Jack Burke


Brands That Take a Stand: A Look at Gillette’s New Campaign

This week, the 2018 No. 1 seller of men’s razor products, Gillette, released a two-minute online ad “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be.” This comes as a radical and bold shift from their 1989 Super Bowl XXIII commercial launching their long-time slogan, “The Best a Man Can Get.”

Let me start off by saying that I’m not here to address the controversy surrounding this ad. In a day and age where we can find controversy in just about anything, I want to focus on what this means in the marketing world.

It should come as no surprise that their brand is aging. Just think how popular beards and the Dollar Shave Club are amongst millennials. Couple these factors with a change in shaving habits with men shaving less and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see Gillette needed to do something and fast, hence Gillette’s latest campaign.

Cause marketing is defined as a type of corporate social responsibility, in which a company’s promotional campaign has the dual purpose of increasing profitability while bettering society. Gillette consciously used this strategy to not only refresh their messaging, but their brand entirely. Research has also shown that millennials are drawn towards purpose-driven brands. They believe that taking a stand matters and they shop with their hearts on their sleeves. While Gillette took a risk alienating a part of their audience, they struck marketing gold in sending a powerful message to a powerful generation. The relevant and inspiring message – rather than the technical quality of the advertisement – is what ultimately made the video qualify as viral marketing.

Stance aside, Gillette made a smart choice to use social media to launch this campaign. With a piece that was sure to start a dialogue, the brand made it so viewers could immediately share their thoughts and feeling whatever they may be. All of those comments, likes, and shares made this campaign go viral and made Gillette the brand of the moment.

There will be those who ask why not air it at the Super Bowl? But when you think of the cost of buying a :30 second ad, you then realize the message would not be as impactful, the story would be left untold, and the stance may not be as clear. Perhaps most importantly you lose the instant connection point of social media, and users cannot share their thoughts and amplify your message as quickly or as effectively.

Gillette caught my attention this week. As the Chief Creative Officer at BURKE, it was a great reminder to stand for something, or you will fall for anything. This is why we here at BURKE will always encourage our clients to be bold and to trust us with their messaging, and to take risks confidently when you truly believe in a cause.

Once again, bravo, Gillette.

If you haven’t yet, check out the full video here.

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