I’d previously spoken about Gillette’s marketing and their “toxic masculinity” adverts. My issue wasn’t with the advert’s quality, but that Gillette were using sensitive cultural issues to promote their products.
Interestingly, outside of disgruntled men on Twitter (who felt targeted by the advert), there wasn’t much backlash for Gillette. Their stock even saw a small increase in value following the advert.
Now Gillette are back at it again with their latest advert, which is an image of an obese model at a beach with the writing:
“Go out there and slay the day.
Venus is committed to representing beautiful women of all shapes, sizes, and skin types because ALL types of beautiful skin deserve to be shown. We love Anna because she lives out loud and loves her skin no matter how the “rules” say she should display it”
The advert is fine, reading more like a PR piece than advertising. However, it received thousands of responses and backlash.
It’s worth noting that before this advert, Gillette had posted other images with models of various body types and ethnicity (including the same model as in the beach advert). None of these ads had any backlash, and only got creepy responses from random men online saying they’d “hit that”.
So why was this different?
Gillette clearly promoted this to people who would respond to the advert (both positively and negatively), similarly to how they promoted the “Toxic Masculinity” advert. This then results in more exposure through people arguing over whether the image is or isn’t “body positive” (resulting in each of their followers seeing it etc).
Additionally, the advert’s text is pure genius for getting responses. Whilst it looks positive, it promotes a non-existent ideology. E.g. there are no rules that say the model can’t wear a bikini, but Gillette claims there is.
They tried to do something similar with a transgender model recently too, but received little response.
Unlike the beach advert, the transgender ad was promoted through platforms that support transgender rights. So, the response was positive, but it got a minuscule reaction in comparison to the negativity the beach advert received.
Again, this is clearly because Gillette promoted their beach advert to people who would react negatively, creating a divisive conversation on Twitter that is designed to generate anger.
Gillette’s approach to advertising is nauseating. At a surface level understanding of the ads they seem great, but underneath this thin layer of kindness lays a dark ulterior motive.
It’s an advertising technique that has been used before, specifically by Russia during the 2016 election. When it was used by Russia, the whole world freaked out, but Gillette’s actions are accepted.
The result? Their stocks are going up.
Gillette are playing a dangerous game, and it will be interesting to see if the public become aware of their promotion techniques.