Gillette: The Best a Questioning, Cishet, Non-Binary Ally Can Get

 

Gillette has had a rough few years. The former shaving hegemon has seen its market share plummet due to a resurgence in classic “wet shaving,” online razor subscription services, and the popularity of beards. Gillette’s obvious options are to lower their artificially high price or drastically improve their quality. Instead, they’ve decided to make their remaining customers feel bad about themselves through an expensive new ad campaign.

“You’re a very bad person, give us money” is an odd marketing pitch, especially from a company that’s used sex to sell its product for decades. (Every time I shave, I’m disappointed no scantily-clad supermodel steps up behind me to rub my smooth face.) The Wall Street Journal attempts to explain Gillette’s campaign:

The ad puts a new spin on the brand’s 30-year tagline, “The Best A Man Can Get,” challenging men to take positive actions, such as stopping other men, and the next generation, from harassing women.

“This is an important conversation happening, and as a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address it and take action of our own,” said Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette brand director for North America in an emailed statement. “We are taking a realistic look at what’s happening today, and aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ is not an excuse. We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and hope all the men we serve will come along on that journey to find our ‘best’ together.”

“It’s a risky move,” said Dean Crutchfield, CEO of branding firm Crutchfield + Partners. On one hand, it “creates a credible, believable, and upfront conversation that takes brutal honesty and tough decisions,” he said.

Customers don’t want brutal honesty and tough decisions, especially when they already get those every hour of the day. Gillette’s target market wants a smooth face for a low price.

Of course, Gillette refuses to provide that; it would destroy its business model. A century ago, King Gillette revolutionized marketing by offering a dirt-cheap (or free) razor handle. He then sold replacement razors at a high markup, locking consumers into a lifetime of expensive refills. Many imitators followed his model, something you notice every time you replace ink cartridges in your printer.

By the 2000s, Gillette was offering 38 blades with lawn-trimmer attachment for about $20 a month; men had enough. Some guys (like me), bought shaving brushes and simple safety razors that provided a better shave for pennies a blade.

A few years later, Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s offered multi-blade razors online which performed better than Gillette at a fraction of the price. The shaving giant attempted a club of their own, but it was an overpriced scam like the rest of their product line. Watching their market share continue to decline, Gillette has now declared war on its customer base. Back to WSJ:

Gillette parent Procter & Gamble Co. is among companies that in recent years have used advertising as a platform to promote their stance on social issues such as gender equality, and polarizing political topics such as immigration and gun control. P&G is perhaps best known for its lauded “Like a Girl” ad campaign for feminine-care brand Always and “Stress test” for deodorant brand Secret.

Promoting social issues can be effective marketing, but notice the difference. P&G’s female-directed ads make women feel better about themselves. The company tells women “you’re great just as you are” and tells men “you’re bad and need to change.” I’ve yet to complete my Marketing Ph.D., but I don’t think a message of “Women are revolting, buy Secret” would spike profits.

What do you think about Woke Gillette? Will it change your buying decisions?

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 121 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  1. Coolidge

    Share holders should be suing for this. This needless intrusion into stupid politics has nothing to do with selling razors.

    I’ve been using their blades all my adult life. I guess I have a moral imperative to stop now. 

    The problem with scams like “Harry” razors is that you have to buy on their schedule. It’s like the record buying club. I don’t like that. I’d like to just buy when I want to buy and not be beholden to their stupid schedule.

    Sigh, nothing good lasts.

    • #1
    • January 14, 2019 at 3:59 pm
    • 6 likes
  2. Member

    One more reason why I was right to ditch Gillette

    • #2
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:06 pm
    • 3 likes
  3. Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Share holders should be suing for this. This needless intrusion into stupid politics has nothing to do with selling razors.

    I’ve been using their blades all my adult life. I guess I have a moral imperative to stop now.

    The problem with scams like “Harry” razors is that you have to buy on their schedule. It’s like the record buying club. I don’t like that. I’d like to just buy when I want to buy and not be beholden to their stupid schedule.

    Sigh, nothing good lasts.

    Actually you can buy Harry’s at Target now. Also, you can do what I do with Harry’s… get blades delivered for half a year and then simply stop the shipments until I use up the blades. It really isn’t hard and I have been using them since 2014 or 2015.

    • #3
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:09 pm
    • 10 likes
  4. Coolidge

    Marley's Ghost (View Comment):
    Actually you can buy Harry’s at Target now. Also, you can do what I do with Harry’s… get blades delivered for half a year and then simply stop the shipments until I use up the blades. It really isn’t hard and I have been using them since 2014 or 2015.

