Shame On Gillette For Shaming Men

Shame On Gillette For Shaming Men

Shame On Gillette For Shaming Men

Losing market share, Gillette, maker of all things razor, has decided that the best way to build market share is to shame their main customers: men. The Gillette company was founded in 1901 and is currently owned by Procter & Gamble.

Full disclosure here, in another lifetime, I was a marketing coordinator for a Procter & Gamble brand and my husband was District Manager for Health and Beauty Care in California. We met at the Annual Advertising Beach Blanket Bingo and are still pretty brand loyal three decades later. That being said, I despise virtue signaling as a brand strategy.

Here is the :30 advertisement in this dreadful case:

This makes my back teeth hurt. Gillette has taken a thirty year old tagline “The Best A Man Can Get” and flipped it “Is this the best a man can get?”. And, corporate P&G acknowledges this in a brand statement:

Thirty years ago, we launched our The Best A Man Can Get tagline.

Since then, it has been an aspirational statement, reflecting standards that many men strive to achieve.

But turn on the news today and it’s easy to believe that men are not at their best. Many find themselves at a crossroads, caught between the past and a new era of masculinity. While it is clear that changes are needed, where and how we can start to effect that change is less obvious for many. And when the changes needed seem so monumental, it can feel daunting to begin. So, let’s do it together.

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. With that in mind, we have spent the last few months taking a hard look at our past and coming communication and reflecting on the types of men and behaviors we want to celebrate. We’re inviting all men along this journey with us – to strive to be better, to make us better, and to help each other be better.

From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette. In the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and so much more.

As part of The Best Men Can Be campaign, Gillette is committing to donate $1 million per year for the next three years to non-profit organizations executing programs in the United States designed to inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal “best” and become role models for the next generation.

Our tagline needs to continue to inspire us all to be better every day, and to help create a new standard for boys to admire and for men to achieve… Because the boys of today are the men of tomorrow.

We’ve all got work to do. And it starts today.

Can you say virtue signalling? Sure you can. This is so bad, it would have to improve to be pathetic. “Turn on the news today and it’s easy to believe”? Yes, it’s easy to believe that a Hollywood system allowed some men to get away with bad behavior for decades because of the profit motive.

But, my dearest Procter & Gamble, that is not where most men live. Shame on P&G. Shame on Gillette. Here is a little blowback from the Wall Street Journal:

“The video is sad and depressing while putting ALL men in a bad light,” one Twitter user wrote. “Men aren’t just waking up to bad things that are going on. There have always been good men. Bad ones too, yes, but the same can be said about women.”

The new Gillette ad was meant to inspire positive behavior but spends too much time exposing the behavior that men have been criticized for, said Susan Cantor, chief executive of branding firm RedPeak. “Men are saying, we feel marginalized, criticized and accused rather than feeling inspired empowered and encouraged.”

On top of the American Psychological Association deeming toxic masculinity a disorder, this is just too much. Some men are bad. Some women are bad.

And “boys will be boys” is not an excuse for bad behavior. “Boys will be boys” can be what a mother tells herself when she catches her son jumping out of his bedroom window playing Airborne Ranger. Listen up Gillette/Procter & Gamble! Maybe that same little boy grew up to serve his country and not only jump out of planes, but aerially deliver vehicles.

Photo Credit: 82nd Airborne Sustainment Brigrade/189th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion/151st Rigger Company/Permission details
This image is a work of a U.S. military or Department of Defense employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain in the United States.

This. This is where most men and women in the United States live. They get up. They go to work. They love their family. There is so much there to celebrate. But, no the mental midgets at Grey Advertising, Gillette and Procter & Gamble decided to pile on.

Well, it’s past time to stand up and say “Hale No!” Men are great. Manly men are even better. This toxic culture scares me more than toxic masculinity or toxic femininity. Shame on everyone associated with this.

Feature Photo Credit: Putta Gunawan/Creative Commons License/Cropped

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  • Dana says:

    I guess they figure only betas shave, that real men are wearing beards.

