Why Did the New Gillette Ad Backfire so Horrendously?
People do not want to be instructed on morality by corporations that sell consumer goods.
Advertising is not the realm of moral instruction. When you deliver a moral message that you want to have a lasting impact, there is literally no worse way to undermine that message than by sticking a corporate logo on the end of it. It comes across as instinctively shallow, opportunistic and self-serving. This style of morally intuitive advertising was a very common tactic in the 60’s and 70’s, but that’s because viewers were generally speaking: “marketing illiterate”. People didn’t see many ads and they didn’t understand the ploys that advertisers used to get them to put their wallets on the line. However, our generation is very different. We have grown up surrounded by ads, and we have developed a relatively good sense for ads that employ shifty tactics.
Gillette is a company that sells razors and and other shaving aids. It is not a place that people go to for lessons on moral principles, and when viewers feel as though they are being lectured by a brand on already inflammatory principles such as their own emotional intelligence, or the fundamentals of their behaviour, they are quick to react in a way that defends their ideals from such unnecessary and uninvited prodding.
Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with the message in the film clip. It is important that men call out sexist and derogatory behaviour when they see it. But when a corporation whose sole function is to sell devices that remove facial hair, begin to assert that it is their place to tell men how they can be more morally responsible, it’s no wonder why some feel as though Gillette have played the wrong note.
I realised that the moderators of Gillette’s Youtube account had in fact been deleting the negative comments that were gathering the most likes beneath the video. If you visit the video HERE you will find that all the negative comments will have time-stamps that are less than a few hours old, and there are repeated comments saying that their comments have been deleted before. It’s multi-million dollar corporation acting like a nervous teen deleting negative comments on their instagram photos.
Doing this not only reflects the lack of solitude and confidence that Gillette have in their new campaign, because they are so obviously fearful of criticism; it speaks to the heart of their issue. They are so concerned with their public image, they are willing to do anything that delivers them social praise. Which means that they are also willing to make an advertisement that is so obviously an effort to monetise “progressive” social movements, and reflects such an icky form of capitalistic opportunism that even people unconcerned by the warring politics of SJW’s and right-wingers are weighing in on the sheer stupidity of it’s campaign