Mock ’em razors

During the marketing module of my MBA which I did last semester, the subject of colossal marketing failures came up. It appears Gillette is vying to be included in marketing lectures long into the future:


I don’t think I need to explain to my readers how insulting this is on so many levels. A comment over at David Thompson’s struck home, and included a last line which made me laugh:

Society has been bringing up boys according to the feminist model since the 1970s. It’s been going on a lot longer than #metoo or Gilette’s marketing pivot. We have enough multigenerational experience that we should be able to determine how the project of feminizing boys has worked out – do the boys grow up in to happy, successful men?

Even if it wasn’t so problematic, progressives don’t even find it believable that their guys, the oversocialized pajamaboy feminists, have any kind of iron hand inside their velvet glove, so much for the feminist promise to men of being able to access both their masculine and feminine side. They imagine instead that black men, under a kind of carbon credit scheme for their toxic masculinity, can be their street muscle against white Deplorables.

The reaction on Twitter was one of apoplectic fury, with people vowing to ditch not only Gillette, but all Proctor & Gamble products. But not everyone is unhappy:

Gillette has a dedicated page, to support the ad, which speaks volumes (emphasis theirs):

It’s time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture. 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. With that in mind, we have spent the last few months taking a hard look at our past and coming communication and reflecting on the types of men and behaviors we want to celebrate. We’re inviting all men along this journey with us – to strive to be better, to make us better, and to help each other be better.

From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette. In the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and so much more.

As I may have said before, modern corporations are as much standard bearers for a hotch-potch of post-modernist moral virtues than businesses returning value to shareholders. As I have definitely said before, these people would be better off joining a church.

The fact is, this advert has been dreamed up by a marketing department in a giant, multinational corporation. We already know which demographic these companies pander to when recruiting and promoting, and the further you get from the science and engineering branches, the more pronounced the effects of these policies will be. It doesn’t take any great genius to imagine what the marketing team behind this catastrophe looked like, and what views they subscribed to. The irony is companies justify diversity programs in part by claiming they allow marketing departments to better identify with their customers. Well, Gillette’s done a great job of that, haven’t they?

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35 thoughts on “Mock ’em razors

  1. Research, segment, target. The holy trinity of marketing. Or something similar.

    Maybe Gillette have discovered through research that the soy-boy segment is more valuable than the tough guy segment? After all lots of men don’t shave in order to show fashionable stubble, and signal masculinity, so they’re less valuable as customers. Smooth skinned soys need to spend more on razors.

    Don’t think the other side doesn’t have a valid point of view. That’s what they do. Be better than them. Be the best you can be.

  2. Another company to add to my growing shit list, I’ve always tried to vote with my wallet as it gives me a little satisfaction in a world I feel increasingly powerless in.

  3. And as a company that encourages men to be their best,

    Bollocks.

    As a razor-blade company, they should stick to making razor blades. If I want somebody to encourage me to be my best, I’ll go see a priest, not the guys who make my shaving equipment.

  4. What they won’t address is the children without fathers.

    “Boys will be boys”? You know who really says that? Mothers. Not fathers. Fathers discipline boys. Mothers spoil them.

    Ever notice it’s always the mothers of promising footballers in cities that are grieving? You don’t see the father, do you? And mothers will swear blind their boy couldn’t have hurt that girl, even if they saw her leaving his bedroom with a black eye. Just some lying slag, isn’t she.

  5. Don’t Gillettes ads normally feature pretty male models of questionable orientation anyway? I can’t say I’ve ever regarded them as poster boys for masculinity. I’d be thinking more like The Hound from Game of Thrones. Yarp.

  6. At first I thought: that’s vile, it’ll cost ’em.

    Then I started having similar thoughts to Andrew Again. Maybe Gillette is on to something.

    On current course, the future of western men is a massive cuckfest. One that’ll make Nick Clegg look like Lee Majors.

    So maybe they are trying to steal a march on the rest by tapping into that growing segment of emasculated soyboys. Especially since at some point ironic hipster beards will go out of fashion.

    Meanwhile the older customers will either keep on buying what razors they’ve always bought ‘cos they’ve already got the handle bit, or will get whatever’s on offer that week at the supermarket.

  7. All will be perfect once we have a matriarchal society?

    There are already some. Let’s see how they’re working out. It was necessary to be a single mother to get a council flat, so there are whole tower blocks denuded of adult males, i.e. they are matriarchal societies.
    Children’s Services, pre.school, GP, social services, police doing door to door enquiries – all likely to be female. Primary school teachers 19/20 female.