  • zenman says:

    “Boys will be boys” is only an excuse for young male behavior, ie before a boy becomes a man.

    “Men will be men” is an apt description for the behavior shown in the image showing in the sidebar of young soldiers/Marines in a landing craft looking at a pinup girl.

    Besides beta/metro males don’t really shave, they have to have that cultured stubble, neither a beard, nor a freshly shaven face.

    “Get woke, go broke.” We shall see in the coming months if Gillette goes the way of Dicks in their decision to put “values” (ie virtue signaling) over profit.

  • SFC D says:

    I thinking that Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s are loving this. Don’t preach to me, Gillette. Take your overpriced crap and go hang out with that Kaepernick guy, another overpriced failure.

  • GWB says:

    But turn on the news today and it’s easy to believe that men are not at their best.
    Well, real men don’t listen to gossip-mongers, so we know better than to think that all men are either soy-bois or Weinsteins.

    a new era of masculinity
    A new era of masculinity would be nice. But what you mean is a new definition of masculinity for this era. And that is NOT helpful.

    we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man
    You f*ed up with this commercial, then. (Oh, and “inclusive” should not mean “including people who really aren’t men”.)

    to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man
    IOW, to attempt to have men not be men. (Actually, I would love for mainstream culture to *actually* be challenged on what it expects men to be – because I’m tired of them being portrayed as kindly bumbling fools, imbecilic jackasses, or monsters preying on others.)

    non-profit organizations executing programs in the United States designed to inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal “best” and become role models for the next generation
    So, Awanas clubs? How about Focus On The Family? Or Promise Keepers? Knights Of Columbus?
    Or will they only include progressive, globalist, pro-abortion groups?
    (BTW, did you threaten at any point to pull funds from Boy Scouts of America if they didn’t go gay or gender-inclusive?)

    Because the boys of today are the men of tomorrow.
    Not if the feminists have their way.

    a Hollywood system allowed some men to get away with bad behavior for decades because of the profit motive
    Even worse, Toni: it was because of the fame motive. The victims who went along did so not because they couldn’t find paying work, but because they didn’t want to screw up their Big Break. Pride is a much deadlier sin than greed.

    “Boys will be boys”
    Also appropriate for boys brawling (wrestling, whacking each other with sticks, throwing dirt clods, pushing each other face down into the snow, etc.) without real anger. Or coming home with their clothes holed or dirty because they climbed a tree/swam a creek/built a fortress/chased some critters/dug a lion trap.
    It’s never been appropriate for hurting others maliciously, treating women poorly, or being a hipster douche. (Oh, sorry, that one is “bois will be bois”.)

    “Hale No!”
    Oh, but there were some MEN in McHale’s Navy! 😉

    Being appreciated for being a man is a real turn-on, ladies. But remember that “being a man” isn’t all muscles and good hair. 🙂

    • Vivian says:

      The most well thought out and written comment I’ve seen in quite some time. And I’m a woman who appreciates a true-blue man, such as my husband, and also my son, who happens to be a Marine. I’m tired of seeing men as the bumbling idiot, the vilified man’s man, that is permeating our culture. It’s not something I ascribe to. And I detest that I now may be cast into the same pile of crazy militant feminists that think all of this male bashing is acceptable!

    • GWB says:

      without real anger or a desire to hurt someone
      A clarification. So throwing dirt clods because you want to harm someone (vs just because it’s fun to fight) is a bad thing, even if you don’t hate them.

  • CaptDMO says:

    Their new ad campaign has drawn attention to……
    Well, good for them! I don’t care. Doesn’t matter to me.
    Harry’s? sure, if that crank’s your tractor.
    Personally I endorse Merkur products from Germany . ($45 for 100 double edged “safety” razor stainless steel blades)
    What it HAS done inspire folks to look around, and hopefully realize there are
    superior products available, for FAR less money and trash can space, not to mention reintroducing men of a certain discriminating nature to reexamine the luxury in life’s little victories that come from a straight razor, strop, brush, and hot soap lather.
    HOWEVER: Be advised that TSA etc. will probably look askew at a straight razor in your carry-on luggage.
    THAT could be a loss in a $40-75 investment* …IF you’ve developed discerning tastes.
    ALSO be advised that, like ANY other “art” there skills, and distinctions in the quality/styles of the tools, that will
    need to be addresseduntil they become instinctive.

