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Case Details

Case Code: MKTG394
Case Length: 11 Pages 
Period: 2019   
Pub Date: 2019
Teaching Note: Available
Organization : The Procter & Gamble Company
Industry :Cosmetics & Toiletries
Countries : United States
Themes: Advertising & Promotion/Marketing Communication
Case Studies  
Business Strategy
Human Resource Management
Leadership & Entrepreneurship

Gillette`s `We Believe` Ad: Challenging Toxic Masculinity?

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Gillette was able to maintain a leading position in shaving products with its successful campaign ‘The Best a Man Can Get’. It charged a premium price for its products like Mach3Turbo, Sensor and Sensor Excel system razors. It pioneered the razor and blades business model (bait and hook model) where a master product was sold at a subsidized price and the profit came from high priced consumables that were linked to the use of the master product. Gillette used this model, selling the razor handles at a low price and charging high price for disposable razor blades. Once a customer had committed to a particular handle, he was locked into buying only that company’s blades. Gillette continued to leverage this business model with the M3Power, a vibrating safety razor with disposable blades and batteries..

Marketing Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Environment, Case Studies
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The ‘We Believe’ ad was created by Grey New York and made by the UK-based ad agency, Somesuch. It was directed by Kim Gehrig, who was known for noteworthy work like Sport England ’s ‘This Girl Can’ series and ‘Viva La Vulva,’ a female empowerment anthem for Libresse . She was designated to direct the ad due to the partnership between P&G and Free the Bid, a program devoted to attracting more female directors to direct ads..



Some experts expressed their support for the ad and the message it conveyed. Bernice King, daughter of the late civil rights legend Martin Luther King, said, “This commercial isn’t anti-male. It’s pro-humanity. And it demonstrates that character can step up to change conditions.” Duncan Fisher, head of policy and innovation for the Family Initiative, applauded the company’s radical move in messaging and said it had resorted to a new depiction about positive masculinity..



However, there was more of a backlash for the ad than praise for it. Many customers started tweeting under the hashtag #BoycottGillette and sharing videos and photos of Gillette products being thrown out. British television personality and journalist Piers Morgan responded furiously that the ad made a generalization that all men were bad. He wrote, “I’ve used Gillette razors my entire adult life but this absurd virtue-signalling PC guff may drive me away to a company less eager to fuel the current pathetic global assault on masculinity...



Some experts opined that the huge backlash against the ad reflected the damage done to men and women by toxic masculinity. According to them, toxic masculinity made men think that they were superior to women and harassing women satisfied their ego. Gillette wanted to project the message that men could be on their best behavior by stopping such harassment against women or other men. However, some analysts felt that the visuals of men harassing and bullying others in the ad, which were shown as symbolic shots, had made it appear as if men were not good and this had led to criticism against the ad..



Exhibit I: A Short Note about #MeToo Movement
Exhibit II: Percentages of Sales and Earnings in Segments of Global Business Units of the Procter & Gamble Company - 2018
Exhibit III: The Procter & Gamble Company: Consolidated Statements of Earnings
Exhibit IV:The Four Traits that Define a “Great Man” for the Majority of Respondents, According to the Study by Gillette in the US
Exhibit V: The Personal “best” Defined by Gillette
Exhibit VI: Share of Adults Who Agreed or Disagreed that Gillette Shared Values Before and After Watching Commercial
Exhibit VII: Women’s Reaction to Gillette AD