Why Gillette’s New Ad May Cut Deep

This week, Proctor and Gamble’s men’s razor giant, Gillette, sent shock waves around the country when it released its new advertisement shedding light on the controversial #MeToo movement. The advertisement uses an empathetic approach in encouraging men to shape the way they view their own masculinity, encouraging changes in the way they speak and act in their everyday lives. While for some, the call-to-action generated feelings of overwhelming gratitude and appreciation, others felt it was too accusatory and yet another slam at the male population.

While the video has reached more than 16 million views on YouTube, Gillette has kept quiet about the controversy, simply letting the video’s content speak on behalf of the brand itself. But I think it’s important to look at this with our marketing eyes open, removing the politics and simply looking at this through a company lens. Companies are consistently being challenged to take a stance, which can be frightening, but also incredibly rewarding. While the piece tip toes along lines that are all too fine in our world right now, it takes an aim at its most important consumer – young men, challenging them to pause and reflect on the world around them with the hopes that in turn they will find themselves turning back to the product.

This may seem like a bold move, but I view it as all too familiar. Back in 2018, Nike launched a similar campaign featuring ex-NFL athlete, Colin Kaepernick. Many consumers thought that the company’s decision to teeter a societal line would cost them billions and in turn create a brand image that was incredibly bleak. Instead, Nike saw an increase in sales and a spike in its online presence.

My point is, in today’s current climate, brands are being challenged more every day to push the boundaries and create content that reaches farther than just turning over a profit. In order to stand out among the masses, they need to continue to make moves, such as Gillette’s, and build trust with their consumers. It is becoming substantially more crucial that they are always thinking one step ahead, no matter where society may lie in the conversation. I think this is just the beginning of a shift we will begin to see more of this year when it comes to compelling advertising and an increase in brand awareness.

No matter what you think of Gillette’s advertisement itself, I think we, as marketing leaders, can take this as a chance to evaluate our own efforts. How will we stand out above the crowd and, better yet, what will we stand for? I think Gillette just opened a whole new door for 2019.