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The Best Men Can Be (Gillette)

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Who thought it was a good idea to make a propaganda commercial targeted towards men especially if they are their main customers?

The Best Men Can Be is a 2019 American commercial from the Procter & Gamble safety razor and personal care brand Gillette.

Synopsis

The introductory short film for the campaign, We Believe: The Best Men Can Be, directed by Kim Gehrig, begins by invoking the brand's slogan since 1989, "The Best a Man Can Get", by asking "is this the best a man can get?" This is followed by scenes demonstrating negative behavior among males, including bullying, sexism, sexual misconduct, and toxic masculinity, acknowledgement of social movements such as #MeToo, and footage of actor Terry Crews stating during Congress testimony that men "need to hold other men accountable". The ad continues on to explain that "we believe in the best in men: To say the right thing, to act the right way", since "the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow." As a result, the original slogan is re-worked to reinforce this message, becoming "The Best Men Can Be".

This campaign includes a companion website, and a pledge by Gillette to donate $1 million per-year over the next three years to organizations, such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, that "[help men] achieve their personal best". In the aforementioned website, Gillette explains the campaign by stating that "as a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man."

Why It's The Worst It Can Be

  1. This advert is full on anti-male propaganda that demonizes all men (their main customers) as misogynistic and narcissistic sexual predators.
  2. It’s trying to explain that innocent things such as playing wrestling and asking a girl out is toxic masculinity.
  3. The advert even states that going up to ask a woman out is sexual harassment.
  4. How is schoolyard bullying a gender issue? Some girls can bully other people too.
  5. The advert uses virtue-signalling as a marketing ploy to guilt its customers into subscribing to an ethics mode based solely on subjective thought-control on the convenience of feminism.
  6. Hypocrisy: It focuses on sexism and toxic masculinity but Gillette used women more than once to promote their products in sexual ways.
    • On top of that, Gillette was once accused of using pink tax.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. It does point out about negative behavior such as sexual harassment, bullying, and sexism being wrong, though this probably would've been handled better if it wasn't ironically sexist against men.
  2. The acting and cinematography are at least decent.

Reception & Criticism

The commercial was panned by critics and users for being prejudiced against men. The commercial became one of the most disliked videos on YouTube with a 2:1 dislike ratio and over 1.57 million dislikes, causing men to throw their Gillette products in the trash, moving to other razor brands (e.g Dollar Shave Club and Harry), people boycotting Gillette and Procter & Gamble (Gillette's parent company) and spawning the #BoycottGillette hashtag on Twitter. The reception of the commercial on the Gillette YouTube channel was so bad, some of their videos released before the commercial were also heavily disliked. This also resulted in Procter and Gamble losing $8 billion due to the advert.

Gillette and Procter & Gamble challenged their customer base (men) to make their campaign a success and they deleted comments criticizing the ad, proving that they cannot handle the slightest form of criticism. Also, P&G's CEO, Davis S. Taylor, defended the ad. Since the release and overwhelming negative reception of the ad, they were forced to disable both the like-dislike ratio and comments section for all of their videos (both new and old) on the Gillette YouTube channel released after the ad to save face.

It has been announced that while most Proctor and Gamble products are still up, sales of Gillette products are down. On July 30th, 2019, Proctor and Gamble announced an $8 billion write-down as a result. After losing $8 billion, Gillette announced they would be abandoning the social justice trend to focus on "heroic masculinity." However, for several people, the announcement came as too little, too late, showing that their reputation is now tarnished and broken beyond repair.

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