but who is right?

Unless you’ve been avoiding the headlines all week, you’ll know by now that Gillette’s latest ad has caused quite the controversy.

The Procter & Gamble-owned brand released a new take on its famous slogan ‘the best a man can get’, with a 1m49s spot that challenges men, in the wake of the #metoo movement, to redefine masculinity for the next generation – ‘to say the right thing and to act the right way’.

Piers Morgan took to Twitter to voice his objections, “I’ve used @Gillette razors my entire 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.” Prompting a slew of articles from the likes of The Pool and Stylist in defence of the ad and its sentiment.

The advertising industry, meanwhile, was also split – Tom Goodwin, Executive Vice President of Innovation at Zenith, speaking to The Drum, applauded the ‘boldness’, while Dan Cullen-Shute, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Creature was less complimentary. “I think this is rubbish. I hate it. Overblown tripe, dripping with self-importance.”

One thing is for certain, the ad has certainly generated a LOT of column inches – and by that metric alone it must be deemed successful; although the YouTube stats say different – at the time of writing, the ad had 577K dislikes and just 217K likes. The view count was more than 10 million.

3 Comments

  1. I definitely think they intended to push the conversation, and probably expected the divide in opinion!

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  2. This is a difficult one.
    I have seen the ad and I can see both sides of the argument.
    One thing is for sure -its certainly generated a lot of publicity for Gillette., both good and bad.
    I’m not sure if thats what they intended, but at last the world is talking about it.

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  3. It’s a wonderful example of “products with purpose” – a B2C using it’s presence to highlight something that governments / society as a whole doesn’t do. (Let’s face it, an American company is doing more for gender than the current sitting President).

    I don’t feel the advert is specifically saying “all men are terrible”, in fact, I think it’s pointing out that there are some great men who know that some men are terrible, and the cause of that terrible-ness is the societal-construct of masculinity that has that toxic edge to it.

    I remember some negative back-lash to bullying campaigns where “bullying was just what kids do” – ie an excuse for the behaviour – it’s the same “Boys will be boys” – why excuse behaviour that , as adults, is not acceptable and is mostly a crime. Men are stepping up to their roles as fathers – that’s great. We can be better.

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