Monday 17 June 2019

Gillette’s new 'We Believe' ad tackles #MeToo and bullying but has ignited heated debate

A still from Gillette's new 'We Believe' advertisement
A still from Gillette's new 'We Believe' advertisement
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Gillette’s new ‘We Believe’ ad has generated heated debate online.

The razor brand’s new advertisement references #MeToo, sexual harassment, and mansplaining, and shows instances of young boys bullying other boys, and asks, ‘Is this the best a man can get?’ playing on the brand’s tagline, ‘The Best a Man Can Get’.

“Bullying, the MeToo movement against sexual harassment, toxic masculinity, is this the best a man can get?” says the voiceover.

The ad also questions the use of the phrase ‘boys will be boys’ to excuse violent behaviour.

The two minute ad, which released on Sunday night, has ignited a heated debate, with many people praising its message, but others criticising it for ‘insulting’ men.

Critics – including Piers Morgan - have accused Gillette of ‘virtue signalling’ and implying that all men are violent or abusers.

“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,” he wrote on Twitter, adding, “Let boys be damn boys.  Let men be damn men.”

The ad, which was directed by Kim Gehrig at Somesuch, also shows men intervening to stop young boys fighting, and calling their peers out for making inappropriate remarks to women on the street.

A still from Gillette's new 'We Believe' advertisement
A still from Gillette's new 'We Believe' advertisement

It highlights the importance of men setting a good example for young boys.

The voiceover says, “We believe in the best in men: To say the right thing, to act the right way. Some already are in ways big and small. But some is not enough. Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow."

A still from Gillette's new 'We Believe' advertisement
A still from Gillette's new 'We Believe' advertisement

The fact it is directed by a women has also drawn criticism from some quarters.

Conservative Canadian political commentator Ezra Levant said, “A shaving ad written by pink-haired feminist scolds is about as effective as a tampon ad written by middle aged men … Count this 30-year customer out.”

Many critics are vowing to boycott products from Gillette’s parent company P&G.

However, the ad’s supporters argue that men who have a problem with the ad’s message are part of the problem highlighted in the ad.

 

Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown gave the ad a thumbs up, saying, “I love everything about this @Gillette ad! Great message!”

Sarah Silverman wrote, “Allies are my heroes- love this. Also, I use gillette to shave my corners! Thanks Gillette! (Y)”

Actress and equality campaigner Nicola Thorp tackled Piers Morgan on his views.

“Let’s just be clear. This ad focusses on changing the behaviour of men who have engaged in sexual assault, harassment, discrimination and violence. In this tweet, Piers condones this behaviour. For the likes. For the column inches. For the ego. For the love of god, stop him,” she wrote.

He responded, “Let ME just be clear: you’re a man-hating imbecile and this pathetic Gillette ad is a direct consequence of radical feminists like you driving a war against masculinity.”

The ad has accumulated almost 2.5m views on YouTube with 25,000 likes and 223,000 thumbs down.

Gillette wrote on their website, “From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette. In the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and so much more.”

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