Gillette is taking on bullying, sexism, and sexual harassment in a powerful new ad attempting to put an end to ‘toxic masculinity.’

For the past 30 years, the shaving brand has used the tagline ‘The Best A Man Can Get,’ but the new ad puts a spin on the slogan by putting the responsibility on men to change social norms and stop the mistreatment of women.

Critics of the socially conscious campaign took to Twitter to slam the ad while claiming Gillette had ‘just insulted their own user base.’

The ad, titled ‘We Believe,’ begins with shots of different men looking in the mirror as audio of news about the #MeToo movement plays in the background, shares Daily Mail.

‘Is this the best a man can get? Is it?’ a voiceover asks as a group of bullies chase a victim through a movie screen showing a vintage Gillette ad.

The commercial continues by highlighting all the different ways the mistreatment of women has been normalized over the years, including a group of male cartoon characters whistling at a woman and a sitcom scene that shows the lead character grabbing his maid’s backside while the audience laughs.

‘Boys will be boys,’ a dad says as he watches his son fight someone.

The ad stresses that toxic masculinity and the long-running excuses defending it should no longer be tolerated.

‘We can’t hide from it. It’s been going on far too long,’ the voiceover says. ‘We can’t laugh it off. Making the same old excuses.

‘But something finally changed, and there will be no going back. Because we, we believe the best in men, to say the right thing, to act the right way. Some already are, in ways big and small.

It also depicts a number of men stepping in to stop their friends from telling women to smile or catcalling them as they walk by.

Instead of letting his son fight, one dad rushes over and breaks it up, telling him that isn’t how you treat people.

The ad then ends with a voiceover that says having just some men step in ‘is not enough because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.’

The thought-provoking video was directed by Kim Gehrig, who was selected through Procter & Gamble’s partnership with Free the Bid, a program that advocates for more female directors on ads.

‘This is an important conversation happening, and as a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address it and take action of our own,’ Gillette brand director Pankaj Bhalla told the Wall Street Journal in an emailed statement.

‘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. We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and hope all the men we serve will come along on that journey to find our “best” together.’

The ad’s release was flooded on Twitter with criticisms of the message, claiming the brand was attacking masculinity.

Many people wondered if the critics had even bothered to watch it before slamming it online.

‘Wow, so many of the comments here just go to prove why commercials/videos like this are necessary. At no point in this commercial did it say all men are guilty of these actions, yet here are so many men defending themselves.’

Someone else added: ‘Men on this post *freaking out* about it and claiming they’re going to boycott Gillette is everything you need to know about how they see their own masculinity. Weak.’

Another said, “This ad is not about attacking masculinity, its about confronting TOXIC masculinity- the type of harmful masculinity that makes excuses for men who are violent to both women and each other.”

Share your comments below

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  • A great step in the right direction teaching the young men that this behaviour is not acceptable.
    I can remember some males treated females when I was a teenager/young lady – absolutely disgraceful!

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  • I think it’s a great ad and have such great message!! Good on you Gilette (as I understand that you need the publication you can get as men have been shaving less due to trend, hence this is a good ad for people to remember about Gilette brand)

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  • What a great ad. It’s the men generation of today who need to teach the newer generation and future generations of men on how to treat females.
    I think it was about time a company promotes what damage a Male can do to young boys. Fighting, verbal, sexual abuse is wrong.

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  • I like the ad, I have 3 girls and a boy. Good on you Gillette

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  • Good on Gillette. The hater’s comments were interested and highlighted the problem with men. Those that provided hate comment, are clearly those we need to target. I love that my 17 year old son thought the ad was great and couldn’t understand the hatred. That’s the kind of man I’m raising.

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  • Good on Gillette to bring this problem to the forefront of peoples’ minds

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  • As a mum of a girl – I love this ad. I want her to grow up in a culture where men are just as concerned at her welfare as she is.
    As a mum of a boy – I am on the fence about this ad. My son is the sweetest and most gentle boy and I cringe to think about him watching this ad. He wouldn’t relate to many of the ideas on here. I don’t want him to think that he is “bad” because he is a boy. I do want him to grow up to be considerate and careful to both boys and girls.

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  • I liked the ad ,good on Gillette!

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  • Good on Gillette for raising an important issue.

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  • This ad brought tears to my wyes. I was always subjected to sexual harassment as a young teen right through my twenties and thirties and i still remember reporti g it to a teacher when a boy grabbed my breast and croth at high school whwn i was thirteen and his reaponse “ you loved it”. What the hell??? Im glad that a platform as big as gillette is gently nudging future men in a better direction.

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  • I really liked the ad, and I think it has an important message for people in it – especially the kids. Well done very good

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  • A great ad.. well done Gillette

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  • I think Gillette also sell to women users, so they probably have a win, win situation.

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  • This is a great step forward, showing that this behaviour is not acceptable and not cool.

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  • A great stand for Gillette to take. Considering who their target market is, it’s nail on the head type stuff. When companies that men regularly buy and interact with take a stance it helps make those changes for the better. Any man feeling threatened or insulted by this ad needs to take a long hard look at themselves.

    Reply

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