PUBLIC POV: The Best An Ad Can Get?

If you’ve opened a web browser over the last few days, you’ve likely read someone’s opinion on the latest Gillette advertisement. From enraged to ecstatic, from mad to moved, the internet has a lot of feelings about Gillette confronting traditional views of masculinity and asking men around the world to examine theirs, and other men’s, behaviours. At almost 17 million views so far, the YouTube comments section and social media feeds have been lit up with discussion.

We at PUBLIC have always believed that brands that find the business opportunity in purpose are more successful in the long run – a fact that many recent studies often support, especially when it comes to the younger consumer. Being bold and taking a public stand about a purpose that aligns with your brand can not only help you turn a profit but can do so while making a real-world social impact.

But it’s not enough to simply raise awareness and draw attention to a specific cause; you have to walk the walk and talk the talk. Otherwise, you’re going to get called out for it in a big way—a fact that Gillette is now learning. Companies that choose to integrate purpose into their brand DNA need to be prepared to face a potential backlash and put their money where their mouths are. Will Gillette take a stand against sexism and join the fight for equality in a post #MeToo world? Maybe. But it’s going to be tough to do so while pink razors still cost more than blue ones.

That’s not to say that we don’t like the spot. We think it’s a great message and has helped drive awareness on a very important topic. And we applaud that Gillette knew beforehand that they may face backlash by diving into this conversation and were ready with a well-thought-out, prepared response that reaffirmed their commitment to the cause. Any brand that wades into the #ProfitWithPurpose arena are friends of ours, but when your awareness campaign is backed up by real-world action? Now that’s the best an ad can get!

Paul Rivait is Engagement Lead, Social Media & Analytics at PUBLIC

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