Gen Z and younger Millennials represent the future of grooming consumers and the biggest long-term business opportunity for Gillette. Yet according to brand equity data, Gillette was losing relevance in their lives. With 72% of Millennials and Gen Z willing to pay extra for products and services from companies dedicated to social change, it became clear Gillette needed to stand for something more meaningful.
Through our brand purpose, Grooming the Next Generation of Men, we recognized the opportunity to make a profound statement about the future of masculinity and men in 2019. Gillette has played a role in shaping masculinity around the world through its advertising for decades. The tagline, The Best A Man Can Get, had always been an aspirational statement. But in 2018, it was hard to argue that men were perceived to be at their best, as allegations of sexual harassment and assault were flooding in against America’s influential male celebrities and politicians.
In speaking to men around the country, we realized that many felt that because they weren’t the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, it wasn’t their problem. But chances are they were aware of bad behavior occurring around them and chose to turn a blind eye to it, chalking it up to “boys will be boys” or “locker room talk”. Many mistakenly believed that “not being the bad guy ” was the same as “being a good guy”, not realizing that their inaction was contributing to a system that allowed negative behavior to flourish. Men had an opportunity to create change, to hold each other accountable, and set a new standard for how a man acts. As a leading male brand, we felt we had an obligation to take a stand and make this clear, even if it risked upsetting consumers in the process.
The only way for progress was to get all sides talking. We not only wanted men to confront the issue, but we wanted to help shine the way forward, instilling a sense of empowerment for each man to take positive action, while setting the tone for a new chapter, one of optimism and aspiration that’s inherent in our iconic tagline. So on the 30th anniversary of The Best A Man Can Get, we wanted to reinvigorate it, to dust it off, and give it a new meaning, one that would ultimately provoke a much needed conversation among men and force the issue to the surface. We needed to remind men that the next generation were watching, that their behavior and actions today would define the men of tomorrow, and that they had an obligation to act.
We partnered with renowned female director Kim Gehrig to create a film that would get guys to sit up and take notice, and to trigger a dialogue on the issue. It couldn’t just be a celebration of men; we needed to address the issue head on, to make people confront the problem, even if it made some feel a little uncomfortable. We needed to do this if we wanted guys to really listen. But we also needed to present a rallying cry, one of optimism and a fresh start to empower men and make them realize not only what’s at stake, but that each man had the power to make a small difference for change. We decided to promote the film on YouTube pre-roll, Twitter and Facebook promoted posts, where we could target younger millennials and Gen Z.