Gillette’s new ad gives a message the public can truly embrace.
Gillette’s new advert aims to tackle toxic masculinity. Despite the inevitable backlash – and in part because of it – we should embrace the message and applaud this household name for taking such a brave stand.
Of course, the aim of the campaign is to raise brand awareness and, ultimately, to sell more razors. So what? Better a company increases sales by improving the world than by making it worse. Would you rather a message that encourages men to be better to women (and each other) or a message that offers a discounted price and so promotes the throwaway culture responsible for poisoning our environment?
And what about the argument that men don’t need multinational corporations to act as role models? That big business shouldn’t offer guidance on how to be good? Fair enough, but who would you like to look up to? Whose behaviour best exemplifies the improvements in society that you would like to see? Former disgraced Daily Mirror editor and professional devil’s advocate, Piers Morgan?
By taking self-publicity to a level undreamed of by even the most vainglorious narcissist, this enfant terrible of mainstream media has ensured for himself an almost permanent position in the spotlight of the Twitter trending chart. He is not going to let his moment in the sun fade without a fight and so spews bile in the form of knee-jerk reactions to any topic in which his followers might be likely to show an interest. Indeed, the fact that he has seen fit to bleat indignantly about the Gillette video entitles it to more kudos, not less.
Positive role models are scarce in the age of social media and we should not rush to pour scorn on those who try to be a force for good. In the endless cacophony of the digital world - where noise drowns out real messages before they have had chance to reach their intended audience, and where echo chambers amplify and reinforce existing opinions so as to make them ever more rigid - if it takes the marketing clout of a large company to draw attention to what is right, then so be it. Big businesses, with their huge marketing budgets and access to cutting edge creative expertise, should be applauded for their efforts to promote positive change, not be dissuaded from doing so in future.
We have been in marketing for over 20 years and in that time we have seen plenty of campaigns – from businesses in all sectors – to warrant reactions of disgust, anger, incredulity and of course cynicism.
Gillette’s video does not deserve to be met with any of those emotions, it should be appreciated, applauded and shared. If Gillette sells more razors than it would otherwise have done, that is a bonus for them which we acknowledge with a nod of our marketing heads; if the video prompts even one man to reflect upon his behaviour - and he then endeavours to improve it in some way - that is surely a result that every man, woman and child can celebrate.
One final thought – you will see a lot tweets today highlighting the fact that the video on YouTube has more dislikes than likes. When you read those, just bear in mind that the number of dislikes is not even 10% of the number of views.
Watch the video here (opens in new window).
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