Gillette Backpedals After 'Toxic Masculinity' Ad Campaign Failure

Back in January Gillette ran an ad campaign that attacked "toxic masculinity" and targeted white males specifically.

Conveniently these ads weren't ran in countries like Saudi Arabia. They were strictly ran in the United States.

They targeted white males who were "bullying." Check out the original ad that ran:

Gillette Toxic Masculinity Campaign

There was all kinds of backlash for this ad, but Gillette refused to take it down. Per TV Line:

Gillette has no plans to pull a new TV spot that asks if a “boys will be boys” mentality is truly “the best a man can get.”

Titled “We believe” (and embedded above), the commercial intercuts vignettes of dad-approved bullying, the verbal and physical harassment of women and other examples of toxic masculinity. A narrator remarks that such behavior has “been going on far too long,” and while “some” of its exhibitors have learned to act “the right way,” “some is not enough.”

“It’s been going on far too long… we can’t laugh it off,” the script reads. “Something finally changed, and there will be no going back, because we believe in the best in men…. to say the right thing, to act the right way…. Some already are, in ways big and small…. but some is not enough. Because the boys watching today… will be the men of tomorrow.”

Now Gillette has realized going after social issues is not a great idea. They said they are “shifting the spotlight from social issues to local heroes” after they faced such backlash from their "toxic masculinity" campaign.


“We have a very clear strategy when it comes to how we authentically connect with our consumers,” said Manu Airan, associate brand director for Gillette Australia and New Zealand.

“We will continue to talk about what is important to Gillette and that is representing men at their best and helping men do their best. That is not changing. We will continue to do that and demonstrate it in different ways.”

Parent company P&G last month took a nearly $12 billion ($US8 billion) writedown in the value of the 118-year-old shaving business it purchased in 2005 for $84 billion ($US57 billion).

While the company blamed the writedown primarily on a strengthening US dollar, it said the non-cash impairment charge was also due to increased competition and a shrinking market for razors as men shave less frequently.

Rival company Schick mocked their ad campaign with some lighthearted ads called "The Man I Am."

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When Airan was asked if the company will base their ad campaigns around divisive social issues, he dodged the question. “We will continue to represent men at their best. This is our purpose and has been our purpose consistently for 118 years and that is not changing.”

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