Gillette defends controversial short film ‘The Best Men Can Be’

Article by Broede Carmody /
The Sydney Morning Herald /
January 17, 2019 /
Click here to view original /

Gillette has been forced to defend its latest marketing campaign after some customers, including British broadcaster Piers Morgan, accused the razor company of contributing to the so-called “global assault on masculinity”.

The brand, owned by American multinational Procter & Gamble, recently released a short film called We Believe: The Best Men Can Be. The video, overseen by Australian-born director Kim Gehrig, features news reports about the #MeToo movement and calls on men to treat women with respect and step in when someone isn’t being a positive role model.

The audiovisual call-to-arms was unveiled earlier this week and has already been viewed millions of times on YouTube. As part of the campaign, Gillette has also changed its 30-year tagline from “the best a man can get” to “the best a man can be”.

While people have praised Gillette for taking a stand on the global movement to stamp out sexual assault and harassment, others have accused the razor company of being misguided. Earlier this week, Morgan suggested he would boycott Gillette.

“This absurd virtue-signalling PC guff may drive me away to a company less eager to fuel the current pathetic global assault on masculinity,” he said.

But marketing experts have questioned whether the ad was targeted at men in the first place, arguing studies have shown that women are more likely to purchase groceries including razors and personal items.

Dr Lauren Rosewarne, from the University of Melbourne, said she suspected that the ad was aimed at women who buy razors for their partners and sons.

“Women watch more broadcast television than men and women make the vast majority of household purchases,” she said. “We’re deep into the #MeToo era, Trump is in the White House and women are rightfully angry. The Gillette commercial taps into this zeitgeist. The ad speaks to women, to a moment in time, all the while selling a men’s product that women are most likely to have put into the trolley.”

A Procter & Gamble spokeswoman defended the ad, arguing it was designed to encourage men to be their best selves. “Successful brands today have to be relevant and engage consumers in topics that matter to them,” she said.