In 2019 Gillette launched their Believe campaign. Engaging with the #MeToo movement, the Believe campaign played on its 30-year tagline “The best a man can get”, replacing it with “The best men can be”, which focused on what it meant to be a modern man dealing with ‘toxic masculinity’. The film went viral within 24 hours, generating more than 4 million views on YouTube and triggered a huge response, both negative and positive.
Objectors included a very vocal Piers Morgan and most negative responses assumed the brand was calling men sexual predators or vicious thugs (you had to wonder if they’d actually watched the advert to be honest) or called Gillette out for cynically riding on the coattails of the #MeToo campaign.
Positive responses saw Gillette as standing up for what they believed and applauded them for speaking out about many issues with which men and women are uncomfortable.
Culture wars raged on social media and it triggered an almighty social media crisis, which Gillette handled with aplomb.
As Gillette said on their website
“It’s time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture.
From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette.
In the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and so much more.”
Proving their commitment to their brand values, Gillette are also donating $1m a year for three years to non-profit organisations with programs “designed to inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal “best” and become role models for the next generation”.
Despite a write down in June 2019, which Gillette’s parent P&G said had been caused by other factors, the remainder of the year saw steep growth and by the end of the year the grooming part of the business was up 21%.
In the final analysis, after all the sound and fury had died down, was an increase in recognition, engagement, traffic and sales, and the brand’s social goodness standing was assured with their position in the Top 10 of Meaningful Brands.