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The BEST and WORST of purpose

“That new Gillette ad, it’s so patronising. How dare they think they have the right to lecture men on how to be men!”

“Well, they are a shaving -- ”

“And not just men but their own customers! Do they want to lose even more of them?”

“But they can’t just sit there waving them --”

“Have you seen YouTube? 1.2 million down votes.”

“Seven hundred thousand up.”

“What use are those if it’s one in, two out?”

“Early tracking in the USA didn’t show much of a shift.”

“The UK showed a big shift. The headline was ‘Gillette brand takes a hit as ‘#metoo’ ad backfires’.”

“The thing is it’s only shaving. That has to be the dullest job in the world. And buying razors is as System One as you get.”

‘There’s an argument it’s all about targeting women.”

“Do you mean razors for women? The ones that are more expensive than exactly the same ones for men?”

“No, women buying for men.”

“Surely the man would still specify the brand.”

“I still think it’s crazy for a brand to be so antagonistic. Have you seen who’s on their case? Mark Ritson, Ricky Gervais, Piers Morgan…”

“That could help them out.”

“And thousands of commentators. Most seem certain it’ll fail.”

“Yes but did you see the Glocalities data? That suggested Gillette were targeting new users with different -- ”

“If you even think of saying ‘Millenials’ -- “

“Challengers and Socialisers they called them. They responded much better to the ad than existing customers, the Achievers and Conservatives. In need terms, the strategy makes complete sense.”

“Still high risk prioritising new users over existing ones.”

“Maybe they don’t have a choice. All that trading people up to more and more blades. The Fusion 5. Did the Sensual 6 just not fly as a concept?”

“I’m still on a Sensor Excel. Two blades is plenty enough for me.”

“Me too. But then Dollar Shave Club comes along and now, surprise, surprise, people start questioning £2.50 for a razor.”

“I reckon they watched the Kaepernick ad and thought way to go.”

“No, Nike were taking a stand. Gillette are saying what they stand for.”

“That all men are bullying misogynists?”

“They’re not saying that! The ad’s trying to show men at their best.”

“And their worst. ‘Toxic masculinity’, it’s a war cry.”

“But you have to get people’s attention. I know, it’s pretty clumsy, the sexual harassment, the girls in their bikinis.”

“ ‘Boys will be boys, boys will be boys’.”

“But the sons looking on, that’s good. It’s a strong thought. Like teaching your son to shave. That’s the link.”

“The thing is, I simply don’t believe them.”

“You don’t believe what? That they’ll donate a million dollars a year?”

“They’ll have to do that now they’ve said it. No, it’s not them. It’s not the brand. They’re just selling razors.”

“Does that matter? It’s still provoking a debate.”

“It’s virtue signalling. One way or another, we’re being had.”

“I think they know their target. They know they’re now buying more on price. But they also value brands that have a positive effect on the world. And P&G are prepared to put their money where their mouth is.”

“OK, but what if sales tank?


“A principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money.”

“They’ll have tested it to death. It’s P&G. They’re not a charity. They want growth.”

“And I know most people won’t give the ad a moment’s thought. That’s why it’s smart bringing back the endline.”

“Mental availability, distinctive assets.”

“But they’ll have to keep going with it, won’t they? It even says “there’ll be no going back”. So they couldn’t just think up another angle.”

“The second best a man can get.”

“That’s the bottom line on purpose. You do have to mean it.”

“And it does have to work. Agreed?”


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