Gillette reflects its audience.
So, Gillette have made an early entry for the Polarising Advert of the Year award for 2019.
Gillette is a brand that celebrates masculinity, not the overt or the toxic kind, but the conventional, harmless kind. Things like shaving, chivalry etc.
The problem with this advert, is that they completely forget who they’re talking to and in what context. Gillette also went one step further and mistook perception for reality.
Watching too much TV can put you out of touch with what’s actually going on in the physical realm.
The ad makes it seem as if the vast majority of men (some of which are Gillette loyalists) are serial sexual predators and bullies, which isn’t the case.
The way the world works is if you’re consistently respectful to others you get no media coverage, as you shouldn’t, it’s what you’re supposed to do. But doing something you’re supposed to do doesn’t attract views or clicks.
However, when a minority of men do some harmful things to others or justify toxic behaviour, some parts of the media see that as an excuse to tar all men with the same brush.
They amplify and sometimes distort the coverage to make it look as if it’s more widespread than it actually is.
Gillette tried to solve a problem but ended up creating a new one - How does it regain the trust of some of its loyal customers?
Making ads like this probably won’t help Gillette make money from its men’s range, but it may boost sales indirectly for its Venus range. But that still doesn’t soften the shave, they’ve definitely nicked some skin off and the blood has began to flow. Not a lot but still, enough to say “This is bad.”
It feels to me like they’re telling off their customers for something a lot of them didn’t do. Trying to make innocent people feel guilty can alienate them
Most men’s idea of masculinity does not involve sexual harassment or bullying. Gillette. Should Have. Known. This.
Sexual harassment and bullying are serious issues which all men can help to solve, but this isn’t an effective way of doing that.
Gillette meant well but they didn’t do well.
An alternative (and less offensive) concept would be to make it clear to the audience at the start of the ad, that they do.
Then depict scenarios where the men (who use Gillette) call the offenders (who don’t) on their BS.
This is a more subtle way of addressing the issue whilst gently reminding those who are innocent that they have a responsibility to call out those who are guilty.
Gillette, like all of us men, can make some pretty stupid mistakes with good intentions.
Now they have to practice being a good man by owning up to those mistakes, highlighting where it went wrong and making sure something like this doesn’t happen again.