Yesterday, while scrolling through a trending hashtag on Twitter, I landed on the pictures of trashed Gillette razors and discovered, it was in response to the brand's new ad. While my millennial mind fell in love with the commercial for its sensitivity, a section of male audience raged after watching 'We Believe'. Why? Because it challenges the century-old notion of masculinity. Because it encourages all men to hold other men accountable for their actions. Because it shows how men who want to become a better human being, can do so.
For years, we've seen commercials that objectify women, fuel racism and spread ill-intentions such as 'take a whiff of so and so product and women will come running', 'put them where they belong - in the kitchen', 'apply this lotion and you will be fair and lovely' (remember the racist Dove ad that gave the brand a lot of negative publicity?).
Gillette has made a well-thought attempt to showcase a change in our society by addressing Me Too, gender equality and racism in a 1:50-minute video.
On 13th January 2019, Gillette released its new commercial on the YouTube channel that has already garnered more than 20 million views and is still trending on the platform. It has divided the crowd into two. There are people who believe the brand's intention behind the concept is to make men better and the others are trying to find a controversial, rather commercial, angle to it.
The commercial conveys a strong message of men holding men accountable. It challenges the idea of toxic masculinity and asks men to raise their sons to do the same. In the light of the #MeToo movement, I have to say, it touches all the right points of sensitivity.
In the campaign, the company's three-decades-old motto, 'The Best A Man Can Get' has been changed and a question has been raised, whether this is 'The Best A Man Can Be'.
The ad not only addresses the truth but also shows how today's men can become better by protecting people around them, pointing out bad behavior, intervening when other men go wrong and helping their children grow up as responsible individuals.
In an interview with WIRED, Pankaj Bhalla, who is the North American brand director for Gillette shared that today's men want to help and they want to become better, but they don't know how. According to Gillette's website, for the campaign, the brand is also trying to become a better version of itself by donating US$1 million every year for three years to non-profit programmes, which are designed to 'inspire, educate, and help men of all ages achieve their personal 'best' and become role models for the next generation.'
Many Hollywood celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Rainn Wilson have praised the commercial.
I've been using a men's Gillette razor since I was 14. Gillette was the first major company to hire me when I was kind of known as a risky little b for brands. I still use a gillette fusion razor and I still get so much joy from a fresh blade. in closing, I love you, Gillette.
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 16, 2019
As for the men who are trashing their Gillette razors and blade, I don't see the logic there, I only see a lot of razors clogging up their toilets.
— El_Mariachi (@El_Mariachi051) January 14, 2019
— warroom (@warroom) January 15, 2019
The previous ads from the brand itself had some questionable content, where a woman would be shown coming close to the man after he has shaved. But in 2019, Gillette shows a revamped version of itself.
Keeping in mind Gillette's statement on their website, it's genuinely difficult to ignore the good intentions of the brand. "It’s time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture. And as a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man," says the company on its page.
Mostly, people have reacted positively to the ad. The commercial is emotionally moving and wisely placed. However, the backlash has raised a few questions on our willingness to bring or accept the change, but the attempt made by a brand that majorly targets a male audience shows that the old notion of masculinity is ready for a different era.
Featured Image Source: YouTube
You can read more about the #MeToo Movement here.
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