PR Analysis: Gillette's "The Best Men Can Be" Ad
The issue brought up in this Gillette commercial is themes of toxic masculinity and how this toxic masculinity harms not only the individuals who experience it, but the individuals associated with those who experience it. The expresses this second hand harm of toxic masculinity through bullying, sexual harassment, and physical fighting. It shows that this is a generational issue which needs to fixed at its core with how society treats boys of the modern era.
Initially, before I had watched the video and looked into the controversy of this advertisement I had assumed that the issue with the advertisement was that it was a company pandering to a social dilemma in order to sell more razors. I was surprised to discover that the issue was not with the company trying to use this to sell razors, but with their depiction of men in society. I see no issue with the way men in this are depicted. For the most part the advertisement is much accurate than Gillette’s traditional advertisements. The issue that people seem to have with this seems to be more with people’s wrongful interpretation of the advertisement. According to the case study people believe that the advertisement is shunning men, depicting masculinity as a negative idea. This is a complete blanket which would create more controversy than the advertisement itself. The advertisement clearly shows that the issue is in toxic masculinity, not masculinity as a whole. Commentators on this issue also seem to forget that masculinity is something that all genders can experience. If people are unable to ever critique themselves, how can they ever improve?
Based on the case study it seems as though the advertisement may not have benefitted Gillette very much. It seemed as though those who agreed with the advertisement were not very positive about it, but those who disagreed were very negative and began boycotting the company. If Gillette’s goal was to simply have people talk about their company however, then they certainly achieved that goal.
If I were working for Gillette I would emphasize the need to back up these words in the advertisement with action. Teach the difference between masculinity and toxic masculinity. Find ways to help prevent toxic masculinity.