Facing a declining market share, extensive competition from new entrants offering subscription and an overall threat to their position as market giant, razor company Gillette was looking to make a change, to make a statement. In 2019, they did just that.

Gillette was founded in the 1900s by King Camp Gillette and it heavily disrupted the men’s grooming industry offering a cheap solution to men’s grooming needs with patented disposable razor blades. Since its advent Gillette has heralded itself as a masculine brand, as seen in its advertising which often centres around life as seen through the male gaze.

The Best Men Can Be Campaign

Looking to make a change and take part in wider conversations about toxic masculinity and its repercussions, Gillette embarked on a corporate social responsibility initiative thoughtfully titled “The Best Men Can Be.” On 24th February 2019, they released an ad film titled We Believe. In the film Gillette demonstrates instances of toxic masculinity, with a call to action asking men to hold each other accountable. The ad rounds off by breathing new life into their classic slogan “the best a man be,” instead pushing for “the best men can be”​.


The ad was powerful, so powerful it evoked strong emotions both positive and negative. It stoked quite the debate. People either loved it and lauded it for being progressive or hated it and pledged to boycott the brand going forward. The video posted on Gillette’s YouTube channel received an overwhelming negative response, with the video having more dislikes than likes. The social media reaction can be summarised as being overwhelmingly negative. The overall reception of the campaign from the public was, however, positive.


In the MeToo era and a time of great social awakening, you would wonder why this case is under marketing fails. This case serves as something for you to think about, Gillette while led by an admirable desire to participate in social conversations (and did so tastefully) faced great backlash from some of its core consumer base. The company was accused of straying from their brand image and being influenced by leftist beliefs. The question we pose is what defines a successful marketing campaign?


Amrich, M. (2019, January). 3 Takeaways from Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be’ Video. Retrieved from Triple Pundit’s Article.

Baseio, A., & Sahagian, V. (2019). “The Best a Man Can Be”: Gillette and toxic masculinity. Retrieved from Gender and the Economy’s Article.

Ceron, E. (2019, January 15). MRAs Outraged After Razor Company Asks Men to Show Common Decency. Retrieved from The Cut’s Article.