Gillette takes aim at toxic masculinity in new campaign

P&G grooming brand calls on men to up their game in new film from Grey New York.

Gillette has launched a new campaign, "The best men can be", calling on men to improve themselves by standing up against bullying, sexism and harassment.

The two-minute film, created by Grey New York, is a montage of clips showcasing the worst of male behaviour, while a voiceover says: "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."

It was created by Patrick Conlon and Joe Mongognia, and directed by Kim Gehrig through Somesuch. P&G declined to say whether there were plans to run the work in the UK.

As the film continues, the clips of sexist and entitled behaviour give way to examples of men challenging their peers and exhibiting progressive values.

The voiceover continues: "But something finally changed. And there will be no going back, 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."

It closes with the on-screen text: "It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more that we can get closer to our best. We are taking action at thebestamancanbe.org. Join us."

The website features a mission statement containing the pledge: "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."

It also outlines plans to donate $1m a year for the next three years to youth organisation Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Per Gary Coombe, president, P&G global grooming, said: "Gillette believes in the best in men; that by holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can deliver positive change that will matter for years to come."

The campaign has aggravated some high-profile and outspoken commentators such as Piers Morgan, who called it "virtue-signalling PC guff".

Gillette follows in the footsteps of Unilever brand Lynx, which reinvented its image in 2016 with a campaign celebrating men’s diversity and individuality.

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