Sex & Relationships

Razor Brand Ad Challenges Men to Be Better in the Age of #MeToo

And it's received a lot of criticism.
IMAGE Gillette
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Ever since the #MeToo movement started, some very difficult questions have been raised on how men should act and speak amid the public conversation. Personalities, especially actors in Hollywood, from the likes of Henry Cavill to Liam Neeson, have struggled to answer questions related to it.

And now, one of the biggest brands in the world, P&G’s Gillette dares to give an answer to its largely male followers in a 90-second ad.

Anchored on its 30-year-old tagline “The Best Man Can Get”, Gillette first shows various vignettes that could have provoked the ugly repercussions that led to the launch of the #MeToo movement.

They range from child bullying to slapstick comedies that make female characters the butt of a sexual joke, as the narrator asks: “Is this the best a man can get?”

The ad then shows a clip of football player-turned-actor Terry Crews, one of the most vocal supporters of the #MeToo movement, as he said “Men should hold other men accountable,” during his testimony before the U.S. Senate last year.

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The video ends with clips showing men standing up for women getting harassed, and mediating street fights between boys, as the narrator poses a challenge to viewers: “Because we believe in men to say the right thing and act the right way. Some already are, but some are not enough.”

The ad is part of the brand’s “The Best Men Can Be” campaign, in time for the 30th anniversary of its tagline, only this time it’s spun with a newer and more culturally-aware nuance.

“We are taking a realistic look at what’s happening today, and aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying ‘Boys will be boys’ is not an excuse,” said Gillette brand director for North America Pankaj Bhalla in a story by The Wall Street Journal.

This may be the first time a global male brand such as Gillette has launched a massive ad campaign tackling the #MeToo movement. For being a pioneer, it has, of course, attracted criticism.

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Gillette’s YouTube account has been flooded with angry comments. One user says, “‘Bullying. Harassment. Is this the best a man can get?’ You just labeled every man as a bully.” Many have pledged to never again buy Gillette products. So far, the video has been “disliked” on YouTube by 152,000 users.

Still, Bhalla told the Wall Street Journal the company has no plans of taking down the ad. “We recognize it’s sparking a lot of passionate dialogue—at the same time, it’s getting people to stop and think about what it means to be our best selves, which is the point of the spot,” he added.

Gillette is intent in putting money where its mouth is. As part of its new campaign, the company has pledged to donate $1 million every year for the next three years to U.S.-based non-profit organizations that have programs that “inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal ‘best’ and become role models for the next generation.”

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For a multi-million brand, that amount isn’t much. But for putting itself out there for the sake of cultural conversation at the risk of backlash and boycott, the brand has already given a priceless amount of support for the global cause.

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About The Author
Elyssa Christine Lopez
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Esquire. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz
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