Are Brands Becoming the Superheroes We Didn't Know Society Needed?

Alright folks, I’m sure by now, we’ve all have seen Gillette’s newest viral commercial titled “We Believe” launched on January 14th, 2019 with its tagline “The Best A Man Can Get” which references bullying, the #metoo movement and toxic masculinity.

My initial reaction to watching this inspirational, emotive and heartwarming ad was "finally, a brand doing things right…” clicked ‘share’ on Facebook and done. I felt mildly satisfied for my doing something about my non-existent, “social activism”, went to bed and disconnected from the world.

Then today, I woke up to an overwhelming amount of split reactions and opinions online towards the commercial’s message. Many upset and frustrated consumers are calling to boycott a brand who dares to speak — what others haven’t yet— about men’s accountability and new higher standards men should aspire to become going further.

Brands as Social Catalyst for the Future

According to Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette's North America brand director in his CNN Business interview today, he hopes men who watch the video will be inspired to act like role models and show younger children how to stand up to bad behavior and treat other people with respect.

The ad’s message: "We can't hide from it. It’s been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off, making the same old excuses." Then, in a direct reference to the #metoo movement, it says "Something has finally changed." It closes with scenes of men breaking up fights, standing up for people, and being attentive fathers.

We expected debate. Actually a discussion is necessary. If we don’t discuss and don’t talk about it, I don’t think real change will happen.
— Pankaj Bhalla

As most of us know, Procter & Gamble, also known as PG which owns Gillette, has made progressive advertising before. The company has won accolades for advertisements such as its Always "Like a Girl" campaign and Pantene's "Strong is Beautiful" campaign that shows NFL players braiding their daughter's hair.

Before launching this Gillette's team consulted men across the country, conducted its own studies, and spoke to experts on masculinity, according to the company.

Moving forward…

What can we expect from brands in the following years? Should we as advertisers encourage clients to take a stand on social issues? or should we simply avoid controversy by staying as neutral or impartial as we possibly can?

I believe we’re living in an era of social change and collective consciousness which is why we need to become today the heroes we needed as kids. We have to protect younger generations from our previous generations’ mistakes, even if it’s with just one ‘share’ at the time.