Gillette used famously the tagline “the best a man can get” in commercials, and the razor brand’s latest video, “We Believe,” switches the line around and asks the question, “Is this the best a man can get?”
According to a CNN Business report, the goal of the campaign is to inspire men to be positive role models for the men of tomorrow. The video with such lofty goals is controversial, drawing both positive and negative reactions. While many people appreciated the message promoting speaking out against things that are obviously inappropriate, others threatened to boycott the company altogether over a message they felt was about “toxic masculinity.” Gillette expected the offering would draw a wide range of responses.
Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette’s North America brand director, said, “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.”
In order to create the video, Gillette spoke with men throughout the United States as well as conducted studies. Also, it consulted experts on masculinity. The footage shows bullying, sexual harassment, and other harmful things, and in the end, it portrays men stepping up against such bad behavior. Ultimately, the video proclaimed “We believe in the best in men.”
“The ad is not about toxic masculinity. It is about men taking more action every day to set the best example for the next generation,” said Bhalla. “This was intended to simply say that the enemy for all of us is inaction.”
Actor Terry Crews, one of Time Magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year candidates, features in the commercial with the line he spoke, “Men need to hold other men accountable.” In the end, that message is what the video portrayed when men stepped up and stopped others’ unacceptable behavior.
Piers Morgan spoke out against the ad on Twitter, letting his followers know that he feel’s the video is a “disgraceful new man-hating advert,” and he wrote a column for the Daily Mail.
The video, which inspired a wide variety of strong feelings, both positive and negative, is part of a more considerable branding effort for the razor brand. Other aspects include a $1 million donation to Boys & Girls Club and other organizations over the next three years, according to its site thebestmencanbe.org. Gillette asked others to join them in their efforts to effect change.
Procter & Gamble owns the razor brand and is no stranger to creating controversial advertisements. From its Always “Like a Girl” campaign to Pantene’s “Strong is Beautiful,” the parent company has been highly regarded for pushing the boundaries with its positive and progressive ads.