Whether you like it or hate it, the new Gillette commercial , shedding again light on Sexual Harassment and bullying is getting tons of views and attention. As a marketer, I say, “Way to Go.” P&G clearly spent a great deal on research, development, advertising and production to create their new “The Best a Man Can Get.” Good for the brand for figuring out a way to build publicity and awareness for the declining category. To date, the spot has received over 25MM views on Facebook and YouTube, with lots of negative comments and criticisms. People love it or hate it, but at least they are watching it.
What is the message message? If you haven’t seen it, the commercial shares snippets of the wide range of inappropriate behavior women have to combat at the hands of men and boys since time immemorial. This is another illumination of the problem of sexual harassment we have seen in the last couple of years since the #Metoo movement.
The campaign squarely denounces many behaviors that women have had to combat in their lives for years. At least some part of the underlying objective – besides clearly trying to sell more razors and blades – was an attempt to shine a light on what is wrong and try to fix what is right. It shows men stepping in and preventing other men from saying inappropriate, sometimes stupid and often offensive comments. Forward progress for sure. Sexism is bad, violence against women is bad, inequitable pay for women is bad, unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate comments are bad. And being engaged in active, direct conversations about the challenges is critical. The fact that the campaign makes those points – all good.
So does it work? For awareness-generating, the investment must have a stupendous ROI. What remains to be seen is whether the paid and unpaid awareness will drive sales and cause an even further decline. I don’t believe that creating a glossy commercial that figuratively “glosses” over the issues is the answer. The campaign still has big problems. Sexual Harassment, bullying, pay discrimination – this is serious business. The commercial – with its beautiful montages of images and conversation – almost glamorizes and mutes the severity of the cultural dynamics.
We need deep, long, intense education and retraining in how we speak to one another. We need to arm boys and men with the awareness and understanding of how their actions and behaviors affect women. And simultaneously, we need to provide girls and women with the language and skills to stand up.
What is the ultimate takeaway – that a better man knows how to speak to women? Yes, but only if he is shaving with Gillette. In my humble opinion, I would much rather replace the sanctimonious, pedantic tone of the commercial and spend the money teaching kids how to be civil and respectful – regardless of they are buying the Sensor, Mach 3 or Fusion.
I can’t help but notice the media providing so much fodder around these issues, but no real solutions. Recently I wrote another post here more targeted at exploring why words like Female Sexual Health and Orgasmic Leadership are still so taboo even in an age when we are supposedly embracing our sexuality. Take a look in case you missed it: Are We There Yet – You and #metoo! An Orgasmic Leadership Story