HOW GILLETTE CHANGED THE CONVERSATION
Asking its audience if they are “the best a man can be?”
A few months back, we wrote a blog that talked about Nike’s use of Colin Kaepernick in their most recent “Just Do It” ad campaign. Instead of focusing on the controversy of whether Kaepernick was right or wrong in his actions, we instead chose to discuss Nike’s attempt to cash in on such a politically charged national conversation, and whether they even had the moral high ground to do so.
Enter Gillette and their “We Believe: The Best a Man Can Be” campaign.
It’s hard to deny the power behind this video and the message it carries with it, but is Gillette borrowing a page from Nike in their attempt to simply cash-in on another social injustice issue?
Since it’s launch, the campaign has received both praise and criticism for its attempt to address what many are referring to as “toxic masculinity”.
As the father of 3 girls, it would be hard for me to not get behind most of what this video has to say. Having a son as well, there isn’t much to argue either. After all, don’t we all want our daughters to be respected and ours sons to always show respect? I would think this is a universal truth, but clearly it is not the case for everyone.
So, was it smart for Gillette to take this on and possibly alienate their core audience? Did they feel morally responsible to speak out in order to promote positive change? Or like Nike, did they understand that their audience and the world itself was changing?
As expected, there are many that have praised Gillette’s efforts, and in all honesty, it’s hard not to do just that. I mean, how do you criticize a call for men to be the best that they can be, respect women, and protect those who need protecting?
That being said, the #boycottgillette Twitter feed provides many examples of why so many have pushed back against the premise or delivery of their message. For most, it evolves around the assumption that all men are bad, and the perceived attempt to vilify masculinity itself.
This can all be debated, but the truth is, Gillette managed to change the conversation by cannonballing into the deep end of the pool.
At RUSSO, we talk a lot about Changing the Conversation, but it’s important to remember that changing the conversation in a way that diverts your audience away from your brand promise can be tricky. In many ways, it can provide opportunities for competitors to move in and steal the mental real-estate that you once owned.
How this move will affect Gillette remains to be seen.
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