The Gillette Ad: Corporate PR, But With A Needed Message

Gillette's Campaign Holds A Higher Purpose Other Than PR

While motives for creating the new ad campaign are up for debate, it's a plea for men to reflect on the way they live and treat each other that came at a critical time in modern society.

HASmith
HASmith
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Gillette's recent commercial sends a strong message: men need to take a long look in the mirror and reassess how they perceive masculinity and respond to sexism. For some viewers, however, this message is lost on them due to the corporate nature and profit motives of the ad. That's a shame.

"We Believe: The Best Men Can Be," as the advertisement is titled, has caused a storm of controversy since its online debut last Sunday. The ad shows how many men have used the "boys will be boys" attitude towards masculinity to justify being bystanders to acts of bullying and sexual harassment by males before calling on those men to be better and to teach other men and boys to take an active stand against the toxic aspects of outdated perceptions of masculinity. The ad has since angered many people on the Internet, with some going as far as to boycott Gillette for what they perceive as an assault on masculinity. Many pieces have already addressed this and I'm aware that this opinion is not new.

However, there is another reason some viewers denounce the ad: Gillette is simply exploiting the #MeToo movement for its own financial gain and is not sincere in its supposed desire for change. And to an extent, they're not entirely wrong.

According to a recent NBC News article, the rise of competitors in the shaving products industry has caused Gillette's share of the industry to shrink from 70% in 2010 to 54% in 2016. Obviously, Gillette had to find some way to boost its profile in order to fight the trend; by directly addressing the more toxic effects of outdated perceptions of masculinity and igniting such a controversy online, it has done just that. The axiom "any attention is good attention" comes to mind.

This is not the first time that big brands have tried to piggyback off sometimes controversial activist messages to boost their products' profiles. Nike's "Just Do It" ad line in 2018 - which featured former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his decision to kneel during the National Anthem at football games to protest racial injustice - is the most well-known advertising campaign of this type. Other companies have made similar moves, such as Pepsi when it not-so-discreetly referenced the Black Lives Matter movement in a notorious 2017 ad featuring Kendall Jenner.

And Proctor & Gamble - Gillette's parent company since 2007 - has a history of producing ads that address gender stereotypes; when advertising its line of Always tampons in 2014, for example, the company asked teenage participants to characterize what it meant to "run like a girl."

These sorts of advertisements have become commonplace enough to warrant their own term: commodity activism. Coined in 2012 by Roopali Mukherjee and Sarah Banet-Weiser, professors at the City University of New York and the London School of Economics respectively, commodity activism refers to the employment of rising political or activist sentiments to garner support or attention for a particular brand. As Banet-Weiser put it in a 2018 Vox article, "The use of brands to "sell" dissent is not a new business strategy. Individual consumers act politically by purchasing particular brands over others in a competitive marketplace, where specific brands are attached to political aims and goals."

In the era of the #MeToo movement, when large portions of American society are actively speaking out against sexual assault, harassment, violence against women, and the "boys will be boys" attitude, the Gillette ad is clearly the latest example of commodity activism. Profit motives are indeed driving the creation of this ad.

And yet, it would be a shame to let Gillette's behind-the-scenes motives negate from the powerful message of the ad.

Regardless of its corporate nature, the ad still unequivocally tells male viewers that using masculinity as justification for permitting sexism, bullying, and harassment is unacceptable. It tries to show that being a good man is about building other people up, not using one's gender to put other people down. In a time when so many core institutions in American society ranging from the media and entertainment industry to the Supreme Court of the United States are shaken by serious findings and allegations of sex-related abuses by some of the men in their ranks, the message of the ad very much needs to be heard.

In some ways, the fact that the message is coming from a brand as well-known and respected as Gillette is what makes the ad special. Having served as a leading provider of men's products for over a century, the Gillette has a special connection the male consumers that other brands do not. In other words, it means a lot when the product that has called itself "the best a man can get" for so long calls on men themselves to be better. Doing so was risky, and the brand has faced online backlash from many men that are part of its customer base for choosing to run the ad. Yet, millions of men heard the message because of Gillette's unique position.

So yes, the Gillette ad is corporate PR. But that is no excuse for ignoring a valuable message that men, and society as a whole, need to hear: neither one's gender one's sex gives them permission to hurt or demean other people that are not like them. We would do better to heed such advice.

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20 Things That Happen When A Jersey Person Leaves Jersey

Hoagies, pizza, and bagels will never be the same.
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Ah, the "armpit of America." Whether you traveled far for college, moved away, or even just went on vacation--you know these things to be true about leaving New Jersey. It turns out to be quite a unique state, and leaving will definitely take some lifestyle adjustment.

1. You discover an accent you swore you never had.

Suddenly, people start calling you out on your pronunciation of "cawfee," "wooter," "begel," and a lot more words you totally thought you were saying normal.

2. Pork Roll will never exist again.

Say goodbye to the beautiful luxury that is pork roll, egg, and cheese on a bagel. In fact, say goodbye to high-quality breakfast sandwiches completely.

3. Dealing with people who use Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, or Dominos as their go-to pizza.

It's weird learning that a lot of the country considers chain pizza to be good pizza. You're forever wishing you could expose them to a real, local, family-style, Italian-owned pizza shop. It's also a super hard adjustment to not have a pizza place on every single block anymore.

4. You probably encounter people that are genuinely friendly.

Sure Jersey contains its fair share of friendly people, but as a whole, it's a huge difference from somewhere like the South. People will honestly, genuinely smile and converse with strangers, and it takes some time to not find it sketchy.

