Gillette is one of the companies that have greatly changed the culture by its quasi-monopoly. In Czech – as well as all small Baltic and Slavic languages that use letters from the Czech alphabet ("ž"...) – the word "žiletka" refers to the general thin razors for shaving, regardless of the company that made it.
The company was founded in 1901 and has headquarters in Boston. It is currently owned by Procter & Gamble, a truly large corporation. The British marketing unit has decided to change the image of the company by releasing We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette (a two-minute short film).
Wow, it wasn't accepted too well. Out of 2.7 million views, they have accumulated 240,000 negative votes (still fewer than YouTube Rewind 2018: 15 million downvotes) and just 30,000 positive ones. The film basically says that most men have toxic masculinity (their being male implies that they're bullies, rapists etc.) that they have to shave off. A far left "Young Turks" host is presented as a role model, boys that are playing and men who are praising women are being criminalized. Hundreds of thousands of comments were posted under the YouTube video and hundreds of thousands of comments were erased by the company – only 64,000, mostly supportive ones, were kept as of now.
Hundreds of media outlets talk about Gillette. The fairer ones report some of the great reactions, see e.g. RT. There are two problems with the commercial implications: those viewers who appreciate the leadership in the ad will use a Gillette razor to cut their balls and their mustaches and beards will stop growing, thus reducing the revenues.
Most of the men who are exposed to this ad will be angered and they will avoid the brand, like Piers Morgan has promised (here you have some competitors, Harry's is getting the best ratings). Men do some undesirable things and some of these things are rather likely to be done by men – they're softly characteristically male. But most of these traits are also negative side effects of very positive traits that are also characteristically masculine and that have been the main driver of the progress of the mankind.
And the statement made in the ad that the mistreatment of women etc. has been increasingly normalized is just a plain lie. The evolution has clearly gone in the exact opposite direction. Women could have had limited rights (and dignity) some centuries ago but they were gradually getting all the rights that used to be men's rights and in recent decades and years, this evolution has escalated to explicit hostilities against men and masculinity. So on the contrary, the natural men's behavior – whether the controversial one or the fully problem-free men's behavior – has been increasingly demonized.
This, and not Gillette's "educational" ad, was the West we wanted to converge to in the mid 1980s.
The value of the brand has almost certainly undergone a significant collapse. The man responsible for this stupid commercial should see how his testicles are being cut off. The only problem with this reasonable plan is that he doesn't have any. His name is Ms Kim Kardashian-Herman Göhring. You may look for her name and videos, e.g. this 2015 one. You will see that she is just a repeating some of the most pathetic feminist clichés about boys and girls. Why would someone give such a far-reaching job to such an irrelevant yet extremist person? Why would the company that primarily makes products for men want its image to be determined by a rank-and-file member of a movement that hates men? Will McDonald's hire a vegetarian activist who throws tomatoes at meat-eaters as the boss of its P.R.? Well, Exxon is probably already employing some global warming whackos, too...
Perhaps the achievement that has made Kim Gehrig so powerful at Gillette is the Libresse singing vagina ad. At least it had some creative value – although not one relevant for shaving.
Can this negative publicity help the company at the end? Everything is possible but I doubt it. It may increase the sales to the feminists with the facial hair, beards, and mustaches. There are probably many feminists like that but their number is still smaller than the number of men. I don't see why too many other people would go to buy some Gillette products because of this attack on masculinity. The class of the prospective consumers is pretty much given and those – mostly men – are going to be less likely to buy the razors from such a company. After all, it could be a matter of safety. When unhinged feminists decide about the U.K. marketing at Gillette, they could also decide about the chemical additives in the products. They could also be adding some female hormones to the sponges in order to fight the "toxic masculinity". You could say this worry is just a conspiracy theory. But seriously, how certain are you? Who is the corporation's "adult in the room" who makes sure that such things aren't happening?
Those 2.7 million views is a small number relatively to the U.K. or world population so – even if we add some positive feedbacks (lots of other views at related videos, e.g. this critique or TimCast) – I don't expect the company/brand to go bust anytime soon. But this ad could be responsible for the decrease of the revenue by several percent. It will be hard to attribute all the numbers and changes but such negative developments may materialize. Was it really a good idea to hire someone like that for ideological criteria? Who are the stockholders of Procter & Gamble? Are they nuts?
Oops, I am being an idiot. The ad is aired on TV and the number of men who will see it is probably way above the YouTube's 3 million.
It's not enough for a collapse of the brand but maybe if they doubled down, they could get to the territory. As I said, the brand has been important and I've used tons of its products as well but there are much more important things in our world. If a brand like that could die after such an atrocious campaign, it could be a nice lesson for everybody. If it doesn't work, we will break your neck otherwise because boys will be boys and men will be men, whether you like it or not.
And that's the memo.
Melanie Murphy's quite a cute and peaceful reaction to the ad.