“Woke” Advertising Damaged Gillette

Earlier this year, 13-Jan-2019, Gillette released a bizarrely anti-male advertisement, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Best_Men_Can_Be

This virtue signaling on the scale of MTV’s “Resolutions for White Guys” of two years ago. But, of course, MTV doesn’t actually want “white guys” as viewers. For a while, they had VH1 for that. Gillette presumably does want shavers as buyers, so this open misandry landed this ad (for a while) in the Top 20 of Disliked YouTube Videos. (It’s currently #24, even more impressive when you realize almost all of the other top videos are music.)

Shaving one’s face is a decidedly male activity. It’s also generally a rite-of-passage a father teaches his son, starting when the son is well before puberty with a toy razor but real shaving cream. Currently, any such thing is derided as, first, “masculine”, and second, because “masculinity” is ipso facto evil, “toxic.”

So the Twitterverse broke out with the “woke” (but non-shaving) chunks of the world celebrating this haranguing, and with quite a few actual men with actual facial hair growth responding, “I’m not interested in being insulted and lectured to. I’ll buy something else.

E.g. Wilkinson, Schick, Harry’s (brands owned by Edgewell, a competitor to Proctor & Gamble which owns Gillette.)

Payback Time

Why is this relevant now? Because Proctor & Gamble just took an $8 billion non-cash writedown for Gillette. (P&G also lost $5 billion, but doesn’t break it out by sub-company. Word on the street is that it was entirely Gillette.) The company is claiming it’s due to competition… well, yes, but it’s due to competition from companies that celebrate rather than villifying being a man.

How much is $8 billion in the shaving industry? Schick just bought Harry’s for one-sixth of that. The write-down was about as large as the current Gillette revenues. It’s a big deal.

Will Gillette Learn?

The trouble with “woke”-ness is the holier-than-thou attitude… that this is just a temporary blip until the rest of us wake up. So how has Gillette responded to these losses?

By, and this is not a joke, an ad of a father teaching his “transgender son” to shave.

“Transgender” no worries, but let’s be honest here… your transgender son was your daughter for quite a while… and has no need to shave her face.

This one is more stupid than offensive. We play-shave with our prepubescent sons because they want to, not because they need to (yet.) So doing so with a post-pubescent ex-daughter, no worries. But not a well-focused message, and certainly seems dedicated to destroying what was once a “manly” brand.

Your future customers for men’s shaving products… they aren’t “transgendered males.” (Gillette sells quite a lot of female focused shaving products also – more than half their revenue – which makes the massive drop off even more impressive… apparently they’ve annoyed their female customers also.)

Bottom line: Some woke advertising damages sales.

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