Mystery of all mysteries! Who would’ve thought that people who buy Gillette shaving products just want, well, shaving products and not a sermon on toxic masculinity?
It’s a lesson Gillette seems to have finally learned, evidenced by the company’s recently-announced plan to start “shifting the spotlight from social issues to local heroes.”
Now, instead of scolding the men of the world for being just so dang rough around the edges or flexing their “woke” muscles with an ad showing a dad teaching transgender son (his daughter, in the real world) how to shave, Gillette is focusing on everyday folks like Australian firefighter and personal trainer Ben Ziekenheiner.
“I’ve been a firefighter for 19 years,” Mr. Ziekenheiner says in an ad for a line of shaving products made with sensitive skin and daily shavers in mind, especially firefighters who must be clean-shaven for their masks to fit properly. “People sometimes ask if it’s scary. It can be, but like anyone who has a job to do, you prepare — not just in terms of your equipment but also mentally and physically.”
No sociopolitical agenda, no hilariously ironic lectures on leftist morality. Just a dude whose job requires him to shave daily to protect his own life so he can go out and save others.
Imagine the trouble and staggering financial loss Gillette could have saved themselves by running an ad like that in the first place!
Heck, even top competitor Schick is running ads that highlight those times when every women takes a break from hating on men to demand that he go investigate a strange noise in the night or paying the whole check after a date at a fancy restaurant because, well, he’s the man:
The Schick ad is brilliant on so many levels, not the least of which being its lowkey indictment of men who fail to be masculine enough to fulfill their roles as protectors. Spot-on without being preachy and, therefore, not likely to cost Schick billions of dollars in profits as Gillette experienced.
While big names over at Gillette were keen to blame their epic losses on a general downward trend in shaving product sales (those damn millennials and their hipster beards, I tell ya!), Gary Coombe, Gillette’s own CEO, said otherwise.
“I don’t enjoy that some people were offended by the film and upset at the brand as a consequence. That’s not nice and goes against every ounce of training I’ve had in this industry over a third of a century,” Coombe said earlier this month. “But I am absolutely of the view now that for the majority of people to fall more deeply in love with today’s brands you have to risk upsetting a small minority and that’s what we’ve done.”
Well, I may not be the best at math (or even coherent thought without a little help from Mr. Coffee) but I’d dare say that losses in the billions (with a B) indicates that you’ve pissed off a little more than a “small minority.”
Maybe stick with firefighters for a while while you recuperate.