By Joe Harker
Shaving products company Gillette is facing a backlash over their new advert, which changes their slogan of "the best a man can get" to "the best men can be". The advert references toxic masculinity and the #MeToo movement, condemns the "boys will be boys" excuse and calls on men to do better, to "hold other men accountable" for their behaviour.
In the advert the example for men to be are shown breaking up fights, stopping bullies and holding other men to account for sexual harassment. It attacks traditional attitudes and opinions for cultivating toxic masculinity.
Gillette says they believe in "the best in men" and wants them to do better at a time when they are being held to account over their behaviour and attitudes. Gary Coombe, president of Gillette owners Procter & Gamble, said the advert aligned with the brand's view. He said: "By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behaviour, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal 'best', we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come."
Meanwhile, a certain Good Morning Britain presenter who shall remain nameless lives for this sort of thing. It allows him to make angry rants that gives him attention, accusing the shaving products company of "absurd virtue-signalling PC guff". He also claimed that he was a Gillette customer who would now consider boycotting their products.
Besides, his angry outbursts over the advert that give him attention also draw attention to the advert itself. Plenty of companies have made adverts they know will be controversial because controversy draws attention. If you want to ensure people see your advert then it helps if everyone is talking about it.
In addition, controversial adverts from other companies have tended to increase business despite a number of people claiming they will boycott the company because of the advert. This is probably very good for Gillette's profit margins.
The Guardian reports that a lot of the backlash is from men's rights activists, who called the advert "insulting" and argued it "emasculates men". Actor James Woods accused Gillette of jumping on the "men are horrible" bandwagon and promised not to buy their products again.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Rebecca Reid suggested that the Gillette advert had incurred the wrath of some men because it, shock horror, suggested they weren't perfect and had areas they needed to improve in. She argues that the advert shows two sides to masculinity, healthy and toxic, hoping to inspire men to be the former and call out the latter when they see it.
When an advert with the message "be good, be the best you can be and call out bad behaviour when you see it" makes men feel attacked you can't help but think those getting triggered are perhaps the people who could benefit most from listening to the message of the advert. They're not calling you bad, they're saying some of the stuff you or other men who aren't you does and considers okay is actually quite bad.