Gillette faces Criticism over #MeToo Toxic Masculinity Advert

The Gillette brand has recently released a new advert which references bullying, the #MeToo movement and toxic masculinity. The commercial, titled “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” is currently number one on YouTube’s trending list with over five million views.

However, the response has been a mixed bag as some have praised the advert’s message which aims to update the company’s 30-year-old tagline. On the other hand, many have not been as impressed, as the advert currently has 387,000 dislikes with some saying Gillette is “dead” to them. If you haven’t seen the advert yet, check it out below.

In the short film, the company asks “Is this the best a man can get?” before showing scenes of bullying, sexual harassment, sexist behaviour and male based aggressive behaviour.

It then shows examples of more positive behaviour, such as stepping in to stop these behaviours when they happen. For example, one man stops his friend from harassing or ogling a woman on the street.

The majority of comments left on the video are negative, with some saying they will never buy Gillette products again and others saying the advert was “feminist propaganda” and surely there’s a soy boy undertone to it all, isn’t there?

Viewers also took to Twitter to express their disappointment and frustration with the company’s new campaign. One user pointed out that the ad singled out white men as they are the ones displaying inappropriate behaviour before being corrected by a black man. Why are we not surprised?

There have also been calls for the company to post an apology video, but the brand believes the new advert adjusts to its slogan and says it believes in “the best in men.”

“By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behaviour, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best’, we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come,” Gillette’s president, Gary Coombe, stated.

The commercial was directed by Kim Gehrig from the UK-based production company Somesuch, the same company who directed the campaign for Sport England, ‘This Girl Can’, back in 2015.

Gillette has made a partnership with the Building A Better Man project, which aims to decrease violent behaviour in men, as well as The Boys and Girls Club of America, which helps young men develop better social and communication skills. On top of that, they are also donating $1 million (approximately £777,000) a year for the next three years to US charities for supporting men.

While the response for the advert has been widely negative, Rob Saunders, account manager of the Media Agency Group told BBC’s Radio 1 Newsbeat that Gillette, the ad is getting them huge publicity.

“Their next steps are very important but it shouldn’t necessarily be widespread panic yet,” he said. “Their ad is getting them good publicity and good numbers and causing a debate – which they must have known when they put out this ad.

“This ad would have been approved by many people high up at Gillette. So they must have known that there may have been backlash.”

However, despite the criticism, there has also been many praising the ad’s message and its attempt to join the debate on what it means to be a modern male.

“We knew that joining the dialogue on ‘Modern Manhood’ would mean changing how we think about and portray men at every turn” Coombe continues.

“Effective immediately, Gillette will review all public-facing content against a set of defined standards meant to ensure we fully reflect the ideals of Respect, Accountability and Role Modelling in the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and more.

“For us, the decision to publicly assert our beliefs while celebrating men who are doing things right was an easy choice that makes a difference.”

What are your opinions on the advert, if you’ve already take time out to see it? Do you agree with the negative response that this advert has received and believe that it suggestively puts all white men in a bad light? Or do you think that the advert lives up well to its underlying message? Let us know your opinions in the comments below.


Story by Emily Clark

Featured Photo Credit: GilletteAdvert

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