Why Gillette's lunge to political correctness will bomb

Gillette's new ad, browbeating men through a #MeToo and "toxic masculinity" pitch, supposedly to persuade men to buy their razors, is so revolting it's possible to think it's satire.

There is also a 30-second version, which doesn't even seem to be about selling razors:

Seriously, did a spy from Schick get into the Procter & Gamble advertising agency and concoct an ad sure to turn potential customers off?

Who would want to buy those razors after such a string of insults?  Isn't ad rule number one to not insult the customer?  Well, this one does.

As Jim Treacher observes (Hat tip: Instapundit), the message can be summed up as follows: "Gillette Tells Men They’re Repulsive Creeps. Now Give Them Your Money, You Piece of Garbage."

He writes:

Are you a man?  That is to say, are you a genetic male who also happens to identify as a "man," for some increasingly antiquated reason?  If so, are you under the mistaken impression that you're not a rapist?

Our society has come a long way in shaming men for behaving in any way that anybody anywhere doesn't like, and reminding men that we're all complicit even if we don't behave that way.  But it's not nearly enough.  The mere fact of maleness is shameful and problematic.  Men and boys everywhere need to be reminded that we're evil.  We must learn to hate ourselves as much as everyone else hates us.  The patriarchy must be castrated.

And who better to do it than a company that makes razors?

Because yes, under the cover of selling a consumer product, they're lobbing a heaping helping of political correctness around #MeToo and literally using words such as "toxic masculinity," while slyly doing the usual ad-man for man-ads thing of slipping in bikini shots of women.  Buy Gillette razors and get the bikini chicks, see?

Gillette ad via YouTube, screen grab.

It doesn't get more have-your-cake-and-eat-it, too, than this.

If you listen to this ad a lot (so much of it is offensive left-wing buzzwords that its shock value distracts even from the message they are trying to convey), you can surmise that what Gillette is trying to "message" is that clean-shaven, Gillette-using men stop bad sexist men and boys from going sex-harassing, which is what they will otherwise do.

Maybe they're trying to say Gillette razor-buyers are gentlemen and good dads.  But not exactly.  They're saying that buying into the "toxic masculinity" narrative of the left is somehow hip, something everyone does.  And Gillette razors offer some kind of protection from #MeToo accusers.

That's a stretch.

The ad features dozens of creepy news clips from hectoring television commentators intoning about #MeToo and other garbage, blaming all men for the behavior of some men. Those men who got into hot enough water to trigger the #MeToo movement weren't normal men, but elite men, the hypocritical ones who gave cash to Planned Parenthood and Democratic causes, while denouncing average American men as 'deplorables.' Democratic Party bigfoot donor Harvey Weinstein and other leftist elites, in the media, Hollywood, the arts, academia, and politics, all places where leftist rule unchecked and whose political monolith was a perfect petri dish for bad behavior were the #MeToo triggers who eventually got exposed and lost jobs.  But Gillette isn't pointing the finger at those guys, it's pointing the finger at its own potential buyers, normal men, and does it in a hammering, browbeating, nonstop news way that is exactly what turns customers off.

Why it happened is quite possibly due to something observed by Stacy McCain, who writes:

You see that what happens on campus doesn't stay on campus.  It is easy to point and laugh at the perverse madness in elite academia, but the fact is that these universities are attended by the kind of people who eventually become executives controlling major advertising agencies.  So after decades of Ivy League professors indoctrinating students with radical feminism and other extremist beliefs, now we find a division of a major corporate behemoth like Proctor & Gamble spending millions of dollars on advertising that insults men by accusing them of being perpetrators of rape, harassment, misogyny and "toxic masculinity."

By the way, the Gillette ads specifically demonize white males.

Now, maybe Gillette is trying to shake up things and get its ad talked about based on the recent success of Nike with its far-left, insult-the-flag-and-glorify-the-insulter Colin Kaepernik ads, which, to the surprise of a lot of us, succeeded.  Nike did so because the company decided that it wanted only very young customers who are fans of Kaepernik, and anyone one else who was offended, tough cookies.  The young, after all, are the trendsetters.  Get the trendsetters, and everyone else will fall in line, so the thinking goes, and yes they got away with it.

Now we have this insult-all-men ad from Gillette, suggesting at best that Gillette wants the business of only the very young.

Razors, which are used by most men, might not be such a trend-sensitive thing.

That's why I think this won't have the Nike-style result they think it will have, because right now, those very hipsters whose business they want aren't even shaving - they're sporting beards.  That's the trend.  Stephen Green, commenting on McCain's post, has the lowdown from Denver.

Stephen Green remarks: "Don't the marketing whizzes at Gillette know that the woke bros are all sporting ironic lumberjack beards these days?"

Don't expect this to improve Gillette's sales, but don't expect the executives who approved this idiocy to admit their error, either.

All of the fashion reports also say beards are hot.

What's more, a recent study found that women are finding men with beards much sexier, which is another bad trend for Gillette – see here. Ted Cruz, of course, got lots of kudos for his new beard, something that scared the left.

And according to this study, the reason it's a thing is that the pool of marriageable women is shrinking.  According to the research, when that happens, men grow beards as markers in large (urban, anonymous) groups to make themselves more attractive to women.  It's a natural response – see here.

There was also a study, years ago, and I regret I can't find it, which found that young men typically grew beards as a natural response to being in a henpecked environment.  They grew beards because it is one of the rare things the oppressive women around them couldn't do.  It's probably correct, and this other research, about why Victorian men of science grew beards would tend to support it. Men, at that time, had been seen as "un-manly" according to this piece, and responded in the normal way.  And it sure as heck would explain Green's observations about the Denver (and Brooklyn and Seattle and San Francisco) hipsters and their inclination toward beards now (it's actually a trend about three years in the making and coincides with feminist hate coming to dominate the culture).

Here's another problem for the company: It's in a "sleepy" market that's being rammed and shaken up by upstart and very hip competitors, such as Harry's and The Art of Shaving, which make shaving look cool, with finely groomed semi-Victorian beards as part of the advertising.  Harry's is all over Target and displayed in fancier boutique island settings with lots of atmospherics, quite unlike the retailer's other products.

So how to explain why Gillette won't get away with this idiocy as Nike did?

Normally, companies that are up against trends look to adapt: Coca-Cola, for instance, adapted to consumer trends against sugary drinks by going into the bottled water business as a sideline and ramped up its diet offerings to remain profitable.

In Guanajuato, Mexico, a Mexican friend explained to me that when Walmart came to the area as the result of NAFTA and brought in cheap birthday cakes, the local bakeries adapted to that by featuring gourmet birthday cakes, staying in business.  It happens everywhere.

Gillette is choosing to skip the natural way companies adapt to unfriendly trends and challenging the actual culture instead.

I don't know of any examples of where that has worked.  And with Gillette now in a ferociously competitive environment, the ad insulting their buyers as just predators unless they use Gillette razors does not actually offer protection from #MeToo accusers – it just makes customers want to buy from other suppliers.

I may be wrong, and maybe young men will buy into Gillette as a means of protection from #MeToo, but in light of all the other factors, and throwing in the incredibly negative reaction all over YouTube, this looks like a bomb.