Critical Debate Behind “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette”
The intent behind the campaign is overdue and timely. There is definitely a need to address the excesses of toxic masculinity that diminishes the lives of both men and women. That said, special sensitivity needed to be shown by the brand given its past advertising and dominance of such a core make product category. With this in mind, I believe the campaign has been polarizing on two levels — one healthy, one not. The first is that there will always be two sides of any debate as potentially inflammatory as toxic masculinity. And that’s a good thing as dialogue is needed to build the bridges to a better balanced solution. The second, is natural resistance of those who see the tone of the commercial as judgmental. The danger here is that the brand is speaking about two categories of men — those who practice the more evolved masculinity, and those who don’t. In my opinion, the brand should not have position its as the arbiter of these two groups but rather celebrate the virtues of healthier masculinity. It did not surprise me at all that many people are upset by the campaign and therefore less aligned around its worthy message because the brand spoke in a judgmental matter about men rather than celebrate certain values and the ability of men to embrace their highest and best selves. In short, I think the commercial has launched a critical debate but they made a misstep in terms of the tone of execution.