This case study discusses the campaign launched by Gillette, a safety razor and personal care brand of FMCG major Procter & Gamble Company (P&G). The ad which was released in January 2019 was based on the theme ‘toxic masculinity’ that pushed men into resorting to sexual harassment and bullying. It portrayed different scenes of men intimidating other men and women. It ended urging all men to be role models for the boys who will become men in the future. The ad attracted lot of criticism from consumers, who posted negative comments on social media websites like Twitter. Some of them even posted pictures of their throwing away their Gillette razorsand vowed never to use them.
Gillette noted that the ad was part of its ‘we believe: the best men can be’ campaign in the context of the #MeToo movement. Gillette also pledged to donate US$ 1million per year till 2022 to non-profit organizations implementing awareness programs in the US asking the men to find their best trait. Some consumers felt Gillette intended to leverage the #MeToo movement and released the ad and praised its efforts as a good attempt to deliver the message about toxic masculinity, while several others criticized it. Observers said that ultimately the ad had achieved its objective of popularizing the brand.
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The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:
Appraise the changing ‘marketing communications environment’.
Understand the implications of using content that may be perceived as being offensive in ads.