    Good idea.

    • #4
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:11 pm
    • 1 like
  5. Member

    I’m a Barbasol man I get to keep my masculinity for a mere 99 cents a can. And now they’re making razors. Good by Gillette.

    • #5
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:13 pm
    • 11 likes
  6. Thatcher

    Jon,

    Every man in the country should take the blade out of their shaver and along with the remaining blades still in the package, chuck them in the garbage right now. Never ever buy another Gillette product again and make sure to lecture any man you catch with any Gillette brand product.

    When their already weak sales collapse and flatline they will get the message. They made a mistake.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #6
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:20 pm
    • 7 likes
  7. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Jon,

    Every man in the country should take the blade out of their shaver and along with the remaining blades still in the package, chuck them in the garbage right now. Never ever buy another Gillette product again and make sure to lecture any man you catch with any Gillette brand product.

    When their already weak sales collapse and flatline they will get the message. They made a mistake.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Or maybe mail the blades and handles and whatnot to Gillette. More fun.

    • #7
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:32 pm
    • 9 likes
  8. Coolidge

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Share holders should be suing for this. This needless intrusion into stupid politics has nothing to do with selling razors.

    I’ve been using their blades all my adult life. I guess I have a moral imperative to stop now.

    The problem with scams like “Harry” razors is that you have to buy on their schedule. It’s like the record buying club. I don’t like that. I’d like to just buy when I want to buy and not be beholden to their stupid schedule.

    Sigh, nothing good lasts.

    You can tailor your schedule for the blades. Shut off shipments for a while, etc. Love their blades.

    • #8
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:38 pm
    • 5 likes
  9. Coolidge

    Dear Gillette,

    Jam it.

     

    Sincerely,

    The Market

    • #9
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:39 pm
    • 4 likes
  10. Thatcher

    I’ll stick with Harry’s.

    • #10
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:40 pm
    • 3 likes
  11. Lincoln

    Gillette got burned in the early 1960s over their overpriced Blue Blades, which opened the door for companies like Wilkinson, Shick and Personna to come in and take market share with their lower priced — and in some cases, better quality — blades. That in part was what Gillette’s pushing the multi-blade razors in the 1970s was about; the two blade (and later three and four blade) razors did cut closer, but they also came with unique razor handles and blade locking mechanisms, the better to keep out competitors who just had to make a standard blade to fit the old single-edge razors.

    As for the ad campaign, this seems like the stupidest effort targeted toward men since the Buy Schlitz Or I’ll Kill YouYou’re Going to Take My Gusto Away?” ad campaign back in 1977 which was one of the factors in killing off Schlitz as a major national brand (doing it at the same time they were cheapening the formula was the other). This being the 21st Century, Gillette isn’t trying to directly intimidate people into buying their razors the way Schlitz did with their ads; instead they’re attempting to virtue signal and shame people into buying their razors, with a hint of intimidation in the overall message that people who don’t use Gillette razors and blades probably suffer from toxic masculinity.

    They probably won’t see their sales crater as much as Schlitz did. But even if they lose some of their sales to online retailers or other companies (you can get knock-off blades from places like Walmart for Gillette’s most popular razors), there’s a good chance they won’t get them back for a long time.

    • #11
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:44 pm
    • 3 likes
  12. Thatcher

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: What do you think about Woke Gillette? Will it change your buying decisions?

    Nope. I’m not currently one of their customers. This won’t change that.

    • #12
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:49 pm
    • 3 likes
  13. Member

    Marley's Ghost (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Share holders should be suing for this. This needless intrusion into stupid politics has nothing to do with selling razors.

    I’ve been using their blades all my adult life. I guess I have a moral imperative to stop now.

    The problem with scams like “Harry” razors is that you have to buy on their schedule. It’s like the record buying club. I don’t like that. I’d like to just buy when I want to buy and not be beholden to their stupid schedule.

    Sigh, nothing good lasts.

    Actually you can buy Harry’s at Target now. Also, you can do what I do with Harry’s… get blades delivered for half a year and then simply stop the shipments until I use up the blades. It really isn’t hard and I have been using them since 2014 or 2015.

    I’ve been a Harry’s fan for about the same amount of time (they sponsored a podcast here, first I heard of them) and as a guy that shaves his face and head I have never looked back. They also make shaving cream, aftershave, and body wash. I’ve used all three and the only one I wouldn’t give two thumbs up is the shaving cream, it works just fine but the smell is a little odd to me.

    • #13
    • January 14, 2019 at 4:52 pm
    • 1 like
  14. Coolidge

    Might be known in later times as the moment of peak woke. Maybe they’ll also start to promote a line of men’s mascara.

