We live in the Age of the Lecture; an era in which virtually every forum or opportunity for communicating, becomes a vehicle from which to lecture us about something deemed important to those whose existence revolves around political correctness.
Now, even an ad for something as mundane and apolitical as a shaving razor has become the means by which the PC crowd presses its worldview upon us. Politically correct lectures packaged as ads for toilet paper cannot be far behind.
Recently, the iconic men’s grooming brand Gillette released an ad featuring not its latest advancement in shaving technology, but instead taking on the scourge of “toxic masculinity.” This transition from a product built on the masculine art of shaving one’s beard, to a campaign focusing on softness and goodwill, is odd in the extreme.
It appears, however, that the public relations Brainiacs who dreamed up this campaign may have created more of a problem than a solution (to whatever the perceived problem might have been). At least those of us grown tired of politically correct subject matter being shoved at us via television ads, can hope it will backfire.
Rather than striking a cord with its audience as a collective Kumbaya moment, Gillette’s latest ad appears to have struck a raw nerve with viewers. Ad Age, an advertising industry publication, reported that one marketing intelligence firm found 63 percent of social media’s reaction to the ad was negative, compared to just eight percent who viewed it positively.
A company like Nike, which has built a sporting shoe empire on a liberal social agenda, can successfully employ a polarizing sports celebrity like Colin Kaepernick to boost its sales; people have come to expect it of the company. Starbucks Coffee, which has long and openly promoted a philosophy of love, peace and diversity, can fashion marketing strategies around such social messaging and survive. Gillette, however, is not a “New Age” company; its product has nothing to do with political or public policy, and never has.
Consumers may finally have reached the end of their patience with the vacuous moralizing that has become standard fare emanating from Hollywood, Washington, DC and Silicon Valley.
While I share with many of my fellow citizens the frustration with having to sit through ads focusing on erectile dysfunction, hemorrhoids, constipation, and every form of malady known to mankind, in order simply to watch the news or a sporting event, I prefer that to a shaving company lecturing me on how it believes I should live my life.