If you’ve taken a peak at the worldwide web recently, you’ve probably gotten a glimpse of the RAAAAAGE that’s been bubbling up around the latest – and most controversial – Gillette commercial.

Half the internet is cheering the men’s razor company taking on what many consider ‘toxic’ aspects of mainstream masculinity. The other half, well –

razor in toilet

Yes, there was backlash.

The backlash against Gillette was quick and swift. It even led to a few clogged toilets and embarrassed young men across America who were forced to fish their freshly bought ProGlides from their own commodes.

The outrage didn’t end at the porcelain thrones, but also made its way to Twitter, as all controversies inevitably do. Opponents of the razors fumed 280-characters at a time against what they saw as pandering in an already politically charged landscape.

mad tweet

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Gillette also gained a few fans for what some saw as a healthy conversation starter.

happy tweet

When it works, and when it doesn't.

Brands engaging in public debate have to be careful when and where to hedge their bets. Brands that have successfully navigated these larger conversations have done so with on-brand messaging and authenticity.

Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign tackled social issues within their realm of influence. The health and beauty industry had long been inundated with photoshopped models setting unrealistic beauty standards. Dove’s position as a leading voice in the industry gave them a seat at the table.

Their input was natural and welcome since they are a huge part of the conversation surrounding women’s health and beauty, anyway. Entering the conversation was on brand for Dove.

Nike’s take on the NFL-centered controversy is just as warranted, whether you agree with the message or not. Nike is a sponsor, in some form, of almost every major American sport. They built their brand on a dreamy vision of risk taking, defying norms and even defying gravity when you look back at the Michael Jordan commercials of the nineties.

Who better to comment on a sports controversy than a brand who works hand-in-hand with the same athletes that helped start the conversation?

On the flip side, Pepsi has never positioned itself as a brand especially important in the maelstrom of modern politics. So their ad, at best, appeared unprecedented and random. At worst, it pandered to a demographic trying to tackle serious issues, but it didn’t add any substance to the debate.

Instead, the soda company pulled attention away from the issue at hand and towards a can of Pepsi wrapped between the well-moisturized, perfectly manicured hands of Kendall Jenner.

Its execution was inauthentic because the social issue in question was perceived as just a backdrop for an upsell. But even Pepsi’s gamble paid off some: studies showed 44% of viewers had a more favorable view of Pepsi after watching the commercial, especially those in minority communities.

Getting back to Gillette.

So how does Gillette’s newest ad stack up to the Emmy-winning commercial from their parent company or Nike’s own money-maker? Does Gillette deserve a seat at the table in a discussion of modern masculinity? Or was this a grab for the attention for a growing market segment of millennials?

Whatever the answer, seriously guys, your razor won’t flush, not even on the third or fourth try. But if you need a good plumber, we know a guy.

Article Written By:

Connor Jaschen

Content Strategist/Writes Raps at His Desk When He Thinks No One is Watching