You must have seen the ad. If you have not, chances are you have been in a room where it was discussed. If you equally don’t belong to that circle, you might have seen something related to it on social media; trending and inciting outrage, mockery, praise and written tirades from sections of woke Twitter.
If you have not, the problem is an ad put up by centurion-company Gillette, owned by Procter and Gamble, a legacy multi-billion dollar company. The ad was meant to be a run-up to the NFL Super Bowl - scheduled to be held in three weeks - under its 30-year trademark slogan, “The Best a Man Can Get.”
According to Vox, the ad was created by the New York-based ad agency, Grey and is called “We Believe.”
The idea was meant to trigger for men into doing better amidst the conversations of sexual harassment, condoning bullying, and female derogation against the backdrop of toxic masculinity which inspired the reasons #MeToo and #TimesUp. The idea was probably meant to contribute a quota to the changing belief system and standard for men.
But alas, social media has since been on fire. Vox says the ad “Is annoying both sexists and feminists,” while Guardian UK also contributes a quota that feeds the same narrative.
The ad opens with quips on #MeToo and sexual harassment, while it showcases an old man deep in consideration while standing before a mirror, and a “Is this the best man can get?” question. It also shows popular actor Terry Crews, speaking before a board saying, “We (men) need to hold other men accountable.”
It was meant to be a charge to men and clear the reality distortion that warps men into entitlement and harassment, but it has since caused wahala. On the one part, some are angry the ad portrayed them as overly irresponsible - or for some other reasons - as seen in the following tweets;
On the other part, there have also been supporters for the ad;
Bernice King, daughter of the late civil rights legend Martin Luther King has since written that, “This commercial isn’t anti-male. It’s pro-humanity, and it demonstrates that character can step up to change conditions.”
Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette’s brand director for North America, has since responded to criticism of the ad, in the Journal, saying “This is an important conversation happening, and as a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address it and take action of our own. We are taking a realistic look at what’s happening today, and aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ is not an excuse.”
Vox has since called the ad, "A misfire, in that it is a blatant attempt to make money off a painful and ongoing collective action that has not even an indirect relationship to face razors.
"Is it likely that there were people at Gillette with good intentions and people at Grey who wanted to help realize them? Absolutely! However, it is inherently nonsensical to use feminism to sell men’s grooming products, or any products."
The ad has since gone viral with more than 4m views on YouTube in 48 hours.