A new advertising campaign from razor-maker Gillette has attracted a firestorm of both support and criticism online for its implicit support of the MeToo movement.
Gillette unveiled its campaign Sunday, when a nearly two-minute-long video was posted to the brand’s YouTube page.
The advertisement shows images of boys and men engaging in bullying and other harassing activities, as a narrator intones that such behaviours have persisted for “far too long” and that it is time for men to move beyond “the same old excuses” and change how they act.
“Something finally changed, and there will be no going back,” the narrator says, as footage plays of MeToo-related news reports.
The video was accompanied by a website explaining Gilette’s new campaign “The Best Men Can Be” – a play on its longtime slogan “The Best a Man Can Get.”
On the website, Gillette explains that it created the campaign because it believes it has a role to play in influencing cultural perceptions.
“As a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man,” the website reads.
“From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette.”
The campaign has gone viral. The YouTube video had been viewed more than three million times by Tuesday morning, while an accompanying tweet had nearly 50,000 retweets and more than 120,000 likes.
There has also been a significant negative reaction to the campaign. This is particularly evident on YouTube, where as of Tuesday morning the video’s 56,000 likes were dwarfed by its nearly 300,000 dislikes.
“Congrats on being tone deaf to your audience and society at large. Time to get your ad execs out of their elitist ivory tower echo chamber,” one YouTube user commented.
“Sorry, but you’ve lost another customer. 25 years of loyalty lost because you let politics in to an advert for razors. Bye bye,” wrote another, who identified himself as Craig Adamson.
Other YouTube users called for a boycott of Gillette and all products from parent company Procter and Gamble.
Reaction was more mixed on Twitter, with some users saying they would never purchase Gillette products again and others saying they would now go out of their way to do so.
Even a former New York City police commissioner weighed in. Bernard B. Kerik, who was convicted of tax fraud after leaving office, called the ad “pretty insulting” and said he would think about switching away from Gillette razors.
Gillette says its commitment to redefining masculinity will include US$3 million in donations over three years to non-profit agencies in the U.S. working “to inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal ‘best’ and become role models for the next generation.”
I'm sorry for being an "evil" man with testosterone that makes me have male behaviors. Although they are not the ones that appear in your radical feminist ad, I swear never to buy Gillette or Procter & Gamble (Duracell, oral b, braun) again.— Igualitarista (@ujerte) January 15, 2019
Disgusting and very poor form.
Will not be buying your products again as do not support left wing political meddling
THANK YOU @Gillette! Us men need to do better, teach our children to do better, and expect better from our friends and colleagues! Being masculine is more about protecting others from harm than promoting doing harm to others. How do people not get this?— Clifford Burton (@bigdogred84) January 15, 2019
Thank you for this, @Gillette. Although I never shave my body hair due to my feminist principles, I’m going to start buying your razors anyway in order to support your brave work.— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 14, 2019
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