Razor company Gillette has a question for men in the age of Me Too: “Is this the best a man can get?”
Gillette’s advertising clip, which has gone viral since it debuted on Monday, turns the company’s 30-year-old ad tagline into a challenge for males to do better and be better as the nation reckons with the treatment of women at home, at work and on the street.
Gillette said in a statement that the point of the nearly two-minute ad titled “We Believe” is to address “actions commonly associated with ‘toxic masculinity,’” which also includes bullying and eliminating the “boys will be boys” excuse for unacceptable behavior.
“Gillette believes in the best in men,” said Gary Coombe, president of Procter & Gamble Co.‘s global grooming division, which owns the razor company. “By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come.”
The ad has received praise from some audiences, but its progressive message has some outraged some customers, who vow to ditch their razors on Twitter with the hashtag #BoycottGillette.
So nice to see @Gillette jumping on the “men are horrible” campaign permeating mainstream media and Hollywood entertainment. I for one will never use your product again. https://t.co/uZf7v4sFKm
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) January 14, 2019
Sorry Gillette, but men are not bullies. Bullies are bullies. Men are men. Enough blaming all men for the actions of some. #BoycottGillette
— Dave Sena (@DaveSena39) January 14, 2019
I won’t be buying Gillette and other P&G products again. A company that has built its empire thanks to men buying its products for decades now dares to spit on masculinity in the new commercial. I’m done! #BoycottGillette
— A. Mathura (@ptmathura) January 15, 2019
Other people on Twitter pointed out that the ad rightfully calls attention to aggressive and harmful behaviors.
Let’s just be clear. This ad focusses on changing the behaviour of men who have engaged in sexual assault, harassment, discrimination and violence.
In this tweet, Piers condones this behaviour. For the likes. For the column inches. For the ego. For the love of god, stop him. https://t.co/FAM0hOIqvd
— Nicola Thorp (@nicolathorp_) January 14, 2019
The #Gillette ad clearly calls out sexual harassment and bullying, and says “Some men are already doing fine.”
Yet tons of men are still going to take it as an attack on “normal male behaviour,” and will interpret it as “painting ALL men with a wide brush.” Priceless.
— Ethan Matisa (@ematisa) January 14, 2019
Fantastic ad and more of this is needed.
Also…seeing “men” boycott Gillette are proving the point of the ad. Way to NOT be the best man you can be, guys. https://t.co/Q4XPqt2NLw
— Cat Staggs 🏳️🌈 (@CatStaggs) January 14, 2019
Gillette’s North America brand director Pankaj Bhalla told CNN the controversy wasn’t a surprise.
“We expected debate,” Bhalla said. “Actually a discussion is necessary. If we don’t discuss and don’t talk about it, I don’t think real change will happen.”
Gillette said it will donate $1 million annually over the next three years to nonprofits, the first of which will be The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.