    A boy could reach 11 with no exposure to toxic masculinity. So he’d be neat, respectful, diligent with his homework and never come to the attention of social services, school discipline or the police, right?
    Of course.

  8. It doesn’t surprise me that terrible ideas like this get floated by the loons in advertising and marketing, what still surprises me that no-one with any power in such massive companies applies the brakes sharpish.
    Once upon a time advertising types would have endlessly bemoaned the conservatism of companies, especially the established ones in a mature market.
    Is everyone, however high up in a major corporation so SJW that they don’t care about sales or so deluded that they think every customer will just accept being insulted while being asked to pay over the odds for goods where there are plenty of acceptable, cheaper alternatives?
    Most of the massive marketing disasters of the past occurred because there was a fatal flaw which may not have been immediately apparent causing unintended consequences. How are the potential risks of deeply insulting your purchasers not immediately apparent?

  9. “All will be perfect once we have a matriarchal society?”

    Don’t forget that paragon of efficiency that is the NHS is 77% female……………

  10. Is everyone, however high up in a major corporation so SJW that they don’t care about sales or so deluded that they think every customer will just accept being insulted while being asked to pay over the odds for goods where there are plenty of acceptable, cheaper alternatives?

    Who do you think occupies these upper echelons these days?

  11. Well, if I was going to buy their overpriced crud, I might well be the sort of person they’re appealing to.

    Modern cartridge razors are the biggest con out; their only selling point is that you have to try really hard to cut yourself. Bless.

    Get yourself a razor like your grandfather or father used and buy the double-edged razor blades for pennies. Ten times better shave and if you manage to avoid cutting yourself – easily done – a sense of achievement thrown in.

  12. Upside: Hasn’t this gained a lot of publicity for Gillette! The web is full of news stories and blogs commenting on this. “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” etc.

    Downside: Didn’t Gerald Ratner achieve much the same?

    FWIW, my vote is on a dawning realisation in Gillette finance that this is a Ratner to trump all Ratners! 🙂

  13. Who do you think occupies these upper echelons these days?

    This is the depressing reality. It seems the ‘long march through the institutions’ was being paralleled by infiltration of industry. We are royally effed.

  14. No matter how pansy-fied are the soy boys who buy stuff, they don’t want to be reminded how beta male they actually are.

    Just as you sell stuff to 10-yo kids by advertising about 14-yo’s, you sell stuff to males by ramping up the masculinity just a bit.

    The Old Spice ad, with the poofter on the horse, turned my dad right off the stuff – he’d been using it for more than 50 years, he’s never used it since.

    Gillette are complete dickheads.

  15. The annoying thing is that out of the main supermarket brands Gillette, while expensive, is the best (unless you go for more esoteric brands, or start shaving like grandad, which I hate).

    But I won’t spend a penny more on them until they change.

  16. It’s situations like these that I think “They couldn’t be that stupid”.

    “Research, segment, target.”. I think Andrew is on to something.

    I wonder what their market share – Men’s vs. Women’s. They make a crap-ton of women’s shaving products and they are just as expensive, if not more so than men’s.

    There’s a ton of competition in that space for men. First, we don’t need to shave. Like others have mentioned, stubble is in. Dudes I know with that look use a beard trimmer. Then, there are many great and cheaper options. I myself have long left Gillette, over cost.

    I only need a razor for parts of my face, and neck (I have a beard). It was stupid to pay that much money for that little shaving. So I got a stainless steel safety razor and feather blades. Honestly, it’s a better shave than a Gillette. My skin had issues with the “lube bar” or whatever that thing is on their razors.

    That said, this kind of thing torques me. I’ll avoid buying any of their stuff forever now.

  17. Pingback: #Gillette Shows Us The Timeless Activity of Wrestling Is Apparently Toxic Masculinity – Banter Loud

  18. There’s a snippet right at the beginning where an old Gillette commercial is projected on a big screen, and a bunch of shaggy teens burst through the screen just as the adoring wife is about to kiss her freshly-shaven husband.

    I can’t help but think that’s a metaphor for the takeover of the marketing department.

  19. Meet Kim Gehrig: Director of the commercial

    >Born and raised in Australia, Gehrig studied at Central St. Martin’s School of Art and Design in London. It was here that she began her career – on the other side, working as a creative at advertising agency, Mother. Eight very well spent years in the agency eventually led to her transition into directing. Discovering early on in the game that strategizing about what sort of director one wants to be is futile, Gehrig maintains she has always tried to let her work speak for itself and that it does.

