Gillette released a commercial earlier this year that uses the company’s tagline “Is this the best a man can get?” to address issues like bullying, sexual harassment, and the #MeToo movement. The purpose of this commercial was to bring awareness to toxic masculinity and inspire men to hold other men accountable and teach younger children to treat others with respect because “the boys of today will be the men of tomorrow” (“Gillette”). Another purpose was for the company to get a lot more attention and sell more products. This commercial reached its goal by invoking pathos, addressing controversial issues, and showing us how we can start creating change.
The target audience for this ad is men because Gillette sells products for men, however, this commercial caused many men to be offended and want to boycott the company. Considering the medium, many young boys have access to youtube and TV commercials. I think that young boys are also a target audience for this ad because the final sentence says, “the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.” The video of the ad on youtube has almost twice as many dislikes as likes, and there are 1.4 million dislikes. I believe that Gillette did not make this advertisement just to receive attention, but rather to genuinely bring awareness to the important issues involving toxic masculinity because they purposely alienated many of their customers. I also think that the men getting so offended are part of the problem, or they do not understand what the ad is doing to achieve their purpose.
The commercial starts off with overlapping news audio saying “Bullying. The #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. Toxic masculinity.” while four different men of different ethnicities and ages in four different frames look into the mirror of their bathroom with a look of contemplation. Then, the narrator says “Is this the best a man could get.” I believe the men in the video are contemplating what it is to be a man and how they could be better. The video transitions into a scene where young boys are running to bully a kid and cuts to a message saying “FREAK!!!” There is also a sad young boy who is hugging his mom because he is being told “You’re such a loser. Sissy! Everyone hates you.” This scene shows how young boys can bully other boys and creates an emotional effect that appeals to readers and makes them feel sorry for the little boy.
The next scene shows three male teenagers watching television. The TV is flipping through channels that portray some type of sexual harassment or sexualization of women. For example, the first channel showed four cartoon male characters catcalling a woman, the second channel showed a man grabbing a woman’s butt without consent, and laughing about it, and the last channel showed a music video with girls dancing in their bikinis. This scene portrays the normalization of sexually harassing women and oversexualizing them on television. The three young boys watching the TV get negatively influenced into thinking that what they are watching is okay to do in real life. They learn from what they see and begin to adopt these bad behaviors. It is known that media “influences how we feel, why we make the choices we do, and even shapes what we believe. (“The Impact Of Media”)” The purpose of this scene is to show what young boys see on television, and how that impacts who they will be.
The commercial transitions to a scene where a male executive cuts off a woman in a meeting and says “What I actually think she is trying to say is..” This is known as mansplaining which is a form of toxic masculinity. Mansplaining is also defined as the explanation of something by a man to a woman in a condescending manner. The man in this scene is not listening to what the woman actually has to say and is not giving her a chance to explain herself. Many women, experience this, including myself, and many men are unaware that things like this happen to us. The purpose of this scene is to shed light on an issue that many men are blind to and bring awareness to what most women go through every day. Many viewers may sympathize with the woman realize they do the same thing and start watching everything they say and do.
The Narrator mentions how we make the same old excuses of “boys will be boys” to justify boys’ bad behavior. These behaviors could pertain to fighting, bullying, catcalling, and sexual harassment. I think that the producer mentioned this phrase to show how people view the issue of boys performing toxic behaviors, and how instead of saying “boys will be boys,” we should say that boys can be better and that men should hold other men accountable. The ad then transitions to overlapping news channels talking about the allegations regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment, and how this movement changed things and is a wakeup call for men to be better.
The final sentence of the commercial was “Because we…We believe in the best in men. To say the right thing. To act the right way. Some already are, in ways big and small. But some is not enough. Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.” There are many scenes showing examples of what men should be doing in society as the narrator says this final sentence. First, the ad shows a clip of Terry Crews, an actor, activist, former NFL player, and sexual assault survivor, saying that “men need to hold other men accountable.” As a man, Crews is using his platform to bring awareness to sexual assault and telling men what they need to be doing in order to be better.
Second, a man tells a woman at a party to “smile sweetie,” and the woman is clearly bothered, so another man steps in and stops the man from bothering the woman. Next, a pretty woman in revealing clothing walks down the street causing a man to begin catcalling and chasing her, but before he could, another man steps in and says “Bro, not cool. Not cool.” These examples of men holding other men accountable can teach men to do the right thing and show them how they can make a difference.
The next scene shows a man breaking up a fight between men by empowering each other and saying “we are men” and both men shake hands. The scene after shows a father reassuring his daughter in the mirror with having her repeat the phrase “I am strong.” After that, the commercial shows men stopping young boys from fighting and bullying instead of making the excuse of “boys will be boys.” This is very emotional to watch because it is relatable and it is sad seeing young children being bullied. This emotional appeal inspires men to stand up and do their part.
The last scene is very moving because as the narrator says “Because the boys watching today, will be the men of tomorrow” the video shows four young boys of different ethnicities like at the beginning of the video with the last boy looking straight into the camera. I think that the boy is looking into the camera to appeal to our emotion and motivate us to help the children and raise them right.
Gillette released a statement about the ad saying, “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. (“The Best Men”)” This is why the advertisement was showing examples of men stopping men from fighting, bullying, and sexually harassing. The ad used pathos for the audience to sympathize with what most women go through and by showing young boys being bullied. The frustration that comes with seeing the problems young boys and women go through is emotional which motivates people to create change.
Gillette, director. We Believe: The Best Men Can Be. YouTube, YouTube, 13 Jan. 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=koPmuEyP3a0.
“The Best Men Can Be.” Gillette®, gillette.com/en-us/the-best-men-can-be.
“The Impact Of Media – Good, Bad Or Somewhere In Between.” CareersinPsychology.org, careersinpsychology.org/impact-media/.