Remember the Gillette commercial that attempted to virtue signal changes that in their opinion, men needed to make, we’re delighted to reproduce this article from The Australian announcing the $12 billion loss Gillette has incurred!
Once upon a time there was a man called John. He had a wife and two children. He loved his family, and they loved him. He had a good job, worked hard, and provided for his family. But he was not a good man. That’s not to say he was deliberately bad. But John was not a good man, because he never acknowledged his TOXIC MASCULINITY that comes with having a PAIR OF TESTICLES. In not renouncing this, John was part of the PATRIARCHY, which oppresses women.
That all changed early one morning when John began lathering his face with GILLETTE HYDRA GEL. As he looked in the mirror and observed the GILLETTE FUSION PROGLIDE RAZOR glide smoothly across his face, he marvelled at the genius of this shaving manufacturer and the quality of its products. “The best a man can get,” he exclaimed contentedly. Then he suddenly realised that Gillette was urging him to reflect on his MALE PRIVILEGE. Instead of seeing a good man in the mirror, John saw a sleazebag, a catcaller, a bully, a rapist and a misogynist.
“From now on I will strive to be THE BEST A MAN CAN BE,” said John as he applied GILLETTE COOL WAVE AFTER SHAVE SPLASH to his smooth face. John is now an example of what the #MeToo movement wants men to be. He no longer disagrees with third wave feminist pronouncements, he enthusiastically supports mandatory affirmative action targets, he remains silent during work meetings until all the women have finished speaking and he is invited to talk. He prefaces his observations with an acknowledgment that he is speaking as a white male, with all the privileges that entails.
When seated on public transport, John rigidly keeps his inner thighs together to avoid manspreading, although his resultant facial expression unwittingly deters other passengers, both male and female, from sitting next to him. When a male colleague compliments a female co-worker on her new dress, John reports him to the harassment officer. Having taken his moral guidance from a woke multinational corporation that sells toiletries, John is now officially a GOOD MAN, a POSITIVE ROLE MODEL, and a MALE ALLY.
There you have it, my take on Gillette’s advertising strategy. Unfortunately, there is a sad ending to this story. John’s wife and kids now treat him as a weak-willed pushover, and his friends avoid him altogether as they want nothing to with male feminists, whom they regard as creepy. Although he is pleased that feminist activists invite him to speak at rallies where he passionately denounces masculine traits, he suspects of late they regard him as a useful fool and laugh about him behind his back. To his male colleagues, John is the face of Gillette razors, and all of them have since either changed brands or grown a beard.
Launching its controversial ad in January, Gillette declared that “Men need to hold other men accountable”. Produced by Australian woman Kim Gehrig, the ad depicted aggressive and rowdy boys, together with men “mansplaining” and sexually harassing women. It urged men to reconsider what masculinity meant. Not bad coming from a brand which in 2011 featured sexy women wearing latex onesies with Gillette’s brand name plastered prominently across their derrieres.
Men across the world denounced its turnaround ad as an attack on masculinity, many vowing never to use Gillette products again.
Not surprisingly, it received almost universal accolades from the woke folk. Social commentator and self-declared ad expert Jane Caro praised it, tweeting that Gillette was fighting “for a better world”.
Guardian columnist Van Badham wrote gushingly that she had “shed some tears” upon seeing the ad. Ironically, she unwittingly vindicated its critics who claimed it stereotyped men, stating “misogynists and their enablers have not taken the ad well”.
Even arch-feminist and commentator Clementine Ford cheerfully acknowledged the ad was as “manipulative as hell” and capitalised on the #MeToo Movement. “The feminist scold in me just loves bathing in the male tears,” she chortled.
Gillette is owned by Procter & Gamble. Its senior marketer, Marc Pritchard, freely admits the company wants to “change the way people view the world,” stressing the themes of inclusion, diversity and equality. But as adjunct professor Mark Ritson of Melbourne Business School wrote in January for this newspaper, it was an unusual strategy given Gillette’s male customers were more likely to hold conservative views. “My bet is that the net impact of this campaign and all the resources invested into it will result in more consumers abandoning the brand than adopting it,” he predicted.
It looks like the good professor will collect on that bet. Last week P&G reported a net loss of $US5.24 billion for the quarter ending June 30, the reason being an $US8 billion ($12bn) non-cash writedown of Gillette. The company insisted the reason for this was the preference millennial men had for facial hair, and increased competition from brands such as Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club.
“I don’t enjoy that some people were offended by the film and upset at the brand as a consequence,” said Gillette CEO Gary Coombe last month. “But I am absolutely of the view now that for the majority of people to fall more deeply in love with today’s brands you have to risk upsetting a small minority and that’s what we’ve done.”
I do not purport to be an expert on ads, but to me it is a no-brainer that any marketing campaign which intentionally portrays its erstwhile loyal male customers as Neanderthals in dire need of civilising will cause a severe sales backlash. Last year, Gillette sold $US6.22 billion worth of men’s razors and blades compared with $US1.28 billion of women’s razors. Obviously Coombe’s definition of a “small minority” is different from mine.
Just imagine a Gillette marketing executive’s idea of running a restaurant. “Yes madam, I know you ordered the chocolate mousse and not the fruit platter,” says a condescending manager to a complaining diner. “But we could not help noticing you are a tad on the porky side, and we decided you should instead have the low-cal alternative.”
As for Caro, Badham, Ford and their ilk, consider how they would react to this hypothetical. A company that sells pregnancy testing kits launches an ad – produced by a male director – intended to raise awareness on the insidious practice of paternity fraud. “Women need to hold other women accountable,” says the narrator as the ad depicts expectant mothers as greedy and deceitful opportunists. The subsequent mass outcry from women’s groups would terrify a banshee.
Gillette would have done well to learn from the example of coffee giant Starbucks and its ill-considered idea to impress customers with its wokeness. In 2015 the company, no doubt acting at the behest of some well-meaning cretin, decreed that its baristas would write “Race Together’’ on customers’ coffee cups to improve race relations. “If a customer asks you what this is,” said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, “try to engage in a discussion that we have problems in this country in regards to race and racial inequality”.
Such was the backlash this initiative was quickly shelved. “I felt personally attacked in a cascade of negativity,” complained Corey duBrowa, Starbucks senior vice president of communications, as he explained why he deleted his Twitter account. Who could have foreseen that customers were interested only in a caffeine hit and not a patronising lecture from some pimply teenager?
Given Gillette executives remain determined to strike more blows for social justice, we should provide them with a couple of suggestions. To begin with, the company should review its instructional videos on shaving one’s bikini line, which currently feature an attractive cisgender woman.
How incredibly woke would it be if it contracted Canadian transwoman and Brazilian aficionado Jessica Yaniv to do the same, especially given she possesses a fuller figure as well as the frank and beans so to speak? Or how about Gillette give publicity to the feminist theory that women shave only because they are forced to conform to patriarchal expectations of feminine beauty? Throw away our razors in the name of liberation, ladies!
As for the Gillette gurus’ marketing strategy, let’s just say it is the male customers making the company accountable now, not vice versa. So much for their intention to transform men into docile and emasculated seekers of enlightenment. Not only has a once-respected company that is famous for its razors managed to sever ties with its largest customer demographic, but it’s also done the same to Gillette’s juniper berries.