The Best a Brand Can be
Gillette recently released a commercial called “The Best a Man Can Be.” It addressed toxic masculinity, the “Me Too” movement, and accountability. Gillette approached these topics by turning its previous tagline “The Best a Man Can Get” into a question. As images depicting sexual harassment flashed across the screen, a narrator asked, “Is this the best a man can get?” “The Best a Man Can Be” echoes the sentiments expressed in other commercials, such as Axe’s “Is It Ok for Guys?” and “Find Your Magic” campaigns. These ads expressed an alternative view of masculinity in response to the societal pressures boys and men experience that drive them to conform to this rigid ideal. This ad was different because it issued a critique and a challenge. It challenged men to not only take responsibility for their own actions but to hold other men accountable for their behavior as well. It rebukes the statement “boys will be boys,” and offers a thoughtful look at the consequences of this mindset. Additionally, it showed what it looks like when men stand up for women and rebuke other men for demonstrating harmful behaviors.
Needless to say, this ad definitely garnered attention. There was outrage from those who felt that was too political and condemning. Others saw the ad and simply perceived to be an address to a harmful pattern in our society.
Whether you love the ad or hate it, there is no escaping the fact that the advertising industry is experiencing a shift. Social media has created a landscape where it's easier than ever for consumers to address things that brands do wrong and applaud them when they get it right. It’s a dialogue that is constantly evolving as we converse and reflect with brands and with each other. We’re seeing ads that are more inclusive, ethnically diverse, and thought-provoking than ever. There is a degree of conscious and thoughtfulness that seems to be a response to an increasing demand. The demand to be seen not only as we are, but as we could be.