News. Gillette says it is “shifting the spotlight from social issues” after an ad about “toxic masculinity” caused a customer backlash.
Razor brand Gillette says it is “shifting the spotlight from social issues to local heroes” after an ad delving into “toxic masculinity” caused a customer backlash.
The new ad, which launched last week, stars Australian firefighter and personal trainer Ben Ziekenheiner. “I’ve been a firefighter for 19 years,” Mr Ziekenheiner says in the ad.
“People sometimes ask if it’s scary. It can be, but like anyone who has a job to do, you prepare — not just in terms of your equipment but also mentally and physically.”
The ad spruiks the brand’s SkinGuard range, highlighting the issue of sensitive skin for men who shave every day — including firefighters, who are required to be clean-shaven as it enables a proper seal for their breathing mask.
Parent company P&G last month took a nearly $12 billion ($US8 billion) writedown in the value of the 118-year-old shaving business it purchased in 2005 for $84 billion ($US57 billion).
Conservative critics were quick to connect the writedown to the brand’s recent push into progressive social issues, which rival Schick has pointedly mocked with a series of lighthearted ads taglined “The Man I Am”.