Gillette is best known for producing razor blades and shaving products but a new commercial addressing “toxic masculinity” is dragging the manufacturer into a political debate.
The commercial, titled “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”, depicts men behaving deplorably — a group of schoolyard bullies chasing a boy, a gaggle of suburban dads at a barbecue cheering on a pair of kids as they fight, a suit-wearing executive talking over a female co-worker in a boardroom — in light of the company’s longtime tagline: “The best a man can get.”
“Bullying. Harassment. Is this the best a man can get?” reads a message accompanying the video on YouTube. “It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more that we can get closer to our best. To say the right thing, to act the right way. We are taking action at http://www.thebestmencanbe.org. Join us.”
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To further this cause, Gillette is pledging to donate $1 million a year for three years to U.S. nonprofits that “inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal ‘best’ and become role models for the next generation.”
“It’s time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture,” explained the company in a statement. “And as a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man. With that in mind, we have spent the last few months taking a hard look at our past and coming communication and reflecting on the types of men and behaviours we want to celebrate. We’re inviting all men along this journey with us — to strive to be better, to make us better, and to help each other be better.”
On Twitter, numerous people applauded Gillette for taking a stand in the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up.
Not all the responses have been positive, however, with an online backlash growing to include such celebs as Piers Morgan, James Woods and Ricky Gervais.
However, Gervais also pointed out that just because he made a joke about the commercial doesn’t mean that he doesn’t support its message.
There was plenty more Twitter reaction, however, from people who found the ad to be preachy and heavy-handed: