The idea that there are certain types of traits that make you masculine, for instance being sexually aggressive, unemotional and violent. And if you do not behave that way your masculinity is questioned.
“I believe Gillette should have provided more information about toxic masculinity and about male culture.” –F, 18
“The advert correctly presented the stance and behaviour associated with toxic masculinity” –F, 16
The response amongst our Tribes was mostly positive, with 85% saying they liked the ad, 7% saying they had no feeling either way, and just 9% saying they disliked it.
A lot of our members supported Gillette’s decision calling it “brave” and the “correct” thing to do.
They also praised Gillette’s efforts to spark the discussion on “toxic masculinity” and male culture, recognising the advert as “rebellious” and “original for this era”.
But, whilst it seems most of our Tribes received the advert positively we noticed the backlash online…
“Yes, I think that Male culture today was represented in the ad. And i think that the culture of today should do more to encourage what was shown towards the end of the ad.”- F, 17
“I absolutely applaud the creators. I think they have struck a good balance and I can’t see how men would be offended?” – F, 22
“I love the ad. It’s so important and powerful and necessary. It made me cry. I think Gillette definitely made the right move, and a move that should have happened years ago” – F, 23
Interestingly, Gillette’s message about male culture seems to have missed its target audience, with more male members of our Tribes disagreeing with it.
A lot of male members didn’t feel the representation of men in the advert was correct. They felt it just highlighted “more of a bad male culture” and focused on stereotypes of men; more like “witch-hunting”. But men are not alone in feeling that way about the advert, New York-based MavenMagnet research looked at over 920,000 posts from women reacting to the ad, with 37% of having a negative reaction.
“I didn’t overly enjoy the ad as it made me a bit uncomfortable and seems like a bit of an attack on men.” –F,24
“Although I am a Gillette user, I thought the advert was totally and utterly rubbish…the tagline was stupid…movement is all about money not what it should be – about properly addressing the issue.” –M,24
“I did not like this ad, masculinity is not represented nor is it ‘toxic’. Companies should not go witch-hunting certain people like this. It is not right, and Gillette will lose many customers”. –M, 17
It created quite the storm across Twitter with hashtags #boycottgillette and #metoo trending as a result. People shared photos of their Gillette products in the bin or announced their intention to switch to another brand. The advert reached over 27 million views on YouTube alone; with 1.3M dislikes over 740K likes.
Celebrities such as Piers Morgan took to Twitter to rant about the controversial advert “@Gillette’s man trashing commercial is the worst an ad can get”. And the internet were quick to slam the shaving brand for their previous sexist advertising campaigns.
Despite some claims that this advertisement would damage Gillette and discourage customers; Gillette have announced their sales remain unchanged.
“We knew this film might be polarizing” was a telling part of their statement, suggesting Gillette recognised how controversial the advert would be. Yet, maybe they wanted to be a part of the growing movement of brands that have a voice in social causes.
In the days after the release of Nike’s advert featuring Colin Kaepernick – a quarterback who refused to stand for the national anthem as a protest against racial injustice and systematic oppression in the US – the sports brand saw sales increase significantly. This success may have encouraged Gillette to take on a social issue in their advertising too.