5. People drive way slower and calmer.

You start to become embarrassed by the road rage that has been implanted in your soul. You'll get cut off, flipped off, and honked at way less. In fact, no one even honks, almost ever.

6. You realize that not everyone lives an hour from the shore.

Being able to wake up and text your friends for a quick beach trip on your day off is a thing of the past. No one should have to live this way.

7. You almost speak a different language.

The lingo and slang used in the Jersey area is... unique. It's totally normal until you leave, but then you find yourself receiving funny looks for your jargon and way fewer people relating to your humor. People don't say "jawn" in place of every noun.

8. Hoagies are never the same.

Or as others would say, "subs." There is nothing even close in comparison.

9. Needing Wawa more than life, and there's no one to relate.

When you complain to your friends about missing Wawa, they have no reaction. Their only response is to ask what it is, but there's no rightful explanation that can capture why it is so much better than just some convenient store.

10. You have to learn to pump gas. Eventually.

After a long period of avoidance and reluctance, I can now pump gas. The days of pulling up, rolling down your window, handing over your card and yelling "Fill it up regular please!" are over. When it's raining or cold, you miss this the most.

11. Your average pace of walking is suddenly very above-average.

Your friends will complain that you're walking too fast - when in reality - that was probably your slow-paced walk. Getting stuck behind painfully slow people is your utmost inconvenience.

12. You're asked about "Jersey Shore" way too often.

No, I don't know Snooki. No, our whole state and shore is not actually like that. We have 130 miles of some of the best beach towns in the country.

13. You can't casually mention NYC without people idealizing some magical, beautiful city.

Someone who has never been there has way too perfect an image of it. The place is quite average and dirty. Don't get me wrong, I love a good NYC day trip as much as the next person, but that's all it is to you... a day trip.

14. The lack of swearing is almost uncomfortable.

Jerseyans are known for their foul mouths, and going somewhere that isn't as aggressive as us is quite a culture adjustment.

15. No more jughandles.

No longer do you have to get in the far right lane to make a left turn.

16. You realize that other states are not nearly as extreme about their North/South division.

We literally consider them two different states. There are constant arguments and debates about it. The only thing that North and South Jersey can agree on is that a "Central Jersey" does not exist.

17. Most places also are not in a war over meat.

"Pork roll" or "taylor ham"... The most famous debate amongst North and South Jersey. It's quite a stupid argument, however, considering it is definitely pork roll.

18. You realize you were spoiled with fresh produce.

After all, it's called the "Garden State" for a reason. Your mouth may water just by thinking about some fresh Jersey corn.

19. You'll regret taking advantage of your proximity to everything.

Super short ride to the beach and a super short ride to Philly or NYC. Why was I ever bored?

20. Lastly, you realize how much pride you actually have in the "armpit of America," even if you claimed to dislike it before.

After all, there aren't many places with quite as much pride. You find yourself defending your state at all necessary moments, even if you never thought that would be the case.

Cover Image Credit: Travel Channel

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'Desperate Housewives' Will Always Be One Of The Best Dramedies In TV History

This show is the best addiction, fulfilling your drama crave for eight seasons.

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If Wisteria Lane was a real neighborhood, I would move there in a heartbeat. I'd be the fly on the wall witnessing all the drama because it's too good not to turn back on. "Desperate Housewives," the ABC show that premiered in 2004, created by Marc Cherry is a milestone in television for its witty humor, non-stop drama, continuous twists, its massive charm, and strong leading women. The show is centered around the lives of four lovely housewives living in a picture-perfect neighborhood under the most dysfunctional personal circumstances.

Susan (Teri Hatcher) is a single hopeless romantic klutz, living with her extremely mature teenage daughter. Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross) is a walking Martha Stewart trying to keep everything clean especially her messy family. Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman) a brave wife trying to manage four rascals of children. Gabriella Solis (Eva Longoria) is the fabulous ex-model trying to find a purpose through her material life. While Mary Alice, former neighbor (who killed herself in the first episode) of these housewives looks upon them and tells their gracious stories season by season as the narrator.

From characters burning houses down accidentally to mowing lawns in evening gowns, and that was only in the first season! This show really had it all and the storylines only grow. In one season there were around five character deaths, suicide, drunk driving, and three murders. Two divorces happened, house arrest, arson, a wife cheating on her husband with the teenage gardener, a hitman in cahoots with the police trying to kill someone living in their neighborhood, multiple "I'm your father" moments, a dead body in a toy chest, quitting jobs... it's all fantastic. It's driving at full speed at almost every second.

Now you should know, there are eight seasons of this madness. There's even an episode where a plane crashes through the neighborhood. The humor around each episode is built-in so whimsically making the viewer be entertained with a grin every moment. The accompanying soundtrack sounds like IKEA stock-music or the theme song to any sims games, which helps tighten in the aura that is "Desperate Housewives." Furthermore, these women are STRONG; they go through some of the most dysfunctional events and still manage to keep gorgeous homes in their cusps.

Throughout those eight seasons, new housewives come and go, natural disasters even fly in out of nowhere, you're going to laugh and you're DEFINITELY going to cry as well. I recommend this show to anyone who needs a laugh, a cry and a twist in one entire package. From shootouts at grocery stores to a tornado obliterating the neighborhood and blinding one of the husbands, all eight seasons of "Desperate Housewives" are available now on Hulu. Watch it, you won't stop.

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