When Will Marketers Ever Learn?

By - CTL
March 1, 2020
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By Marcus Honesta

Why don’t these people get it? You would have thought that given the blowback from last year’s campaign fiasco; which was arguably the most divisive of 2019. Not to mention the appalling sales figures that came it its wake, (but more on this later). Gillette’s “The Best A Man Can Be”, campaign pandered to #MeToo and was an unmitigated disaster. Lauded as ground-breaking by the supporters of this movement, and other left-wing fringes, it did not gain support from most others. Many went on to call for a global boycott of the brand after it was deemed to be mere man-bashing and social-engineering.

One has to wonder why they have gone down the same rabbit hole yet again.

According to Reuters reports, “..Gillette’s recent controversial commercial, racking up over 32 million views since January 2019. ..the new featured ad campaign also cost their mother company, Procter & Gamble (P&G) an $8 billion loss in their last quarterly earnings report.”

According to NE News Now “Many consumers now believe Gillette is “the [worst] a man can get,” after running its “toxic masculinity” commercial berating men as too manly and as sexist bullies and rapists as part of its social justice campaign in the wake of the #MeToo movement, costing the Proctor & Gamble’s personal product division $8 billion after the ad aired in the beginning of the year”.

Townhall reported: “Well, it turns out men don’t like to be insulted and classified as overly masculine, raging sexists and they’re dumping the brand. Gillette’s social justice moral preening just cost them $8 billion.

“P&G reported a net loss of about $5.24 billion, or $2.12 per share, for the quarter ended June 30, due to an $8 billion non-cash write-down of Gillette. For the same period last year, P&G’s net income was $1.89 billion, or 72 cents per share,”

The arrogance in a continued effort to be social engineers, rather than marketers is unfathomable. This year they have rolled out yet further insanity with a new spot out of the UK called, “Made Of What Matters”.

The latest dark, accusatory Gillette advertisement launched this week speaks to the great achievement of third-wave feminism in trashing the male brand.

One has to really wonder, just who the marketing team, their advertising agency, and advisers think buys their product. Research shows that the major target market is males, 20-60 y.o, Sec A,B,C., not the #MeToo movement.

The new advertisement stars Manchester City FC football player and global ambassador, Raheem Sterling, and touches on themes of mateship, racism and male violence.

The bleak spot is the work of Saatchi & Saatchi, with Gillette apparently giving its incumbent creative agency, Grey, the cold shoulder on this project. Lucky Grey. But don’t take my word for it, see it for yourself below:

We wrote about this last year at around the same time.

You have to go back a long time historically to replicate a similar, truly cataclysmic worldwide marketing blunder. It was Tuesday April 23rd 1985 — a day that will live in marketing infamy and that spawned consumer angst to the likes of which no business has ever seen. The Coke monolith broke all the rules and arrogantly dissed its loyal consumer base by introducing New Coke. Production of the original formulation ended later that week.

Well history has shown what a huge blunder that was.

However, in 2020, the marketers at “world shaving headquarters” (yes, you read it correctly, that’s what they call themselves) have learnt nothing from history. In a famous quote attributed to George Santayana he said: “Those Who Do Not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It.”

Thirty years ago, Gillette’s 1989 shaver positioning and corporate message was a celebration of masculinity. The ad was full of iconic images of pride; fathers hugging their children, and men as corporate stars, winning athletes, devoted husbands and fun-loving friends. “We know how to make the best of who you are,” boasted the proud commentary over the backdrop of a heroic anthem track. This campaign took them to be the number one brand in the market

The Gillette executives earn their living feeding off what it means to be male. And now again, they decided to continue the attack of their customer base, to announce to the world that everything about masculinity is bad, dangerous and deficient. A 30-year iconic, market-leading positioning strategy has been just been bastardised and neutered.

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Of course, this isn’t the first time P&G has completely ballsed it up. Some of my older readers may recall the Ivory Soap (SNOW) fiasco with Porn Star ‘Marilyn Chambers’ as their lead talent. The link to CBS is below.


Surly enough is enough!


One thought on “When Will Marketers Ever Learn?

  1. See the Manual for Grownup Role Fashions Program.

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