Razor company Gillette has a question for men in the age of Me Too: “Is this the best a man can get?”
Gillette’s advertising clip, which has gone viral since it debuted on Monday, turns the company’s 30-year-old ad tagline into a challenge for males to do better and be better as the nation reckons with the treatment of women at home, at work and on the street.
Gillette said in a statement that the point of the nearly two-minute ad titled “We Believe” is to address “actions commonly associated with ‘toxic masculinity,’” which also includes bullying and eliminating the “boys will be boys” excuse for unacceptable behavior.
“Gillette believes in the best in men,” said Gary Coombe, president of Procter & Gamble Co.‘s global grooming division, which owns the razor company. “By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come.”
The ad has received praise from some audiences, but its progressive message has some outraged some customers, who vow to ditch their razors on Twitter with the hashtag #BoycottGillette.
Other people on Twitter pointed out that the ad rightfully calls attention to aggressive and harmful behaviors.
Gillette’s North America brand director Pankaj Bhalla told CNN the controversy wasn’t a surprise.
“We expected debate,” Bhalla said. “Actually a discussion is necessary. If we don’t discuss and don’t talk about it, I don’t think real change will happen.”
Gillette said it will donate $1 million annually over the next three years to nonprofits, the first of which will be The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.