I must admit — it’s an eyebrow-raiser.
“It” being Gillette’s new commercial.
There was a time just a short while ago when consumers weren’t forcibly made aware of companies’ politics. Perhaps the producers of your favorite popcorn were agnostic druids who never met a trade embargo they didn’t like, couldn’t stand the Federal Reserve, voted for Ross Perot, craved a ban on 11-inch knives, and protested in their civies at every NORML rally west of the Mississippi — but you’d never know.
These days, it seems every corporation aches to shove its wholly-unrelated opinions up every member of its potential customer base like a mass-marketing colonoscopy.
Just months ago, the razor radicals slapped a few teeth out of the American male with its ode to toxic masculinity. In April, it championed the conquering victories of the morbidly obese:
Go out there and slay the day 💪🏼 📸 Glitter + Lazers pic.twitter.com/cIc0R3JfpR
— Gillette Venus (@GilletteVenus) April 3, 2019
And now it wants to appeal to that face-shaving contingent known as Females.
The company’s newest ad — released Saturday — introduces a girl pondering identity.
In a deep voice, the young woman talks to the camera about finding herself:
“I went into my transition just wanting to be happy. I’m glad I’m at the point where I’m able to shave.”
“Growing up, I was always trying to figure out what kind of man I wanted to become, and I’m still trying to figure out what kind of man that I want to become.”
A beaming father is present for her first pruning of the ol’ facehedge. She recites what he’s taught her about mastering the mandibular manscape:
“North, north, east, west, never in a hurry.”
Dad smiles in approval.
“Now don’t be scared. Don’t be scared. Shaving is about being confident. Aw, you’re doing fine. You are doing fine.”
For her, it’s Mission Accomplished:
“I’m at the point in my manhood where I’m actually happy.”
Then a caption:
“Whenever, wherever, however it happens, your first shave is special.”
Gillette is, in case you didn’t know, “the best a man can get.”
The campaign is certainly bold.
But why spend resources marketing to a group so small at the risk of — in concert with April’s anti-bro maneuver — turning off a larger portion? I ask this as a simple question of business. And why now, and why this? Gillette, to my knowledge, has never done it before.
Remember that 90’s shaving ad aimed specifically at Dutch Reformists? Me neither.
How about Big G’s 2003 Mormon campaign?
1985’s Hasidic Jew extravaganza? Those dudes have to shave.
Why go with niche marketing for a product everyone needs?
Putting aside notions of business, the commercial’s scenario doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I’ve never worked at a carnival, but just viewing the ad, I’d say the young woman appears to be around 20.
- A 20-year-old chick has most likely already shaved — her legs, if not other areas as well. She may now be calling herself Mitch instead of Michelle, but at 14, she wouldn’t have wanted to be Chewbacca at the pool. She already knows how to tame the follicular beast.
- She says she’s “glad [she’s] at the point where [she’s] able to shave.” She may be excited that her face has grown some hair due to hormone injections; but if that’s what she wanted, why is she shaving it?
And let me just say this: Having to shave is a giant pain in the butt. Gillette didn’t become successful because people love, love, love to do it. They made billions because people are pressured to not be slobs and therefore begrudgingly put time, money, and effort into sheering their skinstrands. It ain’t a delight.
On April 25th, RedState’s Brandon Morse wrote that Gillette took a financial hit in the aftermath of their ad insulting men. Do you believe the trans campaign will produce similar results? Please let us all know in the Comments section.
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