Gillette's powerful new ad asks men to reject toxic masculinity

Photo: Gillette
Photo: Gillette Photo: Gillette

It's an iconic slogan the last few generations have grown up with. Gillette's 'The best a man can get,' was launched in the US on Super Bowl night 30 years ago, and now the company has decided it's due an update.

In a bold move, the company is acknowledging that masculinity is in crisis with its latest ad campaign asking, 'Is this the best a man can get?' 

Among other issues, the ad references the #metoo movement, sexual harassment, gender bias in the workplace, online bullying, and the old catchcry, 'boys will be boys.'

A narrator poses the hard questions: "It this the best a man can get? Is it? We can't hide from it. It has gone on far too long. We can't laugh it off, making the same old excuses."

Depicting scenes where a father stops a physical altercation while his small son watches on, a mother embraces her son as abusive texts flash across the screen, a friend calls a man out on sexist behaviour, and a dad coaching his little girl to look in the mirror and say, "I am strong," Gillette's powerful message states "Something finally changed, and there will be no going back."
If you weren't crying by that point, then you will be when the narrator says, "Because the boys watching today, will be the men of tomorrow."
Gillette's US brand director Pankaj Bhalla told The Wall Street Journal, "This is an important conversation happening, and as a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address it and take action of our own."
He added, "We are taking a realistic look at what's happening today, and aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying 'boys will be boys' is not an excuse. We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and hope all the men we serve will come along on that journey to find our 'best' together."
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The company also states it won't be backing down from its stance in the face of backlash. 
Bhalla said, "We recognise it's sparking a lot of passionate dialogue - at the same time it's getting people to stop and think about what it means to be our best selves, which is the point.."
Gillette's campaign mission statement is well worth a read, with the company putting its money where its mouth is, pledging nearly $1.4 million per year for 3 years, to programs that "...support men of positive action everywhere."
The first to benefit from the pledge is the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.