Leap #1

The piece of contemporary propaganda I chose from the Mind over Media website was the advertisement for Gillette. It is titled “We Believe: the best men can be.” This one minute and forty-eight second ad was authored and created by Kim Gehrig for Gillette, which is a men’s razor and shaving company. It is one of the largest men’s shaving companies in the world. When this commercial originally aired on January 14th it made waves around social media and gained national attention. To summarize this advertisement it is based on three major points that the list out in the very beginning of the ad. Which are bullying, the me too movement, and toxic masculinity. And then the saying “is this the best a man can get.” From bullying to the “me too” movement and the common saying “boys will be boys” it includes all of those aspects and basically challenges men to be better. This advertisement was extremely controversial when it first aired. Mainly because men felt attacked and generalized as well as stereotyped. But, also some women didn’t like it because they didn’t want a large corporation to use the “me too” movement as a way to sell their products. But, on the other hand many people thought this advertisement was very powerful and impactful and created a great voice from a major corporation that men need to be better and need to act better. This advertisement definitely uses the piece of propaganda known as “activate emotions”. Like in the reading we were assigned titled “Authorship and origins of the seven propaganda devices: A research note” by J Michael Sproule emotions are one of the major weapons in propaganda and this advertisement definitely uses that weapon to produce a powerful message and to create a national conversation about their brand. The purpose of this piece of propaganda was to challenge young men and fathers and overall men in general to be better. Not only to women but to one another. Wether that be fighting or bullying. They use emotions to show a young buy getting bullied in the very beginning of this advertisement. I would also argue that Gillette’s main purpose of this advertisement was to create national recognition of this brand and to drive sales since they knew it was going to be controversial. The target audience for the propaganda is definitely men. They are being targeted in order to be better and it is really men of all ages they are targeting because they show young boys and fathers and men of all ages. And although it is men that they are targeting the entire audience is actually huge because it gained national attention and they definitely expected that. Some production techniques that are used is obviously video since it is a commercial , but also common sayings and stereotypes. They use the saying “boys will be boys” and they have men grilling watching young boys fighting. The major persuasive strategy being used is emotions in propaganda, which I have mentioned earlier. The point of view that is represented is coming from people who think men need to change and be better. Gillette is taking the side of the me too movement and toxic masculinity as a serious issue. This caused a firestorm in the media because many men felt it was unfair to be generalized like that. That leads to how different people with different values will interpret the message differently. If you believe toxic masculinity is a very serious issue then you would probably side with Gillette and agree with this commercial. But, if you are a man who feels attacked than you are probably very angry about this commercial and are feeling stereotyped and generalized. Especially because something that is omitted is what good men do. They don’t give men any credit throughout the advertisement for any good doing and they are quite frankly attacking males. That being said, the issue of bullying is obviously very serious and people who have been bullied might see this piece of propaganda as very beneficial. Whereas, fathers or people who have said “boys will be boys” may see this as harmful, because it is going against their personal values. In conclusion, Gillette got exactly what they wanted from this propaganda / advertisement. Which is, a firestorm and national notoriety from a controversial advertisement.


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