Gillette took a razor to their reputation Monday and portrayed their main customer base, men, as sexist stereotypes in an out-of-touch advert. Everyone knows that the best way to sell someone something is to insult them. It’s basic stuff.
The YouTube video for the ad has become one of the most disliked in the site’s history; a glimmer of hope in these times when companies are attempting to retain relevance and control social norms and interaction. Companies have no place doing anything but selling products; while this Gillette advertisement will generate a lot of discussions, it will generate nearly no sales. It might even cost them some.
Stereotypes are harmful, so they say, except when used against a class that has been deemed permissible to discriminate. So-called positive discrimination and other methods of leveling the scale have made discrimination against white people okay and even encouraged. All the “toxic” antagonists in the Gillette advert were white males. Is that a coincidence? Is “toxic masculinity” (children fighting, men running families and companies, and having opinions) exclusive to white people? Not at all. P&G, Gillette’s owning corporation, knew better than to attack that hornet’s nest. They wouldn’t dare to insult, in any way, a person of color.
Everyone loves to hate white men. And making someone feel hate or disgust in response to a spot is better than them feeling nothing at all in the advertisement business. Considering that, it almost appears like the creative team knew what they were doing. However, I wager the marketing department responsible is full of clueless ideologues. The advertisement comes across as nothing more than the type of edgy content you’d expect to see in a teenager’s Tumblr rant shortly after their teacher introduced their impressionable mind to the world of politics, with a slanted bias, of course.
The advertisement attempts to convince people to stand up to what they describe as “toxic masculinity” and stop towing the line of “boys will boys.” Well, a bunch of boys play fighting in the back yard is simply that – boys being boys. There’s no need to demonize it in an attempt to offend moral busybodies with a bit of play fighting. On second thought, who cares. Those people are offended by everything. For the record, “boys being boys” stopped the Nazis and stormed the beach of Normandy. No one sane really cared too much to decry “toxic masculinity” then when it was saving the world, eh? No. Those boys got flowers pinned to their chest. Boys today get shamed and insulted just for existing.
The fact of the matter is boys and girls are different. Everyone has a role to play in a functional, happy society. It’s wrong to try and change that with social programming. It’s not natural and it’s never going to work; it will only create contention and animosity. Certainly, it is not the place of businesses like Gillette to explain to boys how to act more feminine and less “manly.” It’s also bad for their business. If all men were feminine and took hormonal therapy, there would be no beards and Gillette wouldn’t have anyone to sell razors too. This campaign is a massive mistake and Gillette would do themselves well to send it to the dustbin of history. Get woke, go broke.