    *Do not overlook Ye Olde Shoppe, pawn shops, church basement shops, for the 50+ year old antiques
    that remain superior blades, blade holders, to this day.
    I do NOT recommend the old school quality shaving stuff for today’s modern young disposable consumer, seeking to shave legs, arm pits, arms, eyebrows, or personal areas,… nor for women.

    • GWB says:

      REAL luxury in shaving is all that… accomplished by someone else. Preferably your own lovely companion. (Mind you, I don’t think this applies in reverse – that is, to the sorts of shaving women do. I can see all the ladies shuddering from here.)

      • Scott says:

        Be open to the possibilities GWB… Ladies might not be shuddering (or doing so for other reasons), if their significant other possesses the request skills…

        • GWB says:

          They won’t let you wash their clothes. You think they’re going to let you near their very sensitive parts with a razor? I’ve never met a woman that gullible trusting.

          (“Walk it off” or “Here’s the styptic pencil” are not adequate responses, either.)

    • Scott says:

      I am currently using my Great Grandfathers (circa 1920) single blade brass razor, and Loving it! To hell with Gillette, and all of the SJW’s!

  • CaptDMO says:

    Crap! crank’s =cranks

  • Joseph J Miller Jr says:

    This came at a really good time for me. I’ve been using disposable razors and decided I’d get a more substantial razor. So Dollar Shave Club, here I come.

  • Sabre22 says:

    So let me get this straight Gillette now say masculinity is Toxic along with Psychologists Issue Controversial Report on Masculinity but is now acceptable for a 10 year old boy dressing in drag is normal.this is insanity in action.

  • John Anderson says:

    I can only hope that when I pass away and leave the big blue marble, that St. Peter immediately directs me to a man cave! Goodby Gillette. Another one bites the dust.

  • Wozzup says:

    A message for Gillette. This ad is an enormous FAIL. You sure know how to diss your potential user base. I will not buy Gillette again for promulgating this anti male “have you stopped beating your wife” rubbish. Enjoy being ‘woke” for now…..tomorrow you will be out of a job.
    BTW In the mean time I suggest that you also sack your advertising company. The only thing more offensive might have been for you to issue something like this:
    “Men, are you ashamed of your toxic masculinity? Are you sad that you are genetically programmed to be a rapist, a bully and a wife beater? Are you appalled that you are most likely not just a male but a white male to boot?”
    Buy a Gillette razor blade. Then cut you throat with it.”

  • Jim says:

    From an article in The Sydney Morning Herald [Australia] written by Dr Rachael Jacobs, a lecturer in education at Western Sydney University, 17 Jan.:

    ”But how deep does Gillette’s callout of toxic masculinity run? Gillette’s marketing team has a long history of using women in misogynistic ways to sell their products. In 1915 Gillette realised it could double its profits by getting women to shave, but to do that it would have to convince women that underarm hair was disgraceful.

    Thanks to this piece of marketing genius, we now have a hair-removal industry worth billions of dollars based on our unsightly hair. Add to this its “pink tax” (gender-based price discrimination), under which Gillette regularly charges its female customers more for what is essentially the same product.

    Gillette’s sexism goes deeper than sleek ads and pink shaving products. Gillette is owned by Procter & Gamble, which also makes skin whitening and lightening creams, mass-marketed in Asia and the Middle East. These racist products celebrate whiteness, tell dark women they are not OK the way they were born and perpetuate ridiculous and homogenous beauty standards.

