If this ad offends you, it might just be because it’s about you.

 

Unless you’ve been in full-on hibernation mode, playing Black Ops with your clan till your fingers are bleeding, barricaded in your man cave binge watching “Vikings”, “Frontier”, or some other delightful celebration of manliness – by now you’ve no doubt heard about how people are reacting and overreacting to the latest addition to the Gillette “The Best A Man Can Get” advertising campaign. If you have not yet seen it, I have procured it on your behalf and passed the savings on to you. You can check it out above.

I won’t bore you with a play-by-play of the details, but the general gist is, it’s a commercial that was created under the premise that, imagine this: there’s a right way and a wrong way to act as a man, if you truly want to “be the best man you can be.” And it goes one step further and reminds men, that whether they own up to it or not, they are role models for boys who will grow up in their shadow.

Now before you get your boxers all in a bunch and accuse Gillette of jumping on the Me Too movement bandwagon, this is the part where I will remind you once again that this is an evolution of their 30-year-old-campaign.

But why take my word for it when you can take theirs? Here’s what they say about it on their website:

“Thirty years ago, we launched our The Best A Man Can Get tagline.

Since then, it has been an aspirational statement, reflecting standards that many men strive to achieve.

But turn on the news today and it’s easy to believe that men are not at their best. Many find themselves at a crossroads, caught between the past and a new era of masculinity. While it is clear that changes are needed, where and how we can start to effect that change is less obvious for many. And when the changes needed seem so monumental, it can feel daunting to begin. So, let’s do it together.

It’s time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture.

And as a company that encourages 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. With that in mind, we have spent the last few months taking a hard look at our past and coming communication and reflecting on the types of men and behaviors we want to celebrate. 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.

From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette. In the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and so much more.

As part of The Best Men Can Be campaign, Gillette is committing to donate $1 million per year for the next three years to non-profit organizations executing programs in the United States designed to inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal “best” and become role models for the next generation.

Our tagline needs to continue to inspire us all to be better every day, and to help create a new standard for boys to admire and for men to achieve… Because the boys of today are the men of tomorrow.

We’ve all got work to do. And it starts today.

Gillette. The Best A Man Can Get.”

Now, let’s not kid ourselves. We all know that Gillette is not on a crusade to become agents of social change. And they’re not claiming to be. They sell razors and shaving cream and a bunch of other products. And after this campaign is long gone, they’ll still be hocking their wares doing everything humanly possible to make their shareholders happy.

What they are doing though, is joining companies like Nike and Starbucks in taking a stand and acknowledging in the light of day, for all to see, that they know that all is not right in the kingdom – both in our society and our culture. And they’re not just paying lip service. Like Starbucks and Nike, they too, are putting their money where their mouths are, donating $3million over the next 3 years to organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

And even if they weren’t donating money to support such a worthy cause, they have done something hardly any brands have shown the courage to do– draw a line in the sand and hold a mirror up to make us all take a hard look at ourselves as men and make a choice.

We can be men who set good examples for our children by behaving like decent human beings, or we can set bad examples for our children by acting like complete assholes.

And make no mistake about it, it is a conscious choice at that particular fork in the road, and there is no gray area.

So, if you are in any way offended by the commercial above, perhaps you need to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself what it is exactly about it that leaves such a bad taste in your mouth.

Is it a little preachy? Maybe so. A tad melodramatic? Without question. But if you think for one minute it that it encroaches on your masculinity and how you personally mete your manliness out into the world, you, my friend are the kind of man that gives company’s like Nike, Starbucks and Gillette permission to stand out and step up.

 

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