Love it or hate it Gillette is getting people talking and that’s what matters_
Colleen Merwick Head of Brand Strategy at AgencyTK
By now you should have seen, or at least heard of the new Gillette ad and the backlash that has followed suit. It seems to be polarising both men and women into loving or hating the ad. And for many, the hate extends to the brand as well. Men on twitter exclaiming ‘I’ll never buy razors from you again’, ‘You’ve lost a loyal customer’ and ‘Why are you trying to alienating your customers’ and so on.
If this is your takeaway then you have failed to see the bigger picture. The ad isn’t about you, what you do or have done in the past. It’s about what men can do going forward, collectively, to support each other and be better humans.It’s about change. Changing mind-sets . . .
To create change you need to make a lot of noise. Those with courage and a voice step up and take action. Those in opposition usually turn away in silence, or make negative noise to discredit and distract.
This isn’t the first time masculinity has evolved nor will it be the last, it just might be the most public and noticeable.Many Millennial and Gen X men have consciously, or subconsciously, chosen to break away from the traditional definition of masculinity. While they have no issues with the men who embody this traditional mind-set and role, that doesn’t mean they want to be like him either. Instead many choose to be more emotional. More in-touch with what they want out of life. They aren’t afraid to be a different version of a ‘man’ even with the snide or petty comments that often ensue. This new type of ‘man’, while not mainstream, is making an impact and forcing many of us to adjust our expectations of men in general. My husband along with loads of other men out there happily enjoy cooking and choose to cook dinner every night. And with me working far away in London, and he working from home, he also takes on the main carer role with our daughter. This isn’t where you roll your eyes and call him a push-over, or say I wear the trousers, or tell me how lucky I am that I got ‘one of the good ones’. These reactions are the same narrow- minded ones that people are having to the Gillette ad. Men if cooking or kids aren’t your thing then don’t shame someone else who enjoys those roles. Don’t belittle his choice in life by making me out to be a bad person and who forces him to cook and take care of our daughter. And women don’t think I am special because it’s not what your man does.
Advertising for better or worse, affects us all on a sub-conscious level and helps form and reinforce our perceptions of men and women and their roles in society. Brands who advertise have the platform and the voice to make a difference in society so shouldn’t they be celebrated for trying to make a positive change? #Metoo and #Timesup
highlighted that some men need to be held accountable for their actions. Gillette is helping give a blueprint of how we all can help ensure that those negative behaviours don’t have the ability to be ignored anymore.So yes there is bound to be backlash when people feel their life choices are being called out. But telling people they are wrong or Gillette is losing a customer doesn’t stop the momentum. It doesn’t end the conversation, it only fuels the debate which is how it eventually becomes the new norm – because we have heard it so many times. The few who are brave enough to take a stance and believe in something so much so that they put themselves in a position to be ridiculed and criticised, are the ones that pave the way for others to change without any negative consequences.
Everyone is afraid of change, yet it never stops change from happening. It’s always better to stand for something then for nothing. Ignorance isn’t bliss – it’s acceptance.