Gillette sales unchanged after controversial advert about toxic masculinity

But the company is still calling the ad a success

Olivia Petter
Friday 25 January 2019 13:07 GMT
Gillette shares powerful message about toxic masculinity with new advert: 'We Believe: The Best Men Can Be'

Gillette’s latest advert calling on men to counter toxic masculinity might’ve prompted unprecedented media coverage, but it didn’t boost the razor brand’s sales.

In fact, sales following the ad’s release remain largely unchanged, revealed Jon Moeller, chief financial officer at Procter and Gamble (P&G), which owns Gillette.

Moeller said that figures were “in-line with pre-campaign levels”, CNN reports, but insists that the ad was still a success given its global impact.

“That campaign was aired once and has generated significant conversation, which is important and has generated a huge number of impressions,” he said.

While sales have not budged since the ad came out on 13 January, Moeller added that Gillette’s goal of connecting “more meaningfully with younger consumer groups” has been achieved.

“Early results, when you look at the age-group specifics, both internally and externally, reflect that we’re accomplishing that objective,” he said.

Moeller’s comments come after a survey of 2,000 American adults conducted by brand intelligence firm Morning Consult found that 61 per cent of viewers reacted positively to Gillette’s ad, which carried the tagline “The Best Men Can Be”.

Meanwhile, 71 per cent said they shared the brand’s values after watching it.

The data led Morning Consult to conclude that the backlash to the ad had been “overstated”.

The short film, which aired exclusively online, addressed a number of topical issues, such as sexual harassment and mansplaining, in a bid to combat some of the negative stereotypes attached masculinity.

But it divided the internet, with some praising Gillette for its progressive messaging while others, like Piers Morgan, found it offensive to men.

"We knew this film might be polarising," reads a statement from P&G in response to the backlash.

"Engaging in important and emotional cultural issues will inevitably attract heated debate. We know not everyone agrees with us and we respect all the different viewpoints we’ve heard.

"Conversations on these profound social issues can be difficult for all sides but we believe they are important and that, by sparking the discussion, we can play a part in creating meaningful and positive change.”

The ad has been watched more than 29m times on Twitter.

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