    Her other works include such strong titles as “Viva La Vulva” and “This Girl Can” among other titles. This is the director that was chosen off of freethebid.com – a website designed to “get more female directors on ads”. This is the future

  20. @zut alors! on January 15, 2019 at 12:23 pm said:

    All will be perfect once we have a matriarchal society?

    Rod Liddle in ST

    Half of black children do not live with their father. And we wonder why they’re dying – Full Article

    I suspect that the first thing many of you thought when you heard that a 14-year-old boy, Jaden Moodie, had been knocked off his moped and stabbed to death in east London was: what is a kid of that age doing out at night illegally riding a moped?…

    Yes, that was what I thought.

  21. I don’t really get what the bip problem is. We hate when the SJW get outraged over issues and try and de-platform certain voices we should not fall into the outrage police. The commercial is pretty much advocating for striving to be a better man and better manners.

    I have a problem with them making something I consider to be a small problem seem bigger than it is. Cat-calling and horsing around is not something to be outraged about but neither is telling men to be better than that. To intervene when someone is doing something wrong should be encouraged (i dont agree with the examples in the commercial but I do as a personal ethos).

    Tim Newman, I’m a fan of yours but if we get outraged over this then we’re no better than SJWs getting outraged over silly Axe commercials telling men they’ll get laid if they spray some on.

  22. Sauce
    I don’t think people are outraged. I think offended would be more accurate. Being told to be less rapey is a tad patronizing.

  23. How about get your politics of failure and deceit out of my face, Gillete. I don’t care for being judged by an organisation I was prepared to give money to for a razor.

    That kind of SJW male hating is exactly what I dislike in any part of my life and you ave less mouthy competitors.

  24. 1) All ads are aspirational
    2) This is Proctor and Gamble, not a group of amateurs

    Maybe P&G have screwed up, but here’s what I think this ad is doing: it’s telling 25-40 year old betas they’re already real men.

    It shows men sexist old 1940s cartoons, sexist old 1970s sitcoms and rap videos watched in groups. Stuff those men don’t already see (the first two being dead decades ago). It shows a mansplaining boss. Of course, the beta wouldn’t behave like that. Never mind that he’s not the boss.

    Next, it shows a bunch of chubby beta guys ignoring two small boys fighting. This is NOT the beta watching the commercial. These are not good men.

    Because what we then see is various men intervening in what are low-level interventions: an out of shape guy being sexist. Someone being sexist who is your friend. A bunch of pre-teens mildly bullying a pre-teen, and finally, a man heroically breaking up a fight between 2 small children. And the guy watches thinks “well, I do that”.

    They aren’t showing a man dealing with a guy with face tattoos or 2 huge blokes trying to rape a small woman. Because the guy watching won’t do that. That takes some balls, maybe risks harm.

    See, the surface message is that men need to step up to be a real man. But the actual message is: you’ve already stepped up. You’re already a real man. Isn’t that great? And now you associate Gillette with giving you a pat on the back.

  25. I don’t really get what the bip problem is. We hate when the SJW get outraged over issues and try and de-platform certain voices we should not fall into the outrage police.

    You’re going to hate the new rules.

  26. Men don’t shave with multiple-blade cartridge razors. Men aren’t the target market for the product or the commercial.

  27. It must be name and shame time. Who was/is the genius who approved this shite? I remember back in the day when the CEO of a very big multinational company stated that marketing was far too important to be left to the marketing department.

  28. I can’t get excited about this one, it wasn’t aimed at me* and if it hadn’t escaped in to the wilds of social media I’d be none the wiser.

    Its obviously aimed at the young who are likely to make a buying decision and/or likely to change their minds with a bit of affirmation for those who’ve just made the decision. Its not aimed at anyone over about 30 who is likely to be set in their ways.

    * The only adverts that are aimed at me nowadays are funeral plans 🙁

  29. @BiND

    Wait till you’re in the target band for denture adhesive.

    (I used to stick Classic FM occasionally while wanting a low-stress backdrop to the evening cooking or cleaning. If I’d been in charge of their commercial department, I’d have banned all those incessant denture-related adverts. They really marked the station out as “not one for the young, or younger than 70”.)

  30. MBE,
    That starts next month when I lose a couple of teeth. No doubt I’ll let my guard down and order something for them online and will end up being inundated – thank god for Brave browser.

  31. @BiND

    Best of luck with it. I try to take good care of my gnashers but (apparently unless you’re a ‘Merican ‘sleb) that’s never a battle you win, just one where you hope you’re postponing defeat and minimising its scale and the associated pain…

  32. Pingback: Suggested Gillette ad campaigns | SovietMen

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