Just in case you haven’t been in touch with the Internet lately, Gillette recently released a new ad campaign about toxic masculinity and addressing issues related to the topic which has caused a mass uproar, with spectators taking either extreme ends as a response.
The ad, features a series of events challenging the unacceptable behaviour of a majority of men today, and hence, poses their own tagline in the form of a question, ‘is this the best a man can get?’
Looking into the negative reactions it got, a huge majority of the viewers wreaked havoc in the comments and on other platforms chastising Gillette for asking men to ‘leave their masculinity behind’ and mistaking the intent of the ad from ‘most men’ to ‘all men’. The reason it upset such a huge majorly male percentage of the audience was that most of them misunderstood the message of the ad, which was pretty simple to understand—set an example for the young boys of today, what real masculinity is.
A lot of users commented with things like, ‘This is a spit in the face of the western men who are the most sweet, kind, non-violent and charitable men existing on the planet. And yet, we are described as toxic violent morons who need black men to teach us how to treat women. Gillette, you lost one client forever, and many more,’ by Sturrs TLH on YouTube. Another user, John Lingel stated, ‘It does not really feel like being a sexual predator is even a big deal anymore. Every man is already considered one anyway. Bit of a relief I don’t have to worry about being creepy any more since I am already considered a predator just by nature of being a man.’ Bruce F wrote, ‘Bullying and harassment are learned behaviours. The reasons for them are many. They are not automatically built into every man based solely on his gender or any woman for that matter. This commercial will not change men’s behaviour or anyone else’s. This ad is nothing more than virtue signalling at its worse with all men being labeled as the “bad guy” and men being the root of all that is evil. Shame on you Gillette.’
The point to be noted here is how incorrectly has the agenda been perceived by the masses. All the ad really did was state facts which are, majority of the misdoings in society today are caused by men, in acts big or small, intentionally or unintentionally which is noted down by the easily impressionable boys they’re surrounded by who thereafter, carry that behaviour on (majority is not = all men). This is the entire concept of toxic masculinity which is what the ad really aimed at addressing. That is not to say that every man carries these traits or that every man is a sexual predator, not even close. It simply asks men to think twice before they do something that might adversely affect someone else.
Majority of the audience getting offended because they believe they’re ‘nice men’ or dismissing the entire concept of toxic masculinity as a whole just because they haven’t encountered such traits in their immediate surroundings is like saying, ‘I ate a 5-course meal, so starvation does not exist.’ Individually, we’re negligible in the entire universal concept and hence, just because a trait of such toxicity isn’t taking place anywhere around you, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening at all.
Keeping aside the misinterpreted message and its response, what did the ad do really? I mean, yes, the agenda or the intent was to raise discussions about how our actions are shaping the men of tomorrow, so how much of that message did the ad actually successfully execute? Visibly, none because the ad glorifies basic human decency while putting it on a pedestal when men do it.
Looking at it in retrospect, all it really appears as is that the ad is simply a marketing gimmick. The theme of advertising in 2018 and thereon, is ‘woke advertising’. CSR ads, PR events, and campaigns all try to paint brands in a positive or as the millennial culture says it, ‘woke’ light. Fake activism and so on, are evidently portrayed by Gillette. Through this ad or short film, it tries really hard to portray itself as a progressive, coming-of-age brand that believes in equality and is against toxic masculinity which, surprise surprise, it’s not!
Why is Gillette a hypocrite? Because, dear readers, it supports the pink tax. The pink tax, as quoted by Daily Mail, is the common form of gender-based price discrimination that involves women being charged a premium or higher prices for items specifically marketed towards women while men pay less for virtually the same product. Simply put, it’s women paying more for the same products, simply because of their genitalia.
This pink tax is used by Gillette on their razors for women, with a charge of $1.05 whereas the same exact product for men teeters on 75 cents.
It’s quite obvious that no matter how much brand advertising and preaching one does about their brand through any over the top means, at the end of the day, its the actions that count and Gillette of course, misses the mark with its so-called, ‘woke advertising’ by charging its female TG more. Spectators are simply bashing the brand for all the wrong reasons and that is the sad reality.