A recent television commercial by Gillette expands on the company’s famous tagline “The Best a Man Can Get,” and it has stirred controversy. The nearly two-minute ad features boys and men from different backgrounds tackling issues from bullying, harassment, #MeToo, and toxic masculinity. With the commercial, the company introduced a new campaign, “The Best Men Can Be.”
The video highlights the detrimental nature of some normalized behaviors, challenging viewers to become better versions of themselves. Towards the end of the video, people are seen stepping up to do the right thing and holding one another responsible for their actions.
As of January 28, the ad has gathered nearly 27 million views and over one million dislikes, showcasing the intense public backlash surrounding the video. Some have even begun a #boycottGillette social media campaign. Twitter user @JosephBiagas posted a video of him throwing away a Gillette shaving product captioned, “So long old friend.”
Others have voiced support for the commercial. In his tweet with over a thousand likes, user @ematisa tweeted: “The #Gillette ad clearly calls out sexual harassment and bullying, and says ‘Some men are already doing fine.’ Yet, tons of men are still going to take it as an attack on ‘normal male behaviour,’ and will interpret it as ‘painting ALL men with a wide brush.’ Priceless.”
Additionally, on their new website www.thebestmencanbe.org Gillette states, “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.”
Reminiscent of Nike’s campaign with Kaepernick, we’ve entered an age in which companies are increasingly taking stands on social issues. There’s no doubt that Gillette took a marketing risk and ultimately instigated a nationwide discussion on masculinity—a discussion that will continue for months and perhaps even years to come.