A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Gillette has just made a massive mistake that’s going to have consequences all over the world. This is serious, folks — so you’re going to need a little background. Gillette recently released an advertising video that, in no uncertain terms, calls their customers (men) a bunch of knuckle-dragging assholes who spend their leisure time teaching their male children to bully each other and harass women. And then they take the virtuous stance that this has got to stop. Applause! Another multi-national corporation has found its soul.
Personally, I don’t think Gillette suddenly developed a social conscience last Tuesday and felt a moral obligation to join the #MeToo conversation. I think their advertising department took one look at the gigantic numbers generated by the controversial Nike/Kaepernick collaboration last September and said, “Wow! We need to get in on some of this social justice action!” So, at a time when traditional advertising is dying, they decided to hitch their corporate brandwagon to the rising star of “toxic masculinity.” Fair enough. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of cynics in this world who believe Gillette is just newsjacking. They think that the reality is Gillette doesn’t much care if its customers punch each other in the face or have pan-fried puppies for breakfast — as long as they buy razorblades. Here’s the deal: if Gillette were actually serious about social justice, they’d be funding a string of Gillette Centres for Battered Women. After all, the designated smoking areas in some German airports are sponsored by Camel. Honestly, if a multi-billion dollar corporation is going to talk the talk, they should walk the walk — every once in a while.
But the real problem is there’s going to be an unintended consequence from Gillette’s global hypocrisy. Millions of Gillette customers don’t like being told they’re the problem and then being asked to pay for the privilege. They’re dumping their Gillette products in the trash and finding alternatives – alternatives that have a different chemical composition. Thus, in the very near future, people all over the world are going to subconsciously discover that their sons, fathers, brothers, husbands, boyfriends and lovers all smell different. Humans, like all animals, rely on their olfactory sense for any number of social and sexual cues, and when the people closest to us don’t “smell right,” that’s a major problem.
So, now we’re left with a bunch of pissed-off men, a lot of suspicious babies, wary relatives, cautious friends and an army of confused and slightly frustrated women — all because the folks down at Gillette wanted to cash in on the 24-hour Twitter news cycle. Thanks, Gillette! If that’s “the best men can be,” don’t do me any more favours.