July 31, 2020

Lauren Clemett

If you’ve been living under a rock (and have the beard to prove it) you may not have noticed that yet another brand advocating social change has many foaming at the mouth.


Gillette just launched a ’straight to YouTube’ campaign which plays on it’s 30 year old tagline “The Best A Man Can Get”.

It's not exactly cutting edge, but it certainly has people foaming at the mouth!

The Gillette advert shows men (and boys) behaving badly, then references the #MeToo movement and asks men to hold each other to a higher standard. The campaign begs the question in the viewers mind, am I the best I can be?

It closes with a link to thebestamencanbe.org which outlines their stance and promise to support non-profit organisations in the US designed to inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal “best” and become role models for the next generation.

It’s not new for brands to do this.

Dove’s Real Beauty and Coca-Colas body image campaigns did this years ago.

So what has people so lathered up about the Gillette advert?

Basically Gillette is being accused of attacking masculinity with many responding with ‘how dare you’ social media posts and comments.

Tabloid writer/editor Piers Morgan tweeted that he had used this brand of razors for years, but considered the advert ‘virtue-signalling PC guff’, leading a charge to boycott the brand.

An interesting stance, given that most purchasing of FMCG’s like razors is conducted by women.

Maybe Piers (who was called ruthless, arrogant, evil and obnoxious by none other than Donald Trump) has misunderstood the real target audience of this campaign?

I don't believe Gillette are attacking men or masculinity.

Their tagline is "The best a man can get"

They are leveraging off a current movement that is attempting to change the way people in society treat each other.

The challenge this brand is putting out there is "what does it take for a man to be at his best".

Challenging the "boys will be boys" attitude.

Women actually want men to be men.

We just don't want them to behave like arseholes.

@Gillette - Women want men to be men, we just don't want them to be arseholes.

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The difficulty of course, with men responding negatively to this brand and its push for change, is that unless you know what it's like to be a woman, it's difficult to be listened to or have your opinion valued.

Imagine if I were to weigh in on black lives matter?
I'm an Anglo Saxon white woman from New Zealand, what do I know about the topic!

I have grown up with the Maori culture, believe everyone is equal regardless of their skin tone, and I recently commented in favour of the Nike Campaign promoting the anti-anti-racism movement with their Colin Kaepernick fronted adverts (which had redneck Nike wearers burning their shoes but increased their African-American fanbase) but in reality, my opinion, because I have no idea what it’s like to be black, carries little weight.

The difference with the Gillette campaign, is that I know what it’s like to be a women and to put up with boys being boys and the toxic masculinity stereotyped in most adverts (Ultra-Tune, I’ll get to you eventually).

Remember, I worked in advertising for over 25 years!

So when men accuse the Gillette brand of trying to make men feel guilty for being men and suggest the agency behind the campaign of ‘attacking men’, perhaps their opinions matter less than the millions of women who are affected by the poor behaviour of men.

I’m definitely heterosexual and happen to be married to the most amazing, generous, loving and strong, masculine husband but even I sometimes think life would be easier if I had a wife!

I'm heterosexual and married to an awesome man, but sometimes even I think life would be easier if I had a wife!

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Women don’t want men to change into women, we are sensible enough to know that will never happen, and we like men to be men.

Our very chromosomes and hormones ensure that males and females ARE different. Men find it too difficult to be women for the same reasons women find it hard to be men.

And why should we try to be?

Perhaps women and men need to better understand what goes on inside our DNA and why we do what we do?

As for toxic masculinity, and the suggestion that the team behind this campaign was led by a radical feminist, I believe 'radical' anything is not great for any real transformation to take place.

Any radical feminism and resulting radical masculine response to the Gillette advert is not growing better humans.

Understanding, insight and the ability and desire to learn about what drives us, so we can evolve and grow is far more important.

I guess the thing I like about this ad (and the Nike one) is that it gets conversations happening. It challenges society. It does what all great social advocacy brands do - it shakes things up a little and gets us talking.

What women do want, is for men to hold each other accountable. And that’s exactly what the Gillette campaign is asking for.

To teach their sons by their own example. To think more with their heart and less with their dicks. 

To understand that to be the best a man can get, you need to actually be stronger and more masculine and stand up to old fashioned beliefs and actions that bully and belittle others.

Women don’t want men to change into women, we are sensible enough to know that will never happen, and we like men to be men.

Click to Tweet

Perhaps everyone could just calm down and consider that maybe Gillette is doing what all brands should do - play a role in influencing our society and culture that leads to positive improvement.

Wouldn't it be awesome if both men and women started pressuring the media and brands to drop the sexist manipulation and get real?

And to the men who say they’ll be switching to another brand because they don’t need Gillette to make them feel guilty as they look in the mirror…

You'd only feel guilty if this ad has triggered something in your own behaviour that you may have done, and you now feel bad about it.

Consider that perhaps there are some men who need to see this campaign and feel guilty so their conscience kicks in and they are encouraged to improve their standards of what it means to be at their best.

It is a very scary fact that here in Australia, 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15 and each week one woman dies at the hands of her partner/ex-partner.

You would probably agree with Gillette, that something needs to change, and as Michael Jackson famously said, let's start with that man in the mirror - regardless of which brand of razor he is shaving with.

@Gillette - Something needs to change. Michael Jackson famously said, let's start with the man in the mirror - regardless of which brand of razor he is shaving with.

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Lauren Clemett

Lauren is an International Award-Winning Personal Branding Specialist with over 30 years experience in brand management working within world-leading advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy and Clemenger BBDO. A five-time bestselling author and International Award Winning Neurobranding expert, she uses her dyslexia disability as her greatest asset - helping entrepreneurs understand how the brain sees brands.

She is also a keen sailor, golfer and vodka quality control expert.

annette densham

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