So Gillette put out a new YouTube video ad, which is apparently very controversial. I saw this, and honestly didn’t care that much about it. I noticed how much hub-bub was being generated about it and figured it’s another thing that will be over soon. It was another moment to get popcorn and watch the world burn a little bit more…
That was until a friend of mine sent me a link to an article, and asked me to read it, this article.
At this point I read through the article and had a few things to say in response to my friend, and then later decided that I would publish my response as my own blog article.
The article in question is another example of a party taking something that was perfectly fine before and then spinning it as “If you’re offended by this, you clearly have a fragile male ego”, which I have a problem with, not because of my aforementioned fragile male ego but because I think most men (And also some women) simply didn’t ask for this. Who did? Why is shaving razors the “latest battleground” for this?
“Gillette, attempting to appear “woke,” has attracted the ire of confused folk who reckon that masculinity itself is under attack.”
Are they^^ fucking kidding?
“The ad offers little to be offended by, unless you’re the sort of person who’s always on edge, waiting for a potential blow to the male psyche.”
Yeah, this^^ article isn’t biased at all.
“But to be fair, nobody wants to be preached to when buying razor blades. They just want to shave their face, not listen to an ethics lecture. Nobody asked the corporate sector to be “woke,””
This^^ is the only lick of sense in this article, but it clearly is there to appear “balanced”.
The point is, as the last quote says, nobody asked for this.
Nobody asked for Star Wars Episode 8 to be a story including lead male characters being emasculated on the big screen. That is what the young boys are seeing as what they are. Not like Han Solo of yesteryear, who inspired young men to confidently go out into the world, as he did. As a clarification, because sometimes I need to make this 100% clear, these are not real people or events… Star Wars is written fantasy. It was written to portray characters this way, so of course its going to upset people. Its not organic, its forced (No pun intended).
The point is, its so insensitive to its target audiences, and the numbers always show it in the end. Look what happened to Ghostbusters, look what happened to Star Wars Ep8, and look what’s going to happen here. These are escapist luxuries that people want to mindlessly watch… Like playing D&D or a videogame. Its about getting away from everyday life, not a soapbox to remind people that they need to do better.
Gillette will lose sales, because shaving is supposed to be a solidly manly activity… And Gillette is supposed to be one of those brands that is supposed to exemplify manly qualities (IE: being dependable, strong, supportive and providing). Shaving is not supposed to be exciting, its supposed to be a matter of masculine pride, that a father teaches his son.
Yes I know women shave too, but in fairness, I think its an entirely different and more private/intimate experience. Male shaving is a very visual and up-front experience… After all, when you meet someone you stare at their face first, right? Riiiight?
Gillette is succeeded in alienating their audience, and I hope brands like Old Spice and Brylcreem take note. In comparison, Old Spice as an example has done an exemplary job at revitalising their “boring brand”, by including both ladies and gentlemen in their ads. I mean, the recent Old Spice ads literally start with “Hello ladies, look at your man. Now back to me.”, and its harmless and fun. Their increase in sales show that this is marketing done right.
Nobody wants to care about this, and that is the issue here, which is similarly why racism is such a damaging issue. For example: if you’re black, you don’t want to care that you’re black, you want to go about your life and do the things you do without hurting anyone else. Then comes a prejudice that is forced upon you, and now you have to deal with this… ordeal… that has painted on something that you are or enjoy.
Shaving is one of those things that nobody wants to care about. Its supposed to be a stable thing. Like imagine every time you (If you’re a lady) unwrapped a tampon, you were presented with a little note saying how you’re a slut for inserting something into yourself… It’s like… “Why would you do this? I was perfectly fine doing this without this contrived and forced part.”
I think a lot of people believe that what I’ve said here confirms the “fragile male ego” or that this somehow confirms how there is a culture of masculine dominance in this world, which needs to be challenged. However, I feel that the hypocrisy that is evident in the current world needs to be pointed out, because it is severely damaging to the future of our society. There is an extremely vocal minority of people that are causing these social conflicts, and (more often than not) they are exposed as doing it for personal agenda and gain, rather than the progressive ideals that it is framed within. Still, there are a lot of (especially young and impressionable) people who don’t consider the longer term effects, but feel this is something that can be used to define them.
I think there is a trick that people may (Or may not) be missing here that I’d also like to clarify. These corporations and brands like Gillette are not people. They do not care what I (or you, if you have taken the time to read this) think or feel. They are interested solely on our money and purchase of their product, regardless of what reason that is.
I feel that it is this illusion that is most prevalent on twitter, where brands put out sassy and prepared tweets to make us think that they are our friends, and that we should trust them. It is an illusion.
If a particular director or creator in charge does something like this, it is later brutally corrected by higher ups, because sales are affected. The brand is damaged, and money is lost. Fix it. In nearly all recent examples of movies and advertisements like Gillette’s latest, about a year later this is corrected. That is clearly when the ticket sales or sales impacts become clear. About a year after that, a new message/narrative is put out to resume sales. This happened recently with Star Wars, Ghostbusters and I believe will happen with Gillette. We’ll need to check in sometime in 2021 maybe to see how this shakes out.
Lastly, the funny thing about escapist luxuries is that they forget how optional they are, and how people can just go use another thing instead. They can just not watch Star Wars movies, or use another razor brand, or simply just do without these optional luxuries. Will they be a little bit sad that they lost something that they like? Yes, but they will get over it.
I don’t deny that this is likely concocted by some edgy Marketing person, but Gillette didn’t build their brand by doing this.
They did it by building trust and dependability.
Update: Also as usual, Ozzy Man has summed it up masterfully. I always appreciate his down-to-earth and light-hearted perspective. Keep on being awesome, Ozzy Man Reviews:
Update: An more serious, interesting and thought provoking explanation behind the history of the Creator/Director of the polarising ad, Kim Gehrig, that tries to explain how a young feminist agenda is unsubtly pushed throughout the ad. This director appears to have a history of promoting the worst aspects of masculinity: