Shaving company Gillette says it is “shifting the spotlight from social issues to local heroes,” after the company’s brief foray into the SJW-style demonization of masculinity drew a massive backlash from customers.
The company landed itself in hot water last year when it ran a #MeToo-themed ad borrowing language from far-left anti-male feminists, depicting the abuse of women by men and encouraging male Gilette customers to “shave their toxic masculinity.”
Other attempts to demonstrate the company’s “woke” credentials included an ad showing a dad teaching his transitioning female-to-male child how to shave.
Shaving brands are not difficult to boycott. Most major retailers stock competitors to Gillette in their shaving sections, at similar or lower prices. There are plenty of other brands that have taken a different approach, with competitor Schick even running ads spotlighting sexist expectations against men.
Consumers did not reward Gillette for its attempt to dabble in left-wing identity politics. Gillette’s parent company, Procter & Gamble (P&G), posted a net loss of $5.24 billion in the fourth quarter, compared to profits of $1.89 billion a year ago.
News.com.au finance editor Steven Chung tied Gillette’s losses to its political messaging, noting the perils of alienating half the population.
Advertising is increasingly the battleground of the culture wars, with big brands like Target, Nike and Starbucks copping backlash, and praise, for taking sides in divisive social and political issues like race, gender and sexuality.
But by alienating roughly 50 per cent of potential customers, many brands end up taking a hit to their bottom line — “Get woke, go broke.”
At the time, Gillette CEO Gary Coombe said the loss was a “price worth paying” and that he didn’t mind alienating some customers.
With the company now “shifting away from social issues,” it’s possible that Coombe’s view failed to win out.