Backlash against Gillette?

Gillette's twitter post about the commercial

Watch the commercial -> https://youtu.be/koPmuEyP3a0

Gillette, the multinational company which produces razors and shaving products, decided to change its latest campaign slogan from the well known “The Best A Man Can Get” to “The Best Men Can Be”. In the commercial, the company takes a stand against sexism and demonstrated its open support for the #Metoo movement.

The commercial, however, has received backlash on social media platforms from some customers, complaining about Gillette’s involvement in the political debate and “emasculating men”, saying that they will now boycott their products. Most of the critiques are of course men.

At the moment, it has over 11 Million views on youtube with 275.423 likes and 660.928 dislikes. Nevertheless, we think it is rather worrying that this kind of backlash towards an ad which tries to promote a progressive message and vision of masculinity can create such an outrage. The “masculine” men, which consumers are claiming to be, are based on this sexist and toxic reproduction of gender stereotypes, which is at the basis of gender inequality and the relevance of movements like the #Metoo.

A company’s spokesperson commented that the aim was to ensure the promotion of “positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions on what it means to be a man”. By airing commercial with a strong cultural and political message, companies act as political actors and by siding in debated issues they may compromise their consumers base. Similar to what happened to Nike’s advertising campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, an American NFL player. We therefore think it is a crucial step that brands targeting men, which have usually promoted alpha-male models of masculinity, are taking a step towards conveying different messages. It is part of how change in behaviour and attitudes is achieved, especially by targeting the large audiences.

Useful sources:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gillette-commercial-backlash-razor-ad-challenging-images-of-masculinity-rubs-some-the-wrong-way-me-too/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/15/gillette-metoo-ad-on-toxic-masculinity-cuts-deep-with-mens-rights-activists

Written by Silvana Limni and Vanda Suha.

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