The spot, which features images of harassment and brutality, urges men to end a culture of “toxic masculinity” and turns the brand’s 30-year-old slogan into a question: “Is this the best a man can get?”
The broadcast of the spot, which was released Sunday and lasts just under two minutes, has earned the brand praise from those who see it as an example of brave communication, with the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs even paying tribute in a tweet on Tuesday.
But like the 15-month-old #MeToo movement, the message has also been criticized by men who felt insulted, some of whom have vowed to swear off the brand.
On YouTube, the ad was “liked” only 67,000 times but disliked 315,000.
“So nice to see @Gillette jumping on the ‘men are horrible’ campaign permeating mainstream media and Hollywood entertainment. I for one will never use your product again,” conservative actor James Woods tweeted.
Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette’s brand director for North America, has pushed back against the criticism.
“This is an important conversation happening, and as a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address it and take action of our own,” Bhalla said in a statement.
“We are taking a realistic look at what’s happening today, and aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ is not an excuse.”