A #PR take on the new Gillette short film, Believe.
Gillette’s new The Best Men Can Be short film was released today, to mixed reviews and controversial reactions from men and women all over the internet.
The aim of the film is to “actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man”.
Many believe (myself included) that
the film demonstrates some old-fashioned beliefs in what it means to be ‘a man’, then goes on to challenge those ideas. The film promotes a newer way of thinking – out with the ‘boys will be boys’ and in with the kinder, more considerate types of men that we all know are out there making the world better already.
But some people aren’t seeing it like that. Many men (and some women) have taken to Twitter and other social media outlets to express their upset with the film and campaign.
Some are complaining that the film discourages male behaviours, and anything traditionally associated with masculinity – whereas many others can see that it is only challenging the negatives of old-fashioned masculine expectations, including disrespecting women, violent behaviour and sexual misconduct.
The film highlights the changing attitudes against sexual assault and harassment – discouraging men and boys from touching women without consent, or catcalling. It also mentions briefly the #MeToo campaign, showing that men shouldn’t be looking up to the “men” that have caused women or other men harm. The film emphasises that all modern men can make changes to the world around them by simply considering others and understanding that the definitions of masculinity are so much more than being aggressive or sexually prolific.
Men like Piers Morgan have come out to say that “Gillette, having spent 30yrs telling men to celebrate masculinity, now wants us to feel ashamed of it”, going on to call the people that praised the advert “snowflakes” and more.
What should be a positive advert that points men in the right direction for renewed masculinity expectations, has become a battleground between old and new beliefs.
Do people like Piers Morgan understand that they, by condoning these outdated “masculine” stereotypes, are in fact condoning disrespect, violence and sexual harassment?
At no point does the film say that being masculine is bad, nor does it in any way suggest that men should be ashamed of who they are (excepting those that harass people/spread violence/etc.).
As we have seen before, the public relations backlash from these angry few will surely affect Gillette in some way, as many people have sworn never to use Gillette again. However, the amount of discussion and positive feedback the campaign has sparked far outweighs the negatives.
As Gillette has always promoted a sense of ‘manliness’ with their slogan “the best a man can get”, it can be seen that the company is making strides in their CSR strategies, to keep up with modern thinking. They have sparked a debate on gender, equality and stereotyping that has not only brought the company into the public eye for many reasons but has also raised important issues to a variety of different audiences across the world.
Is this the way that PR is moving? Only time will tell, but as the generation of ‘snowflakes’ battles outdated thinking and tries to find a balance between political correctness and real life, PR is sure to be an interesting environment in which to see what is really happening in the world!