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Gillette’s Toxic Masculinity Ad- A lesson in social media marketing



I’m sure most of you have seen or heard of the Ad launched by Gillette last week on social media. If you are one of the few who hasn’t, have a look here http://bit.ly/2RW2lz2.

Whether you agree with it or not, the viral Ad caused an uproar both praising and condemning it with celebrities, and politicians weighing in on the conversation.

Since being posted on Jan 13, what’s being called the “Toxic Masculinity” Ad has garnered almost 23 Million views in Youtube with 610 K likes versus 1.1 Million dislikes. Along with the popularity, came the criticism. The company has come under fire from all sides due to the Ad’s message prompting many to dub it preachy and hypocritical. The commercial saw thousands of comments urging Gillette to “stay in your lane” protesting to being lectured on manly behaviour by a razor company. Other’s praised Gillette for supporting the women’s #meetoo movement and trying to re-define masculinity. Asking men and boys not to participate or encourage toxic misogynistic behaviour and encouraging those men who do step in to do the right is a good thing, right?

The sharp contrast in reactions to the Ad is especially apparent amongst American audiences given the extremely polarised environment. On the one hand, conservative, republican, religious, homogeneous and military minded right, and on the other the liberal, progressive, diverse, left that leads the women's Me Too movement. Many see this ad as an attack on traditional masculinity, asking men to be renounce their manliness, to be more soft or effeminate; a "snowflake" as you will.

Companies create these provocative ads at their own peril. It can go really well or it can go very wrong. Just ask Pepsi, and its Kendall Jenner- Black Lives Matter Ad which received massive backlash accusing the company of trivialising the core issue of the protest, causing Pepsi to quickly issue an apology and pull the Ad off the air. Pepsi might not have had a huge negative impact on their stock price, but their brand certainly suffered immensely with its perception level May-Jul, 2017 plunging to the lowest it’s been for the past 8 years. (source: YouGov)

Nike tried it’s hand at provocatively viral with its Colin Kaepernick Ad. The Ad managed to dominate social media conversation for a good while and saw their stock drop then rise soon after. Nike shoes were burnt in videos, a city mayor banned Nike products, and even America’s president weighed in on Twitter. All that outrage, and guess what? Nike sales increased 31%. The ad was featured in the New York Times, People, and CNN among others.

Gillette’s recent commercial has clearly gotten people’s attention. “We weren’t trying to court controversy,” said Gillette brand director Pankaj Bhalla, “We were just trying to upgrade the selling line that we’ve held for 30 years–the Best a Man Can Get–and make it relevant. I don’t think our intention was to have controversy just for the sake of controversy.” But underneath all the talk of intentions and relevant conversations lies the genius of this social media strategy.

“The social internet is perfect for super-short form content like tweets, Instagram stories, and :10 second videos. But you know what else it's great for? Long-form content, e.g. video content longer than the traditional :60 television spot. because it tells an incredible story that couldn't be told in just 60 seconds. The cost of buying 25 million TV views of a 2 minute ad would be enormous! That's why nobody buys 2 minute TV ads. But when you have two-minute story to tell, Facebook and YouTube are the perfect platforms to use.” Dave Kerpen, inc.com.

As per January 15, Procter & Gamble (Gillette’s parent company) shares were up slightly early Tuesday. The stock is down about 0.8% so far in January, but up over 1% for the past year according to marketwatch.com. So far, the viral outrage is not translating into market losses. * Gillette has managed for a short time to be in millions of social media feeds and comments, a veritable cherry bomb for their branding at a relatively low cost.

“Procter & Gamble is revelling in the reaction to its ad, which is getting free media coverage everywhere — just as intended. The ad’s makers knew the social justice warriors would come out in force — just as they have.” Joseph Curl – the Washington times

As some will always say: "There's no such thing as bad publicity"

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References:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/pgs-gillette-ad-asks-men-to-shave-their-toxic-masculinity-and-a-big-backlash-ensues-2019-01-15 https://www.inc.com/dave-kerpen/3-reasons-new-gillette-commercial-is-an-absolute-winner.html https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jan/15/everyone-calm-down-the-gillette-ad-is-just-fine/

#digitalmarketing #socialmedia #viralads #marketingconsultant #Gillette #Gillettecommercial #toxicmasculinity #socialmediabacklash #viralposts

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