    • #14
    • January 14, 2019 at 5:21 pm
    • 4 likes
  15. Lincoln

    Long time listener, first time caller. (Hello, Chief.)

    Full disclosure: marketing degree, Santa Clara University ’91. Want to say this baffles me, but so many are trying so hard to fulfill the manifest destiny of intersectional politics, am not surprised by much these days.

    You’re bad and need to change?” Am reminded of an international marketing course where the French-born professor said of La Petit Boulanger, “French bakers, on their worst day, drunk, could not make bread that bad.”

    If you are consciously making a decision to alienate half of whomever comes in contact with your product, while beseeching, “Please buy this,” you get what you get.

    (I’m out.)

    • #15
    • January 14, 2019 at 5:33 pm
    • 16 likes
  16. Thatcher

    My first reaction was this must be a parody. P&G is really serious about this as an ad campaign?

    I particularly like the mysterious line, “but something finally changed”. We should never tire of reminding people that the something was Donald Trump. If Hillary had been elected the Harvey Weinstein story, which broke this all into the open, never would have happened, as the Weinstein story would have continued to be suppressed. You couldn’t have it come out with Weinstein a long time public cheerleader, friend, and donor to the Clintons, with Bill as the First Hubby, and Hillary, who for decades took a flamethrower to the reputation of any women who posed a risk to the reputation of her husband, as our president.

    • #16
    • January 14, 2019 at 5:41 pm
    • 14 likes
  17. Reagan

    The only thing I disagree with in your post is that Harry’s or Dollar have come up with a better razor. I’ve used the Mach 3 happily for a long time but I tried those shave club razors. Both cost and a desire to support Ricochet when they were being advertised induced me. Sliced my face to ribbons. I went back to Gillette. Preachy woke marketing dung like this is annoying, but you might be able to get away with it if your product makes an uncomfortable daily duty painless better than your competitors by a country mile. I’m sticking with Mach 3 until I find something that will get the whiskers off my face as painlessly – no matter how much sanctimony I have to wade through.

    • #17
    • January 14, 2019 at 6:02 pm
    • 3 likes
  18. Member

    It’s yet another brand I cannot boycott because I never buy their product anyways. All of Proctor & Gamble’s products are overpriced commodities that are substantively identical to less expensive generic products. 

    • #18
    • January 14, 2019 at 6:23 pm
    • 7 likes
  19. Member

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    The only thing I disagree with in your post is that Harry’s or Dollar have come up with a better razor. I’ve used the Mach 3 happily for a long time but I tried those shave club razors. Both cost and a desire to support Ricochet when they were being advertised induced me. Sliced my face to ribbons. I went back to Gillette. Preachy woke marketing dung like this is annoying, but you might be able to get away with it if your product makes an uncomfortable daily duty painless better than your competitors by a country mile. I’m sticking with Mach 3 until I find something that will get the whiskers off my face as painlessly – no matter how much sanctimony I have to wade through.

    I have no problem with the generic store-brand blades that are designed to be compatible with Gillette’s handle.

    • #19
    • January 14, 2019 at 6:27 pm
    • 2 likes
  20. Member

    I started using Harry’s after hearing the pitch on the Ricochet podcast – It really is a good blade at a great value. I’m largely indifferent to ad campaigns, but if I were using Gillette razors I’d not find my brand loyalty increased a whit by this.

    • #20
    • January 14, 2019 at 6:28 pm
    • 3 likes
  21. Coolidge

    I agree with @catorand that Gillette’s Mach 3 is the best razor on the market. Nimble, durable, and well-made – good for large areas and difficult, small ones. I too tried Harry’s in an effort to support Ricochet, but I found their razor overlarge, difficult to get close enough to the bottom of my nose, and far more likely to cut. I went back to the Mach 3. The trick with them is, dry them off after each use and they will last a long, long time before you have to change them out. Generally speaking, I don’t do boycotts, and as long as a company is producing a superior product, I will continue to buy. 

    • #21
    • January 14, 2019 at 6:30 pm
    • 3 likes
  22. Member

    I think this ad is management malpractice. I don’t understand how it got through the Gillette C suite. Responsible businesses don’t insult their customers. 

    • #22
    • January 14, 2019 at 6:32 pm
    • 4 likes
  23. Coolidge

    But to provide a counter to the OP and the prevailing comments, I wasn’t offended by the commercial. In fact, I found it rather inspiring. Nowhere were men or masculinity degraded – it’s actually presenting a fairly retrograde idea: chivalry. Channel your violence into protecting the weak and standing up for others. Be a man – the type of man who will stand up to other men who are acting like dogs. I can dig it. 

