Gillette Loses Billions After Shaming Men in Ad Campaign

Earlier this year, Gillette embarked on a bold new advertising campaign. For decades, the company had celebrated masculinity, telling us that being a man is good. But what this new campaign presupposes is: Maybe it isn't?

OUT: The Best a Man Can Get

IN: Aren't Men Just the Worst?

It's a bold idea, expressly shaming the very market for your product. As I noted at the time:

Gillette has learned that in [current year], it's not enough for a company to make a product that people want. It's not enough to make them feel inadequate about themselves, and then sell them the supposed cure for that inadequacy. Consumers, men in particular, must be made to feel worthless. They have to be reminded that their needs and desires are wrong under any circumstances, that their instincts are loathsome, that their very existence is a malignancy, and that they're responsible for all the world's ills whether they want to admit it or not.

Now give them your money, you piece of garbage.

But hey, maybe I was wrong. Maybe this was a good idea. How is it working out for Gillette?

Douglas Ernst, Washington Times:

Gillette’s infamous “toxic masculinity” ad may cost Procter & Gamble more than anyone imagined in January.

The year that Gillette launched its “We Believe” campaign and asked “Is this the best a man can get?” has coincided with P&G’s $8 billion non-cash writedown for the shaving giant.

That's 8 billion. With a b.

Gillette is blaming competitors like Dollar Shave Club and Harry's. But when was the last time Dollar Shave Club tried to shame you for being interested in the opposite sex? When did Harry's ever blame you, personally, for all the world's sexism and misogyny and other bad things?

But if you think Gillette has learned anything from this, you forgot that it's [current year]. Molly Fleming, MarketingWeek:

Gillette’s CEO and president, Gary Coombe, says that angering some consumers with its #metoo campaign was a “price worth paying” if it meant the brand could increase its relevance among younger consumers and turn around its falling market share...

Gillette made the decision to launch the campaign in a bid to target the millennial market...

But Coombe admitted Gillette's strategy hadn't helped. He explained: "The worst thing during through that period was, we also lost connection with the millennial generation. Gillette quickly became the brand of the millennial generation's dads."

Sounds like it worked out great!

Advertising has been taken over by social justice warriors. If you enjoy being scolded by the people who are trying to sell you their products, feel free to spend your money as you see fit. The rest of us male chauvinist pigs will take our business elsewhere.