Proctor and Gamble owned brand Gillette, the premium product company offering men’s shaving ranges has been running a sexist anti-male ad campaign trying to bank on the existing misandry (social hatred against men) in the society with a view to make hay while sun shines.
Little do they realize the fact that such campaigns only dampen their social image and turn men – their real customers – off and they must refrain from designing such campaigns?
Synopsis of the ad:
- Men must take up the role of a soldier in order to respect women.
- A nation prospers only when it respects its women.
Pitfalls of the ad:
The biggest pitfall of this ad is that it incites and promotes violent social roles for men. It sends across a social message that men must discriminate against each other and hate each other and if they are doing so with a context of respecting women, then the nation shall progress.
What Proctor and Gamble and Gillette, in turn, fail to realize is that no nation can ever progress by promoting violence or violent roles or by encouraging hatred even if it’s under the cute name of respecting a gender.
It also needs to be kept in mind that respect at the cost of violence and hatred is not real respect but a myth. Respect is always commanded and never demanded, which also means that respect is earned.
When Gillette ad says that “Respect Women”, it is demanding unconditional respect for women, which includes criminal, abusive and greedy women.
Forcing men to respect such women is a social crime, extremely sexist in nature and it is a matter of big shame that a company of the stature of Proctor and Gamble is promoting such a campaign as a cheap and dirty marketing gimmick.
Promoting male suicides:
Male suicides, is a very big universal problem. Across countries, the phenomenon is consistent – men commit suicides times greater than women. In India, every year, double the number of married men commit suicides compared to married women.
Some interesting trends about gender suicides in India:
These suicide trends clearly indicate at the larger social problem. This is compounded by the fact that, as per annual analysis of suicides in India done by the National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, domestic violence is the number one reason for suicides. It contributes to almost 30% of suicides and is the single largest contributing factor, as Domestic Violence claims 170 thousand husbands.
Now, Gillette, in its ad is asking for unconditional respect for women irrespective of the nature of the woman and not only that, it is calling upon men to be protectors of women.
So, if a man is being abused by his wife, he has to still act as her protector and respect her?
Such promotion of socially harmful messages can set very wrong social precedence and this can either result in men committing more suicides (due to helplessness and hopelessness) or resorting to crime.
Both the consequences are equally dangerous and as such this ad is a classic case study of a very poor implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Bad marketing design:
Gillette primarily engages in selling men’s shaving range of products and by coming up with such ad campaigns which use divisive and partisan stands amongst their very own clients reflects a poor marketing strategy.
By vilifying their own customers, Gillette and their parent company, Proctor and Gamble has earned the wrath of men’s rights groups, who have not only decided to boycott Gillette products but have also decided to spread the message.
Lesson not learned:
It’s disheartening to see that Gillette didn’t learn its lessons from the mistakes committed in 2009. In 2009, they came up with a similar ad campaign wherein they called men who can’t shave as “lazy men” and encouraged women to shun such men.
Following protests launched by men’s rights groups, Gillette was forced to withdraw that campaign.
An ad campaign that is designed to incite discrimination, hatred and gender bias is condemned at the best and having the potation to promote male suicides be withdrawn immediately.