The Gillette ad and social media discussion — why it’s important

Gillette launched a two minute ad Monday that has been creating waves on social media all week long. Titled “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”, the ad shows that men could be better. In the wake of the #MeToo movement and conversations of toxic masculinity, the short film sheds light on mansplaining in the conference room, bullying, and dads chanting “boys will be boys”. The ad reflects on masculine ideals and Gillette jumps right in to take a stance—all while being moderate and diverse in its depictions and resulting in a strong emotional reaction. The voiceover begs the question: “Is this the best a man can get?”

Why is this important?

Because being “woke” and socially aware is becoming more important to brands than ever before. Gillette’s message is important because it invests in a social cause. The social media conversation has commanded both support and outrage.  One thing Gillette has done is that they’ve successfully sparked a larger conversation—a conversation that can be divisive and heated, but is one that matters. “The intention was not to be political at all,” according to Pankaj Bhalla, the North American brand director for Gillette. Given the current cultural climate, it is not always easy to take on a social issue without being political. Millennial and Gen Z consumers seem to be receptive and interested in social responsibility. When a brand uses an ad to share that message, it can be impactful. “I think it is important to stand for more than the product’s benefit that you provide, and I think that’s the expectation of our younger audiences,” Bhalla says. (

In the first three days that the ad was released, there were 1.6 million mentions of Gillette on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The video has garnered 20 million views on YouTube, and over a quarter million comments. Let’s take a look at Twitter.

The reactions have been positive:

The reactions have been negative:

The reactions have been funny:

It is becoming more urgent for businesses to be socially minded. People love to feel good about what they’re committing to. Gillette mentioned they plan to donate $1 million per year for the next three years to “non-profit organizations executing the most interesting and impactful programs designed to help men of all ages achieve their personal best.” This month, they will be donating to The Boys and Girls Club. ( Throwing its hat into the ring of brands who aren’t shying away from taking a stance, Gillette made an intentional decision to ignite a larger conversation; one that really wasn’t focused on its product. Tunheim is in the business of helping our clients take responsibility for being understood. Brand reputation is about more than a quality product; it’s about the story. Good stories are what start conversations and how we help our clients get the reputation they deserve.

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