Is this the best a man can get?
This piece of propaganda was posted to youtube on 1/13/19 by the company Gillette who are a male grooming company most popularly know for their razors. The advertisement was viewed over 29 million times and has already become very controversial. The target audience for this piece of propaganda is males who are anywhere from teenagers to elderly adults. The purpose of this piece of propaganda was to illicit an emotional response from the viewer as the ad itself hits on many major and controversial topics in todays society such as the #metoo movement, bullying, cyberbullying, as well as gender stereotypes and toxic masculinity.These points are brought up to cause thought by the viewer and create a inner dialogue about what is going on. This is a good use of propaganda as shown by an example from Edward Bernays Propaganda"Propaganda is of no use to the politician unless he has something to say which the public, consciously or unconsciously, wants to hear."( chapter 6 p.123) This shows that if the public doesn't want to here about or doesn't think these causes are important than the propaganda is not going to be successful in creating a discussion among the public. Some production techniques used to get the attention or to keep the viewer engaged is dramatic music in the background as well as slow motion and also zooming in, also the use of short video clips to keep the audience intrigued. In the video at the beginning you see men letting these acts go by saying "boys will be boys" as well as cutting off a women in a meeting and saying "This is what I think she is trying to say."What is being pushed onto the viewer is that in todays society we are not setting a good example for our kids and younger siblings and that we need to be better role models for them. All of this is happening while the narrator says that "we believe in the best in men." while cutting to a video of terry crews who is a popular actor saying "Men need to hold other men accountable."Gillette does a great job of using emotion to get the viewer to feel like a change needs to be made while resonating with how . One way that the emotion aspect of this is shown in this piece of propaganda is at 0:33 most of the dads say boys will be boys at 1:17 one dad breaks up the fight and says "Thats not how we treat each other."Another part of the propaganda emotion piece show a father stepping in and getting a bunch of bullies of a kid while his adolescent son watches and the narrator says "Some is not enough because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow."This is being used to cause the viewer to pick a side on wether they like what they are trying to say or dislike and create a argument or attention to the ad. This is a great job of getting the viewers to talk about your company and the topic you want to bring up but does Gillette actually practice what they preach?
Gillette says in the video "Some men already are" They are implying to the audience that they believe that only some men are setting a good example and that they need more than just some to make the world a better place but if you look at Gillette and their past advertisements they themselves are not the best role models so why are they suddenly telling men to go look at yourself in the mirror and be a better role model for young people if they themselves are not? This question is answered simply, because they want you to think they are, and they are trying to persuade everyone they are a company that should be looked at as an example. This is similar to what we read in class by Bernays chapter 11 where he writes "Large groups, political, racial, sectarian, economic or professional, are tending to control stations to propagandize their points of view"(Bernays 155) This really shows what Gillette is doing as they are taking what is in the news today and putting it right into their own piece to gain attention. While Gillette says that they believe in the best a man can get they contradict them selves from previous advertisements as shown in the following quote from Will Burns who writes for Forbes where he states "You know the feeling. Every guy's had it. You're unbeatable, unstoppable, you've got that walking on water feeling. You look, they smile. And just as we hear the VO say "they smile" we see a beautiful woman smile at a man's rather aggressive, shadowy, even sinister gaze. And that's just one ad, there were hundreds over the years that effectively said, shave with Gillette, get the girl."Burns later goes on to state that Gillette would have been better off to look inward at there own commercials instead of outward. An example of these previous ads is the following image
The caption on this advertisement is the exact opposite message that Gillette was trying to push across in the video which was that everyone deserves to be equal and receive the same treatment but this ad is saying that they are not equal. This falls into the idea that only some men are being good role models and the people at Gillette are not some of these men.The video does a good job of limiting your thought on this though as it causes you to feel responsible even though your being fed bits and pieces of what the company actually stands for. This strategy is very similar described in a text from class Propaganda and Persuasion "Propaganda is associated with the control of information flow. Those who control public opinion and behavior make maximum and intelligent use of the forms of communication available to them. Certain information will be released in sequence or together with other information. This is a way of distorting information because it may set up a false association."(Jowett 278) By distorting the information of what their ads had looked like previously Gillette seems to look like the good guys as they are raising awareness for social movements but it also set them up to be exposed and dissected as hypocrites. As Gillette by omitting about their past ads such as the one pictured above create a better look for themselves as being a company who is about social justice as long as their past ads are unknown by the audience. By doing this Gillette is gaslighting audience members which is described by Caroline Jack in Lexicon of Lies as being "used to describe situations in which a person orchestrates deceptions and inaccurately narrates events to the extent that their victim stops trusting their own judgments and perceptions." This can cause for those who are tricked into believing this to buy their razors while others who figure out the brand itself has been deceiving them could stop buying the brand while also protest the brand itself.
Personally, I when I first watched this piece I felt as though I needed to be better as a role model to kids who may look and see me doing something wrong and then think that it's ok and I thought that it was weird that Gillette was the company to put out this video because what do razors or shaving have to do with domestic abuse but now that I see the way their previous campaigns were used I feel as though the are hypocritical as they themselves are not the best role models for how the male population should think or strive to be. Overall the general reception of the propaganda didd fo its job as it caused the viewer to choose a side which in turn created a argument between the sides and a emotionally fueled response to the video. Although , Gillette also received backlash as they did fail to address previous ways they themselves were setting a poor example for the youth. This piece did its job as it created an argument and split up its viewers so this is a good piece of propaganda.
Bernays, Edward. Propaganda (p. 123). Ig Publishing. Kindle Edition.