About that Gillette ad

A couple months ago, Gillette got the bright idea to make an ad that allegedly portrayed much of their customer base as… toxic. I learned about the ad but haven’t seen it. Don’t really care to watch it either.

Marketing teams will make stupid messages. That’s been the way of it since the dawn of marketing. Just do a Google search for “worst marketing campaigns” (without quotes) and you’ll find lists others have compiled of various marketing campaigns through the years. The Gillette ad may be on a future list – depending on who compiles it. Now, count how many of those companies folded or suffered a serious financial setback as a result of those marketing campaigns. Hint: very few.

It is rare for marketing blunders to take down companies, or take them from profitable to not. And in cases where that does happen, it is to companies that were already on the rocks. It almost doesn’t happen to established, profitable brands.

Even the adage “get woke, go broke” has yet to hold true. I’ve yet to see a major brand adopting social justice messages and then folding or no longer being profitable as a result of that. As such I don’t buy the report from RedState that “Gillette is Feeling the Financial Burn” due to the ad. For one the headline doesn’t fit the content of their article:

But sales of grooming products, including Gillette, slipped 1%, continuing a long string of declines. Margins disappointed.

In other words, it was already on a downward slope before the ad.

Market Watch notes that this may be a grooming product problem overall due to the relaxation of workplaces and the emerging popularity of beards, as well as online brands such as Dollar Shave Club gaining larger footholds in the market.

Instead RedState and others outraged at the ad are hoping the Gillette brand is suffering from that marketing blunder. But there’s no evidence saying it is. That didn’t stop RedState from stating outright it is. And even if that is true, there likely never will be that kind of evidence, simply due to how marketing works. Here’s a hint: no established brand ever has only one marketing campaign active at any given time.

Prior to the “toxic masculinity” ad, I thought it was only the social justice warriors hell bent on policing every message coming from every company. So I now stand corrected.

I largely ignore advertising and typically do not buy based on any advertising. I don’t really care about advertising or what a company says in their ads. I care more about the products.

As such, I have not joined the “boycott” of the Gillette brand. And won’t be. I have my reasons.

About 9 or so years ago, I started evaluating a LOT of shaving options after using an electric for quite a while and deciding that I was done with it. And I was done as well with trying to maintain a beard. I looked at various wet shaving options to find something that would work. I tried options from Bic, Schick, Gillette, and even purchased an Edwin Jagger safety razor to try with different blades – and yes, I ordered it direct from the United Kingdom.

After a lot of trial and error, over the course of… a couple years, with my skin just loving it the entire time, I settled on using “traditional” shaving cream and a Gillette Mach 3 Turbo. Specifically I use C.O. Bigelow, which is available readily at Bath & Body Works for $10 (buy 2 get 1 free), a badger shaving brush (recently acquired a silver tip brush), and a scuttle.

The razor I’m not about to give up merely because Gillette made a marketing blunder. I don’t let others dictate my purchase decisions.

And I’m not so small-minded that I’ll abandon a product or brand over one bad marketing campaign.