In a viral new ad campaign, razor company Gillette is questioning whether this is really the best men can get — and causing a stir on social media.
Gillette released a short film titled "We Believe" on Monday, taking on toxic masculinity in less than two minutes. The ad shows scenes of boys bullying or fighting each other and men discriminating against or harassing women. Scruffy guys stand behind smoking grills and chant "Boys will be boys will be boys."
"Is this the best a man can get?" Gillette asks, challenging its own 30-year-old tagline. In the age of #MeToo, the company asks customers to ditch "the same old excuses" for harmful behavior and be better. By the end of the commercial, a man is seen breaking up a fight between two boys and another holds back a catcaller on the street.
The video has been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube and was favorited more than 170,000 times on Twitter.
"It’s time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture," Gillette said in a statement on its website. "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."
Gillette added that it wants to "actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette." The company also said it agreed to donate $1 million a year, for the next three years, to nonprofit organizations in the U.S. that "inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal 'best' and become role models for the next generation."
The ad received swift responses on social media, with some applauding Gillette for tackling a tough topic and challenging people to stop abusive behavior.
Others condemned the company for insulting its customer base and suggesting all men engage in that kind of conduct.
the only ones lauding the Gillette ad work in media/advertising. everyone else sees it for what it is: a smarmy, condescending virtue signal aimed at the hardworking decent men they been price-gouging for years.— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) January 15, 2019
Outspoken TV personality Piers Morgan, a self-described Gillette customer who spends "$1,000s a year" on Gillette products, criticized what he called an "an ugly, vindictive two-minute homage to everything that’s bad about men and masculinity."
"The subliminal message is clear: men, ALL men, are bad, shameful people who need to be directed in how to be better people," Morgan wrote in a column for DailyMail.com. "It’s one of the most pathetic, virtue-signalling things I’ve ever endured watching."
But Gillette insisted on its website, "We've all got work to do. And it starts today."
The company added: "The boys of today are the men of tomorrow."