‘Is this the best a man can get?’: New Gillette ad challenges men to ‘be better’

‘Is this the best a man can get?’: New Gillette ad challenges men to ‘be better’
Entitled “We Believe,” the campaign addresses serious issues like bullying, toxic masculinity and #MeToo in a 2-minute long video. (Source: Gillette/CNN)

(CNN/Gray News) - A new advertising campaign for shaving company Gillette has many singing its praises but others threatening to boycott for its commentary on men and masculinity.

The Gillette ad campaign, entitled “We Believe,” addresses serious issues like bullying, toxic masculinity and #MeToo in a 2-minute long video released Sunday.

"Is this the best a man can get? Is it? We can't hide from it. It’s been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off, making the same old excuses,” the narrator says.

The video goes on to offer examples of acting “the right way” instead by showing men stop other men from sexually harassing women and stop boys from bullying each other.

“Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow,” the narrator says.

Critics say the ad is “anti-men” and too critical of stereotypically masculine behavior.

Gillette officials and those of parent company Procter & Gamble say they have no plans to pull the ad in the face of some negative reaction. Indeed, they hoped the new campaign would spark debate and inspire change.

"We expected debate. Actually, a discussion is necessary. If we don't discuss and don't talk about it, I don't think real change will happen," said Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette's North America brand director.

Bhalla told CNN Business he hopes men who watch the video will be inspired to act like role models and show younger children how to stand up to bad behavior and treat other people with respect.

A page devoted to the campaign on Gillette’s website says the company simply wants to “encourage men to be their best.”

“We have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man,” the website says. “We’re inviting all men along this journey with us – to strive to be better, to make us better and to help each other be better.”

The company intends to release more videos in the campaign, according to CNN Business, as part of a larger branding effort.

Gillette also announced it will donate $1 million per year for the next three years to nonprofit organizations that “inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal ‘best’ and become role models for the next generation.”

The first recipient of the donation will be the Boys & Girls Club of America.

In creating the campaign, Gillette’s team consulted men across the country and spoke to experts on masculinity, CNN Business reports.

Procter & Gamble has a history of thought-provoking campaigns, including ones for its Always feminine hygiene brand that questioned what it means to do something “like a girl” and for its Pantene hair care brand that showed NFL players braiding their daughters’ hair.

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