Ads that take a stand are in, and ads that sit idly by are out. There was a time when companies stood by in the face of hot issues without taking a stance on them. The goal of this strategy was to receive support from the public regardless of the consumer’s views. Our current political and social landscape, however, puts into question the effectiveness of an impartial strategy. Companies are beginning to realize that standing by no longer makes successful ads, and companies must now have defined viewpoints on current issues in order to stand out.
This is exactly what Gillette did in its latest ad, “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”. The commercial, which was released on YouTube over a week ago, is a self-described short film that focuses on the #MeToo movement. Delving into current issues regarding gender and masculinity, the ad displays a variety of situations regarding these issues. Among some of the examples, sexual harassment in the workplace, mansplaining, and the excuses made for toxic masculinity (“boys will be boys”, for example) are all showcased. While these shots are shown, sound bites of news stories related to the #MeToo movement can be heard in the background. As the ad progresses, Gillette makes its statement that they “believe in the best in men”, and examples of positive masculine behavior are then shown. The message of the ad clearly shows where Gillette stands on the #MeToo movement, and the company is not stepping down. The company plans to partner with non-profit organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to spread the “Best Men Can Be” mentality.
Since its release, the ad has has caused great controversy, triggering people that stand on both sides of the issue to speak out. While some audiences have been praising it, other angry audiences have been claiming it is feminist propaganda. Others have been making memes about it. Regardless, the ad has become a significant part of public conversation on issues regarding gender and the #MeToo movement. Whether people agree with this stance or not, the ad continues to be talked about well over a week after its release. Showcasing the social views of a company on an issue such as this one, then, shows to be highly effective in sparking conversations both about the brand, and current hot button issues that affect society.