Gillette “The Best Men Can Be” Campaign

In the landscape of modern advertising, few campaigns have ignited as much conversation and controversy as Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be.” Launched in January 2019, this campaign was not merely about selling razors; it was a call to action to redefine masculinity and challenge harmful behaviors. With its powerful message and emotive storytelling, “The Best Men Can Be” not only reshaped Gillette’s brand identity but also sparked a global dialogue about gender, identity, and social responsibility.

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The Genesis of the Campaign

The idea behind “The Best Men Can Be” was born out of a desire to address issues of toxic masculinity and promote positive behavior among men. Gillette, a brand deeply entrenched in the realm of masculinity and grooming, recognized its unique position to influence societal norms. The campaign sought to leverage Gillette’s platform to inspire change and encourage men to be their best selves.

The Evolution of Masculinity in Gillette’s Campaign

At its core, “The Best Men Can Be” challenged traditional notions of masculinity and encouraged men to embrace a more inclusive and respectful approach. The campaign acknowledged that the definition of masculinity is evolving and that it’s time to move beyond outdated stereotypes. Through powerful imagery and emotive storytelling, Gillette showcased moments of both toxic behavior and positive masculinity, urging men to reflect on their actions and strive for better.

Gillette’s Call to Action

Central to the campaign was the tagline, “The Best Men Can Be,” which served as a rallying cry for men everywhere to reevaluate their behavior and strive for improvement. Gillette called on men to reject harmful behaviors such as bullying, harassment, and sexism and instead embrace empathy, kindness, and respect. The campaign encouraged men to become positive role models for future generations and to take responsibility for creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

Navigating Gillette Controversy

Despite its noble intentions, “The Best Men Can Be” faced criticism and backlash from some quarters. Critics accused Gillette of virtue signaling and questioned the brand’s motives for wading into such sensitive territory. However, Gillette stood by its message, reaffirming its commitment to promoting positive masculinity and sparking meaningful conversations about gender roles and societal norms. The controversy only served to amplify the campaign’s message and ignite further discussion about the issues it raised.

The Impact of "The Best Men Can Be" Campaign

While opinions may have been divided, there’s no denying the impact of “The Best Men Can Be” campaign. It sparked a global conversation about masculinity and prompted individuals, organizations, and communities to reevaluate their attitudes and behaviors. The campaign inspired countless men to reflect on their actions and take steps towards personal growth and self-improvement. It also encouraged brands across various industries to consider the social implications of their advertising and strive for more inclusive and responsible messaging.

Gillette’s Toxic Campaign

In 1989, Gillette left a significant mark on consumers with a Super Bowl advertisement that featured the tagline “The Best a Man Can Get.” Over the course of three decades, the company effectively reaffirmed the superior quality of its products through the consistent use of this slogan.

 This strategy not only allowed Gillette to maintain a price premium but also enabled it to expand its market share. In 2005, Procter and Gamble, a powerhouse in marketing, recognized the immense value of the Gillette brand and acquired it for a staggering $57 billion.

Amidst mounting competition from budget-friendly rivals like Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s, as well as a resurgent Schick offering compatible refill cartridges for Gillette razors, Gillette has experienced a decline in market share, plummeting from 70% to 50% over the past decade. To combat this trend, Gillette has been compelled to slash razor prices by approximately 15% in recent years, jeopardizing its status as the master brand in the industry.

Against this backdrop of intensifying competition, Gillette launched its “We Believe in the Best in Men” ad campaign on its website. This initiative reflects a broader shift towards the subtly revised tagline, “The Best a Man Can Be.” The 1:48-minute video begins with poignant images of troubled-looking men, accompanied by a narrator addressing issues such as bullying, sexual harassment, and toxic masculinity.

 The ad provocatively poses the question, “Is This the Best a Man Can Get?” Subsequent scenes depict a series of negative behaviors, including bullying, physical altercations, sexual harassment, and overt workplace misconduct toward a woman.

 Gillette’s ad asserts that it’s time for men to abandon excuses and reject the notion that “boys will be boys.” Instead, it calls for men to hold each other accountable and emphasizes that today’s boys will shape the men of tomorrow.

One reason behind Gillette’s decision to air the ad could be linked to recent research indicating that millennials are more inclined to favor brands that employ corporate social responsibility strategies.

 While there seems to be validity to this observation regarding millennials and CSR tactics, there remains much to uncover about the intricacies of effective approaches. In this instance, it appears that Gillette may glean valuable insights into what strategies do not resonate well in the realm of corporate responsibility endeavors.

The response to “We Believe in the Best in Men” has been predominantly negative, with comments on Gillette’s own YouTube channel overwhelmingly critical, outnumbering positive feedback by an astounding ratio of ten to one. While there were individuals who appreciate the ad and commend the campaign for its intention to promote positive behavior, a significantly larger faction expressed disdain.

 Among the dissenters are many men who found the ad insulting and riddled with stereotypes. Of particular concern for Gillette is the sizable contingent of commenters who vowed to boycott the product in the future, posing a potential threat to the brand’s sales and reputation.

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Moving Forward from a Toxic Campaign

As we look to the future, it’s clear that campaigns like “The Best Men Can Be” have a vital role to play in shaping our society. By challenging harmful stereotypes and promoting positive behavior, brands like Gillette can inspire meaningful change and contribute to a more equitable and inclusive world. However, the journey towards progress is ongoing, and it requires the continued effort and commitment of individuals and organizations alike.

Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be” campaign serves as a powerful reminder of the influence that brands can have on shaping cultural narratives and driving social change. By challenging toxic masculinity and promoting positive behavior, Gillette has sparked a global movement that transcends advertising and inspires men to strive for the best version of themselves. As we navigate the complexities of gender, identity, and society, campaigns like this remind us of the importance of empathy, respect, and accountability in creating a better world for all.

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