Tuesday, January 15

Gillette - The Best a Man Can Get

A tagline can be a powerful part of a brand's communication, letting its consumers know what it offers emotionally. And when a tagline stands the test of time, then you can tell that it must be pretty powerful.

Nike, "Just Do It." L'Oreal, You're Worth It." BMW, "The Ultimate Driving Machine."

Gillette, "The Best a Man Can Get."

Gillette's brand tagline has stood the test of time; I mean it's been around for as long as I can remember (and that's a long time!). 30 years to be exact! It's a powerful statement of excellence and achievement. It's the best a man can get. It's about all of us being the best we can be ... as professionals, family members, and friends.

But truth be told, a tagline shouldn't be a museum piece. A tagline shouldn't merely stand still in the test of time, because it must evolve and grow as the brand's consumers evolve and grow and as our collective culture evolves and grows.

Look at what Nike has done with "Just Do It!"

Well now the Gillette brand is turning its tagline on its heals, evolving and growing and giving it some consciousness. The brand is asking us to be "the best we can get" with a short film that addresses the #MeTooMovement, bullying, role models, and many societal issues that have recently come to the forefront of consciousness. I'll let the film speak for itself.

I'll let you decide for yourself (as well you should) about how this makes you feel. As you can imagine, the social response has been mixed. Not everyone agrees with the messaging and many feel like this is not a brand's place to make these kinds of statements. Many others have embraced it for its purpose. It's hitting the media circuit now.

I for one think it's brave for a brand to take a stand, and I for one believe that a brand should be conscious of its surroundings and should be conscious of popular sentiment. Once conscious, the brand can then decide whether or not to participate in that discussion/sentiment. Clearly, Gillette has decided to participate with "is this the best we can get?" And I'm sure the folks there knew there would be differing opinions yet still decided to take a stand. That's brand consciousness and bravery.

As part of the campaign, Gillette is also giving back with donations to organizations that are “designed to inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal 'best' and become role models for the next generation.” Check out TheBestMenCanBe.org.

The Best a Man Can Get --- The Best a Man Can Be.

I welcome the conversation coming from a brand, or from anyone for that matter. As a professional, family member, and friend, I also strive to be better. And as a father, by the way. I also believe that we should all be (positive) role models for the generations to come! Including the generation we are raising right now.

What's your experience? JIM.

PS - A bit of an update: after just three days, the film has reached over 16 million views on YouTube, has been the #1 trending video on Twitter, has hit almost every media outlet (US), and I'm told that several schools have been showing it in class. 


  1. Jim you are right that Brands need to decide if they want to engage on certain issues. I really don't think many (any) men would argue with the fact that it's good to remind ourselves that we need to be the best role models we can be for the next generation, on a daily basis.
    That said I think Gillette totally missed the mark, and in doing so I believe have significantly damaged their brand equity with their core following.
    First we should consider where Gillette comes from in terms of its brand position - it is a strong, masculine (and I mean that in a good way) brand. All its advertising reflects this. The tag line - The Best a Man can Get reflects a desire to deliver what men need from a shaving system. So the brand (up until this ad) is firmly aligned and supportive of men, and the fact that the product is part of many mens' daily rituals, makes it even closer to them.
    And this is the problem in my view with the ad. Not the message, but the clumsy, stereotyped and insulting way it is conveyed.
    I think the strong reaction we see on to this is not a reaction against the message, but a real feeling of betrayal by the brand. We know from experience (New Coke etc) that brands betray their core consumers at their own peril. I think we have just experienced such a moment.

  2. Thanks for the good, logical thinking! JIM