Did Gillette’s rant against toxic masculinity go too far?
Gillette’s “Me Too” movement-inspired ad, “Is this the best a man can get?,” has drawn wide praise in some corners and boycotts from others.
The nearly two-minute long spot shows men and boys engaging in a wide range of bad behavior, primarily sexual harassment and bullying. The ad calls on men to abandon “the same old excuses” and hold each other accountable. Towards the end, a line of men stand behind barbeque grills with wafting smoke reciting, “Boys will be boys will be boys will be boys.”
“Is this the best a man can get?” the voiceover asks. By the end, men are calling out catcallers, championing daughters and diffusing brawls.
To support the campaign, Gillette commissioned a study of 1,188 adults to define the attributes of a man “at his best.” The results emphasized “the outsized importance of ‘soft’ skills in today’s modern man — and most particularly the application of those skills to the role of fatherhood.”
Said Gary Coombe, president, Procter and Gamble Global Grooming, in a statement, “As the world’s largest marketer to men, we knew that joining the dialogue on ‘Modern Manhood’ would mean changing how we think about and portray men at every turn.”
The ad, released last Monday only online, earned widespread attention across social media. On YouTube, the ad has been viewed nearly 24 million times. By YouTube grades, the reception has so far slanted negative, displaying 1.1 million thumbs down votes verses about 650,000 thumbs-ups.
Fans of the ads call the execution a brave challenge gender norms. Many reports likened it to Nike’s lauded Colin Kapernnick campaign exploring race relations that also initially received boycotts. Foes believe the ad is demeaning to men and overly politically-correct. Some feel the message wasn’t appropriate for a maker of shavers.
“We’re not saying all guys are bad,” Damon Jones, VP, global communications and advocacy at Procter and Gamble, told Forbes. “We’re not trying to misrepresent any one individual. What we’re saying is, as a collective group, let’s have a little less bad behavior and more good.”
- Separating the Men from the Boys: Gillette Campaign Inspires Men to Re-Examine What It Means to Be Their Best – Gillette/Business Wire
- New ad from Gillette creates online buzz as it challenges male stereotypes – The New York Times
- Gillette ‘Masculinity’ Ad Draws Activist Praise, Right-Wing Ire – Bloomberg
- Gillette Responds To Controversial Advert Challenging Toxic Masculinity –- Forbes
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you have more praise or criticism for Gillette’s “Is this the best a man can get?” ad? Is it fair game for brands with products for men to build messages around the #MeToo movement?