Thursday, January 17, 2019

Gillette: Get Back In Your Lane

You would think that everything to be said about the new Gillette ad has already been said. But honestly, this commercial is truly a sign of the Times. Casting men as as a clear and toxic danger to women because of the bad behavior of a few is more propaganda than pitch, and seems an odd way to woo (male) customers. In fact I think there’s a word for that type of stereotyping, what is it again? Oh, yes, “profiling.” Isn’t that supposed to be a bad thing?

I don’t think the “new Gillette” is going to have much staying power. Already the backlash is beginning to look a lot like the customer reaction to the “New Coke.”

Image result for new coke ad disaster

Unfortunately it’s not as easy to retract a cynical virtue signaling campaign as it is to go back to your original formula

Gillette has a huge problem on their hands, and it isn’t toxic masculinity. People are sick of being hectored about things they are neither guilty of or responsible for. For example I do not know one white person of “privilege” who has ever owned a slave, taken a Native America’s land or given anyone typhoid (although if we keep our borders open that last one probably won’t stand for long). By the same token men who have never lifted a hand to a woman other than to offer them stability while getting out of a car in 5 inch heels are tired of being assumed to be untamed animals. And Gillette has inadvertently presented them with a target to lash back at this injustice.

Oh sure, there will always be some amenable toady-men who will take their side and think that those who take exception to the ad’s message are the ones out of line:

“I am truly flabergasted by many of these comments. The ad basically says "don't bully, don't sexually harass women, stand up for those who are weak, be the best man you can be."…I say congrats Gillette on stepping out of your lane and challenging men to be men of honor and grace.”

If I were advising Gillette I’d say “get back in your lane.” Men are looking for a close shave first thing in the morning, not a life coach. Remember when consultants obsessed over getting your company to identify, nurture and improve its core product? Now they are seemingly unconcerned with your product and want you only to adopt politically correct core values and impose them on their customers. Doesn’t work well for governments, works even less well in business where you have to contend with the wishes of a fickle public.

Which is why I offer this old fashioned, unsolicited advice to Gillette: You make razors, and razor blades. For men, with beards. Men like to watch sports. If they want a sanctimonious lecture they’ll go back to school. So just shut up and get back in your lane; give your core customers what they want: a clean shave and sports.

And if anyone finds this post offensive I would like to invoke Matt Walsh’s non-apology:  

I have decided to officially and formally not apologize. I'm not sorry at all, even slightly.

Indeed, I especially want to convey my absence of remorse to anyone who was offended by what I said. If you are the sort of person who gets twisted into knots when someone articulates a point of view that differs from your own, then you are exactly the sort of person who should never receive an apology for a differing point of view — if I were offering one, which, again, I'm not.