Shaving brand Gillette has garnered qual praise and anger over their latest advert which challenges men to ‘do more’ in light of the allegations and discussions that emerged in during the #MeToo era.
They challenge men to set a better example for young boys and to hold one another accountable rather than relying on the old adage of ‘boys will be boys’.
Watch the advert below:
The campaign plays on the company’s 30-year old tagline, “The Best A Man Can Get” and replaces it with “The Best Men Can Be”.
The advert not only highlights the revelations that emerged during the #MeToo movement in relation to sexual abuse of females throughout the entertainment industry. It also draws attention to the more general issues of the sexualisation of females in the media, ‘mansplaining’ in boardrooms, violence between boys and bullying.
As images of these events transpire on screen, a voice over asks the question: “Bullying, the MeToo movement against sexual harassment, toxic masculinity…is this the best a man can get?”.
(Image: A scene from the advert of a Father breaking up a fight between two boys)
The emotive advert, called ‘We Believe’ gained immediate worldwide attention, receiving over 4 million views on YouTube in 48 hours and generated much discussion – both positive and negative.
On the negative side of the spectrum are the usual suspects – men’s rights activists, Far-Right commentators, Piers Morgan. Many have gone so far to say that they will be boycotting the brand over the ‘absurd’ advert which they feel is jumping on the ‘men are horrible’ campaign.
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
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) January 14, 2019
We don’t need politics with our shave gel. pic.twitter.com/erZowlhdz8
— ART TAVANA, Esq. (@arttavana) January 14, 2019
However, many have come to the defence of the brand, arguing that the advert is not “anti-male” but “pro-human” – saying that we all need to be accountable for our actions and speak up when the actions of others are wrong. Being a willing bystander and looking the other way when injustice occurs, is just as wrong as committing the injustice itself.
The comments under the @Gillette toxic masculinity ad is a living document of how desperately society needs things like the Gillette toxic masculinity ad.
Seriously: if your masculinity is THAT threatened by an ad that says we should be nicer then you’re doing masculinity wrong.
— Andrew P Street (@AndrewPStreet) January 15, 2019
The comments under this Gillette ad are fascinating. The message is so very mild (“break up fights, stop people from being bullied or harassed – kids will learn from that”) but there seem to be a lot of men who are VERY invested in finding it offensive. https://t.co/ntDvntxBOR
— Giovanni Tiso (@gtiso) January 15, 2019
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) January 15, 2019
Gillette’s North American brand director Pankaj Bhalla said in a statement to CNN Business: “We expected debate. Actually a discussion is necessary. If we don’t discuss and don’t talk about it, I don’t think real change will happen,”
He hopes that men who watch the video will not feel threatened, but rather inspired to stand up and act like role models and stand up to bad behaviour.
At the time of writing, the video has been viewed 4.7 million times and received 98k likes and 371k dislikes.