Gillette’s controversial new advertisement: a prophetic voice, speaking out about modern masculinity or two minutes of sanctimonious man-hating? The co-director of anti-abuse charity Restored gives his verdict.
Advertisements for razors rarely generate much excitement. Gillette’s latest short film has bucked the trend though. After a week, it has generated nearly 16 million views, 798,000 ‘dislikes’ (beating ‘likes’ by roughly two-to-one). Oh and media pundit Piers Morgan hates it!
Getting into a lather?
The reason for the furore is that the advert seeks to tackle one of the hottest topics of the last couple of years: the darker side of modern masculinity – as highlighted by the #MeToo movement.
The advert shows sexism, sexual harassment and bullying. Gillette’s old marketing strapline ‘The best a man can get’ is reprised to ask, ‘Is this the best a man can be?’ And, love it or hate it, the ad is powerful stuff.
Gillette’s website explains the thinking behind the short film:
‘As a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man. We’re inviting all men along this journey with us.’
So, why all the hatred?
Well, Piers Morgan’s fury appears to be directed at the idea that all men are neanderthal-like abusers. This isn’t what this film is suggesting. There are, of course, many good men and Gillette is encouraging them to be part of the much-needed change by being role models.