Don’t give Gillette credit unless it does a lot more than making an ad, Fast Company, Philip Haid, January 18, 2019
Calling It Out
“My concern is that all this attention and controversy is focused in the wrong place. Regardless of how you respond to a piece of creative advertising, we should all be asking Gillette: Where can we find your authentic commitment and action to changing this problem?
If brands are going to lean in to social purpose to sell product, we have to expect them to do so with substance. Raising awareness is not enough. There needs to be a genuine, informed, long-term commitment to the issue with a clear plan to achieve the change the company is seeking to create.”
Through the WI Lens
Gillette has taken on a socio-political issue with its latest ad campaign, riding on the back of the #MeToo movement to subvert its “best a man can get” line to “the best men can be”. It’s urging men to become better role models, to be less macho and to stop excusing sexist and predatory behaviour towards women. On the face of it, what’s not to like? After all, it’s not the first brand to have picked up a serious issue and run with it: Sport England’s “This Girl Can” campaign, and Always’ ‘Like a Girl’ – from a brand owned by the same parent, Procter & Gamble – are just two recent examples that were generally well received.
So what’s gone wrong here, why has Gillette run into a storm of criticism and been accused of “woke washing”? The simple answer is that Gillette has never shown any sign of being awake to feminism previously, instead being a source of macho stereotyping, if not sexist behaviour. Therefore, to pivot in this way inevitably leads to the suspicion that it’s doing so for profit motives – perhaps because its business model is being severely challenged by current grooming fashions. To be able to use this kind of message in a credible way, you have to build consistent values over a longer period. The tone is also accusatory, confrontational, and has antagonized quite a few male commentators, where it could have focused on being more positive and supportive. Brands can play a part in fostering progressive social change, but only as part of a long-term commitment – it’s not an instant fix.
Could Therapy Be Key To Treating Your IBS? – Huffington Post, 11 April 2019, Natasha Hinde
Sitting down for too long may be causing 70,000 UK deaths a year – The Guardian, 26 March 2019, Nicola Davis
Human Contact Is Now a Luxury Good – New York Times, 23 March 2019, Nellie Bowles
Americans Are Going Bankrupt From Getting Sick, The Atlantic, 15 March 2019, Olga Khazan
Why the future of well-being isn’t about money www.weforum.org, 26 Feb 2019, Justin Dupuis
With bread’s return to favor in the wellness world, consumers are ritualizing the baking process as an opportunity to slow down. JWT Intelligence, 28 February 2019, Emily Safian-Demers
Ikea’s new curtains purify the air inside your house – Fast Company, 20 Feb 2019, Jesus Diaz
Insectageddon – Politicians are complicit in the killing of our insects – we will be next – Guardian 12 February 2019 – Molly Scott Cato
Goop Enters Netflix Deal: Has Pseudoscience Found A New Platform? Forbes, 9 Feb 2019, Bruce Y. Lee
5 ways work culture will change by 2030, Fast Company, February 4th 2019 Gwen Moran