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Gillette’s Controversial Campaign

Our society continues to become increasingly polarized and we see that polarization spill over into marketing campaigns as well.  One recent example is Gillette’s campaign, We Believe.  The commercial calls out bullying and harassment, challenging men to rise above the stereotype of toxic masculinity.  According to this MarketingDive article, the campaign was met with 1.1 million social media and news mentions within the first 24 hours of the ad’s launch which represented a 215% increase in brand mentions compared to the previous 24 hour period.  As you would expect, not all of the mentions were positive but overall consumer impressions were very positive (79.6% of survey respondents saying they liked the ad) and the majority of respondents thought the ad was very memorable.

This can be used in a discussion about different forms of advertising (this seems to fit the institutional advertising definition best), it could be discussed in context of evaluating the social environment, and possibly even an ethical discussion – could campaigns like this be viewed as disingenuous or backfire on the company?

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