Gillette’s new take on its famous “the best a man can get” slogan has provoked strong reactions, from celebration to tears to threats of a boycott.
The razor and shaving brand is taking on the culture of toxic masculinity in an ad which, although currently only airing in America, is causing a stir on both sides of the Atlantic.
The promo aims to challenge stereotypes of maleness and encourage boys to become “the best men can be”.
The company will also donate one million dollars per year to non-profit organisations with similar aims.
It’s certainly a different approach to advertising shaving products and one that many people thought was a shift in the right direction.
Once again, I'm very much okay with this shift in cultural standards.— Mika McKinnon (@mikamckinnon) January 14, 2019
"Be a good human" is getting ever-more commercially viable. I'm down with a future where it's cool to be protective and proactive at making the world better. https://t.co/iYsGxBQ9QF
Amazing call to action. https://t.co/MF1Hivkjfu— Marcus J. Carey 🏴ââ ï¸ (@marcusjcarey) January 14, 2019
Thanks for this Gillette. I agree. We absolutely as men can do a better job instilling better morals and behavior overall with one another. Handing those core values down to our kids is paramount. And donât tell me it doesnât exist. Not all of us sure. But enough to change. https://t.co/3UVbnq2WtO— Max Gonzalez (@GassyMexican) January 15, 2019
Others, meanwhile, accused the brand of “virtue signalling” or pathologising being a man.
Dear @Gillette: Some men are violent misogynists. Most are willing to die to protect our liberties and freedoms (including those of women). It is grotesque to repeatedly ascribe collective guilt onto half of humanity known as men. Being a man is not a disease nor a pathology. https://t.co/CAxGadDiD6— Gad Saad (@GadSaad) January 14, 2019
the only ones lauding the Gillette ad work in media/advertising. everyone else sees it for what it is: a smarmy, condescending virtue signal aimed at the hardworking decent men they been price-gouging for years.— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) January 15, 2019
I'd like to thank Gillette for reminding me how horrible it is to be man. This should sit well with your customers. NOT.— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) January 14, 2019
Among the dissenters was breakfast TV contrarian Piers Morgan.
The broadcaster, who recently railed against the existence of the new Greggs sausage roll, described the ad as “PC guff” and said he may consider switching razors, while prominent Hollywood right-winger James Woods said he would boycott the brand.
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.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 14, 2019
Let boys be damn boys.
Let men be damn men. https://t.co/Hm66OD5lA4
Others suggested that the critics had missed the point, stating that the ad was not attacking men but critiquing a specific brand of toxic masculinity.
Gillette: Men, could you please be the best versions of yourselves and care for yourself and others— Mollie Goodfellow (@hansmollman) January 15, 2019
Men: I beg your pardon
Folks are upset @Gillette? No #men and #masculinity are not #toxic. But #Toxicmasculinity is a cultural belief that real men donât cry. Real men don't show fear. Real men don't lose. Real men take what they want. This thinking isn't new. It is toxic and it damages men and women. https://t.co/EWBJeRZnZm— Jeffrey Reddick (@JeffreyaReddick) January 15, 2019
#Gillette ad is a reflection of where we are. If you are a man and offended by it then I suggest you are part of the problem. Itâs 2019 and the message does not erode your masculinity it actually paints you a strong & responsible person— Marek (@MarekmikaMarek) January 15, 2019
And for some, the message was so powerful it even moved them to tears.
aaaaannnnnd Gillette made e cry at my desk https://t.co/9HYV24ZDbV— baby of the year (@DaveYourFave) January 15, 2019
Gillette meanwhile suggested there would be more of the same to come.
On its website, the brand wrote: “From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette.”