Gillette’s infamous ad that pushed the idea that men contain “toxic masculinity” is a perfect example of how not to advertise your product. The ad not only created a firestorm of controversy online, but it also helped cost the company billions of dollars.
That would be $5.24 billion to be exact.
But according to Gillette CEO Gary Coombe, the billions of dollars that the company cost parent company Proctor and Gamble was totally worth it. According to MarketingWeek, the ad was a “price worth paying” if it helped to reach the millennial generation.
“I don’t enjoy that some people were offended by the film and upset at the brand as a consequence,” said Coombe. “That’s not nice and goes against every ounce of training I’ve had in this industry over a third of a century. But I am absolutely of the view now that for the majority of people to fall more deeply in love with today’s brands you have to risk upsetting a small minority and that’s what we’ve done.”
Coombe is telling himself fantasies.
You don’t lose that much money because you upset a “small minority” of people. This is billions of dollars gone. You upset an entire sex by essentially telling them that every radical feminist claim about them is true. This includes millennials who turned their back on the shaving company after they attempted the most off-putting “how do you do fellow kids” moment in modern history.
Coombe’s mentioned his industry training over a third of a century long. It’s my belief that this training is part of what got him in trouble. Usually, when something like this happens, a boycott may only last for so long. However, we’re living in the age of the internet. We can now have our needs shipped straight to our door by pressing a few buttons on our phone.
Before that, we would go to the store to pick up our products, and over time we may forget our anger at a brand and pick it up if the price is right. Now we have subscriptions to products, with shaving being a popular one. We don’t have to go to the store and be tempted to forgive. Our new shaving products come right to our door every other week.
Coombe tried to appeal to younger men by insulting them based on a movement that became infamous as quickly as it became famous in an age where his product is less popular than ever, and different methods of doing business have taken hold.
Coombe made a horrific call and the proof is in the numbers. Now we’ll see if the good Captain Coombe learns from it, or continues to poke massive holes into the side of his ship in the name of looking “woke.”