Once again the country seems divided. This time it's not a border wall or a healthcare proposal that manages anime, but an online rabbit ad, because of course. But there is something much more important in the dispute: signs of real change.
On January 13, Gillette released a new ad that takes the 30-year slogan of the company – "The Best Person Can Get" and turns it over. in an introspective reflection on the toxic masculinity many of this cultural moment. The title "We Believe", almost two minutes of video, includes a variety of boys bothering teenagers who watch media representatives of macho boys who appeal to women and men who look in the mirror while #MeToo and toxic masculinity plays in the Background. The voice asks, "Is this the best one can get?" The answer is "no," and the film shows how men can do better by actively pointing to toxic behavior by interfering when other men drive or sexual harassment and help to protect their children from abusers. The ad explodes; Wednesday afternoon has more than 1
Then, with the perfect time for the Internet, the reaction took place. Advertising is played in a different way with the men's rights activists, Fox News and Pierce Morgans in the world. People shared videos and photos throwing disposable razors in the toilet (it's not a good idea – they are not fully embedded). Men claim that the advertisement is anti-male that it unites all men together as sexists and that it diminishes traditional male qualities. But whatever noise is around, the fact that "We Believe" exists at all, is an indisputable sign of progress.
"Advertising reflects society," says Henry Asael, a marketing professor at the New York Business School. They have become another battlefield in the country's larger cultural wars. Although some people have made hay on Twitter that they never use Gillette again, Assael says buying habits, especially with something as common as a razor, are hard to break. He estimates that most people do not really follow their threats to abandon the mark of such disputes. Take Nike and his commercials with Colin Kaepernick last year: While he had vocal calls for boycotting the company at the time, he finished reporting a stronger-than-expected growth in his latest revenue report. right now I want to be better, but I do not necessarily know how. When Gillette examines market trends last year, after #MeToo and the national conversation about the behavior of some of the most powerful men in the country, the company asks men how to determine that they are great people, according to Pankai Bhaila, North America. Gillette's director of the brand. The company conducted focus groups with men and women throughout the country, at home and in online surveys. What Bhalla says the team has heard over and over is the men who say, "I know I'm not a bad guy. I'm not that man. I know this, but I do not know how can I be the best version of myself? "And we literally asked the same question as a mark. How can we be a better version of ourselves? "Adds Bhalla. The answer is this ad campaign and a promise to donate $ 1 million per year for three years to non-profit organizations that support boys and men as positive role models.
There is also wider evidence that the basic concept of masculinity is evolving. Last summer, the American Psychological Association issued guidelines indicating that "the ideology of traditional masculinity" could be detrimental to boys and men. When the guidelines received media attention last week, they received a fair share of critics from the Conservatives, who regarded them as an attack on long-standing male characters.
As the #MeToo era rises in 2017, the question is: Will it change this? Advertising can be a test of where a culture is – sometimes imperfect, but useful. Companies run ads to earn money, so they would not knowingly risk accepting the belief that the majority is disgusting. Advertising is not so much to create a new desire as to play in what people already want.
"Advertising is in the business of reading cultural trends, that's what they do," says Lisa Jacobson, professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who focuses on the history of consumer culture. "They spend a lot of time reading culture, thinking about culture, focusing on cultural changes so they are tailored to it." Gillette's Bhal admits that the company would not have made this ad ten years ago. "The insight that" I am not the bad guy, but I do not know how to be a great man, "this insight would not have come 10 years ago because it was not in our ether, at that time it was not in our society, he says.
Even today, Bhaila and his team knew that advertising would not satisfy everyone, and an ad aimed at such openly contradictory ideas is inherently risky, and it may turn and look as weeping as Kendall Jenner ad by Pepsi when it seemed to downplay Black Lives Matter, and could alienate existing and be "We believe" there are about 713,000 YouTube reluctance
At the same time, thousands of people are talking about online advertising and the campaign is widely spread in the media like this one. "" This is a calculated bet, "says Jacobson. Several MRA activists will gain more new customers than he will lose
Daniel Pope, a historian who has written a lot about advertising in America, says that although this ad obviously talks about some concerns and wishes in culture, this is a classic segmented or targeted ad. "Considering the hostility brought about by conservatives and anti-feminine circles, [it’s clear]they are not attractive to everyone here. They are looking for a specific demographic model based on perhaps political beliefs, educational levels, a sense of gender equality. "
Jacobson also notes that the puddles of advertising seem to give a clear play for millennia and generations of men who are the generations most encompassing and moving the change in masculinity. It is also a call to mothers who buy their first razors. Walking after women is a smart business move, as women often make the bulk of household shopping, and Papa notes that women make up a good percentage of Gillette's customer base. (Bhalla told WIRED that the gender distribution among Gillette's clients is approximately 60% to 70% of men, but this does not necessarily include cases where women buy products for men in their lives.)
Although Gillette did not say this The ad also acts as a kind of corporate prophylactics against the accusations of sexism or insensitivity that many corporations have been facing lately. Gillette is a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble, which sells many products focused on family and women in other brands. "I feel like this is a very corporate solution," says Assael.
Gillette's older ads showed shaved men kissing women, sending the message that the right shave could win the girl. In 2013, the company launched a campaign called "Kiss and Tell" that asked couples to understand before and after the man shaved and then reported.
"Advertising is in the business of reading cultural trends, that's what they are
Lisa Jacobson, University of California Santa Barbara
The company is not alone in abandoning women's advertising campaigns based on this type of communication as object and prize ". In fact, follow the steps of Ax Spray, which for years has been based on the idea that if you spray things, women will come. In 2017 Ax Unilever's parent company introduced a new promotional campaign titled "It's Good for Boys," which struggled with the idea of toxic masculinity, making it clear that it is normal for men to have emotions or to have weak or not as a sport. Like Procter & Gamble, Unilever has many family brands under its umbrella, and it may not be appropriate for Ax to mark stereotypical machinations. Not only the stereotyped roles of the sexes are trying to destroy; it also undermines harmful racial stereotypes. Advertising begins with an African-American man who is contemplating his face in the mirror and highlights Terry Krue's congressional testimony in which he recommends men to face and interfere with toxic culture. This shows that African-American fathers support their daughters, train other men for sexist behavior and protect women from quarrels.
"I think this is a subconscious reason why it's under the skin of Pierce Morgan and Fox and Friends ," says Jacobson. This is because it is a reversal of the old narrative in which white superiorities or just random racists have attributed the toxic masculinity of African-American men. "
She talks about racist stereotypes that draw African, American men are prone to criminal behavior as sexual violence or as absent fathers, by showing the black men who interfere to stop those behaviors that advertising to a large extent is carried out by white men, she repels these damaging tropes
This careful treatment of race is not necessarily a norm in advertising, and according to Asal, the industry is slowly embracing racist inclusion and diversity even after the civil rights movement. Gillette's lama was treated with unusual concern
A great deal of Gillette's advertising response was positive, WIRED's board, media and advertising experts said that advertising is smart and emotionally moving, as advertising can really hope although the reaction to it clearly shows that cultural divisions in America continue to exist, its very existence is evidence that old definitions of masculinity are changing.