    • #23
    • January 14, 2019 at 6:34 pm
    • 4 likes
  24. Coolidge

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    It’s yet another brand I cannot boycott because I never buy their product anyways. All of Proctor & Gamble’s products are overpriced commodities that are substantively identical to less expensive generic products.

    So, you’re saying you don’t support soap operas ?

    • #24
    • January 14, 2019 at 6:34 pm
    • 7 likes
  25. Member

    Their blades are fine, but their marketing is embarrassing. Pandering to who? Gone from my consumer purchase list

     

     

    • #25
    • January 14, 2019 at 7:07 pm
    • 3 likes
  26. Coolidge

    Drusus (View Comment):
    I agree with @catorand that Gillette’s Mach 3 is the best razor on the market. Nimble, durable, and well-made – good for large areas and difficult, small ones.

    I dunno. I don’t think one brand or method is going to be much better than another. Harry’s has a lot of hype and people like to believe their decision to buy a different product reflects their wisdom in buying something “better.” I’ve never used their blades, although it’s my observation that a razor can be pretty bad, but it can only get but so good.

    I like the mach 3 because I succumbed to their marketing campaign back in the 80’s or 90’s, whenever they came out. I’m now used to it and I’m the sort that doesn’t like to change things. I’m not normally going to change because of a boycott, but this one really irks me. I can’t help but want to stop giving them money.

    • #26
    • January 14, 2019 at 7:08 pm
    • 3 likes
  27. Member

    Drusus (View Comment):

    The trick with them is, dry them off after each use and they will last a long, long time before you have to change them out.

    Or do what I did and pick up some Barbicide and the glass jar to put it in and set yourself up a nostalgic little barber corner. A 10 minute soak, followed by a rinse and drying helps razors last quite a while. Ok, a quick spritz of alcohol is probably just as effective, but who can resist that jar?

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: The former shaving hegemon has seen its market share plummet due to a resurgence in classic “wet shaving,”

    A few years ago I bought a whole wet shaving setup to try out the shaving experience my father took for granted. But, I never got up the nerve to learn the technique. Today, after seeing the Gillette ad on Twitter I immediately went scrounging in the basement to find it. I’m willing to bleed for the cause! 

     

    • #27
    • January 14, 2019 at 8:01 pm
    • 5 likes
  28. Coolidge

    Nice to see TYT prominantly featured. Instant turnoff.

    I’m an evil, bearded, toxic caveman so this has no effect on me. Boys will be boys!

    • #28
    • January 14, 2019 at 8:01 pm
    • 6 likes
  29. Member

    Marley's Ghost (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Share holders should be suing for this. This needless intrusion into stupid politics has nothing to do with selling razors.

    I’ve been using their blades all my adult life. I guess I have a moral imperative to stop now.

    The problem with scams like “Harry” razors is that you have to buy on their schedule. It’s like the record buying club. I don’t like that. I’d like to just buy when I want to buy and not be beholden to their stupid schedule.

    Sigh, nothing good lasts.

    Actually you can buy Harry’s at Target now. Also, you can do what I do with Harry’s… get blades delivered for half a year and then simply stop the shipments until I use up the blades. It really isn’t hard and I have been using them since 2014 or 2015.

     

    I buy three months’ of razor blades once a year from Harry’s, at best. I shave, maybe, once a week.

    ‘Course, I work from home, so I only shave when I care.

    • #29
    • January 14, 2019 at 8:30 pm
    • 2 likes
  30. Member

    Randal H (View Comment):
    A few years ago I bought a whole wet shaving setup to try out the shaving experience my father took for granted. But, I never got up the nerve to learn the technique. Today, after seeing the Gillette ad on Twitter I immediately went scrounging in the basement to find it. I’m willing to bleed for the cause! 

    Don’t waste your time. The art of shaving is not a thing. If you can’t afford a $30 barber shave (treat yourself just one time and your life will be better for it) buy a modern razor and some shaving cream or gel. The whole idea of men shaving with methods from the 1920s or earlier (yes one of my friends spent hundreds of dollars having a set of cutthroat razors reconditioned) makes a daily duty into a hobby. If that’s what floats your boat, great. But please no more paeans to the old ways. I learned how to shave with a safety razor and abandoned that the first time I saw a sliding cartridge razor, the Gillette Techmatic. I’ve never looked back.

     

    • #30
    • January 14, 2019 at 8:58 pm
    • 4 likes
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5