    Perhaps the most uncomfortable thing about Gillette’s new approach to masculinity is that it never seemed to care before now. Decades of white-ribbon activism, domestic violence at national crisis levels, and harrowing statistics of rape and assault have done nothing to prompt Gillette or parent company P&G into action.

    Now that #metoo has gone viral and toxic masculinity is publicly unacceptable, it’s prepared to hop on the bandwagon with nothing but a shareable video. It just feels like it’s capitalising on our discrimination and pain.

    Once again, we can see that corporates can capitalise on social change, but they cannot create it. Real change has to come from individuals and communities, in this case men, who need to stand up without the aid of a razor or a sleekly edited ad.”

    • GWB says:

      Wow, that writer is even more woke (OldSPeak: ‘stupid’) than Gillette. Not the brightest bulb in the array.

      • Jim says:

        G’day GWB, what bothers you specificallyabout her article? She’s clearly criticising Gillette for its treatment of women historically and currently as well as the company’s cynical political opportunism in the recent anti-male advertisement. She highlights P & G’s double standards in terms of racial ”colour” and pricing as well as gender.

        Please enlighten me.

        • GWB says:

          using women in misogynistic ways to sell their products
          There’s one. It assumes that an expression of femininity must be because of oppression by men. Using the fact that men find a woman with smooth legs attractive to sell women razors does not make the ad campaign “misogynistic”. (If you can point to a commercial that tries to sell razors by men mistreating women, I’ll be open to changing my mind.)

          sexism […] pink shaving products
          Because pink razors is sexist? WTF? Very woke, that.

          Gillette regularly charges its female customers more for what is essentially the same product
          So, why don’t all those women use the cheaper product? (Because 2 reasons – 1, back in the bad old days, the razors were different, and 2, a lot of women like pink.)
          (Oh, there’s more to the “pink” marketing, too – like the fact that men didn’t want women using their razors, and vice versa. The pink and yellow colors helped distinguish which razor was which in the tub, which loads of men and women found useful.)

          These racist products celebrate whiteness
          Oy vey. Funny that in almost every culture, lighter skin has been viewed as more beautiful. Even before anyone there ever met a “white man”. But that attitude is somehow “racist”.
          Oh, and those creams are marketed in the US of A, too. To white women.
          (The idea that desiring lighter skin is racist is projecting onto everyone from the experience of a number of American blacks, particularly from Louisiana.)

          toxic masculinity
          If you’re using that phrase unironically, you’re woke. Period.
          If you mean a certain strain of men who think they have to put others beneath them to feel adequate, then fine. But that is not how that phrase is used when writing today.

          come from individuals and communities, in this case men
          Given the rest of what you quoted, that comes across as an oxymoron. She’s saying individuals, and in the same sentence lumping all males together into “men”. Because in her view (I’m coming to a conclusion based on a bunch of evidence) all men are guilty – either of doing bad things or not standing up against those doing bad things.

          I actually didn’t mind a couple of bits in the “ad”. But a lot of it came across as condescending, some of it came across as slander, some of it came across as caricaturing me (I was the bullied in school, not the bully), a lot of it was a caricature of things like “boys will be boys” (see my comment above on that) and the catcalling.

          Understand, the sort of men who do bad things will not listen to this stuff, and the rest of us consider it slanderous and condescending. And those of us who don’t do bad things already try to protect women from it in various ways.

          Oh, and she might be criticizing Gillette for “cynical political opportunism”, but it’s also exactly what she’s demanding from everyone. Her critique is not really about the ad, but that she thinks they don’t mean it.

          • Jim says:

            Thanks for your response. I think you’re a bit a bit too hard on her, though I believe she should have directly challenged the trendy pejorative term ”toxic masculinity” as unfairly painting all males with the same brush.

  • David says:

    I just posted an e-mail to Gillette, telling them they had lost me as a customer. Until I see the entire Board of Directors commit seppuku, that is.

  • Jim says:

    Speaking of those noble and virtuous people from Gillette:

    I like the tone of blue used in the jump? cat? tobogganing? suits.

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