Gillette: Ya Screwed Up!

gillette

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.

Maybe.

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.

Lies We All Live With

pinocchio

Lies perform a valuable function in our society.  They keep us civilized because, without lies, fat people would be fat, stupid people would be stupid and 99% of the rest of us would be obnoxious assholes.  Everybody knows that lying works on a sliding scale from “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” to “No, I didn’t shoot Mr. Brown” and we’re content to live somewhere in the middle of that moral dichotomy.  Unfortunately, these days, lying is more about Mr. Brown than Mr. Claus, and it’s becoming institutionalized.  This isn’t healthy.  I’m not talking about politicians or journalists who have been lying to us ever since Cheops the Unwashed told the Cairo Gazette he wanted a small funeral.  I’m talking about those everyday lies we all recognize and just have to live with.  Here’s a small sampling.

Clothing size – The relationship between the number stamped on the label and the actual size of any article of clothing is purely coincidental.  For example, my closet runs from mostly medium through large, extra large and even a few XXLs – and I’m a man.  Go to a woman’s closet and you’re going to find a roulette wheel full of size numbers that would make a croupier cringe.  Actually, I think that’s how clothing manufacturers determine sizes: they just spin a big wheel and whatever it lands on – “We have a winner!” — that’s the size.

Airline prices – I don’t care what the advertisement says, nobody has ever gone to San Pedro, Switzerland, Swaziland or anywhere else for $99.  Nobody!  The 99 you see bold as gold in the ad is just the launch code.  The airlines use that to launch you and credit card into debtor’s prison.

Calorie count – These aren’t actually lies; they’re just blatant misinformation.  When the package says “100 calories per serving,” this is technically true. However, what they don’t tell you is the serving size they’re talking about is a WTF joke!  Who eats half a doughnut, for God’s sake?  I pig down two before my coffee’s even cool enough to drink!

Microwave instructions – Reading the instructions on a box of microwavable anything is like reading an email from a Nigerian prince: you know it’s a scam, but you just can’t help yourself.  Everybody knows there are actually only two settings on a microwave – overcooked and underdone — but we all try anyway.

And finally:

You can’t miss it – Yes, you can!

The “Unreal” World of TV Ads

adsI love commercials.  I think TV ads are cute, little, itty bitty movies.  So it doesn’t bother me that, for the most part, they’re lying to us.  Look, folks!  Like Skyfall, Terminator and Iron Man, they’re fiction.  Sit back and enjoy the show.

The thing that I don’t understand, though, is how TV commercials ever actually SELL anything.  The ads all exist in these weird-ass Never-Never-Land dystopias that can’t be a good idea to showcase the product.  For example:

Household Cleaners – The houses in these ads are filthy.  They’re disgusting.  Who lives there — trolls?  The furniture and floors look the family pet is a buffalo.  The kitchens are the greasiest, greasy combination of greasy-spoon diner and salmonella experiment known to humanity.  And the bathrooms!  OMG!  They’re covered in so much crud Gollum wouldn’t poop in there.  Even the worst hillbillies I know don’t live like that.  If you live in this kind of squalor, you don’t need “Extra-Strength” anything to clean it up; you need a match to burn it down before the Health Department shows up and does it for you.

Feminine Hygiene – Menstruating women are not that happy.  They just aren’t.  And if they do smile, it’s a lot more evil looking than in the ads.  It’s not a good idea to remind women of this.

Automobiles – Everybody knows the internal combustion engine is a dick to the environment and car ads prove it.  First they drive the SUV through a stream turning the fish habitat into mud pies.  Then, it’s up the mountain, in a 4-wheel-drive rampage to catch the sunset from the summit.  Perfect view!  Except they parked their three tons of automotive junk on a hundred-year-old lichen that just got its endangered species life smeared into the tread of an all-season radial.  Yeah, we’re not destroying our planet fast enough.  I want one of those.

Drugs – I don’t care what wonders the newest wonder drug does, the “side effects” litany scares the hell out of me.  Honestly, “may cause dry mouth, tremors, depression, heart attack, vomiting, internal bleeding, external bleeding, massive bleeding and your tongue’s going fall out” leaves me a little reluctant to try taking it for occasional arthritis pain.

Condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise etc.) – Nobody puts that much mayo on a sandwich.  It’s like they’re painting a barn — with a trowel.  The bread would be slimy, for God’s sake.  And take one bite and you’d have white crap shooting up your nose, down your chin and all over the room.  You’d look like a werewolf who just murdered an albino.

Snack Food – I don’t know anybody who delicately puts one potato chip on their tongue like it’s a communion wafer.  Nor have I ever seen anybody put chocolate in their mouth and suck it to death.  Nobody chews in slow motion, and not one person — ever! — eats just one cookie. Honestly, if people ate snack food like they do in the ads, they wouldn’t eat snack food at all — why bother?

And finally Yogurt – I can only dream that someday someone will look at me the way all women in advertisements look at yogurt.  There’s no possible way they’re not totally disappointed.