The Best A Man Can Get

Do you look to television commercials to inform your masculinity? Or is this just the razor blade version of woke marketing, that women do the shopping and will buy the brand that appeals to their sensibilities?

During the 2017 Superbowl, Audi played the feminist card, and it failed miserably. It’s not just that it’s a tough market to play, there invariably being something to criticize as irrational ideologies tend to be in a constant state of conflict, there never being a “right” answer and always being something to offend someone about.

Does this make you feel ashamed of your “toxic masculinity,” because of your irresistable impulse to grab women’s butts, whether callipygian or otherwise? Did you join in wolfpacks to attack younger boys? Not that these things don’t happen, but are these what every guy is doing? Most guys? Or is this some sort of social justice fantasy of evil men who don’t want facial hair?

Does Gillette move you to be a “better man,” or move you to buy their blades for your significant other? The Gillette tagline was a great one, but is it a good one in this commercial?

102 thoughts on “The Best A Man Can Get

  1. wilbur

    Wilbur has found when it comes to razors (or shaving cream), the cheap disposable ones work as well and last as long as any other.

    Just this morning a friend asked me if this commercial was aimed at the under-30 market segment. I said it probably was, but how many males do you see between 18-30 who are clean shaven?

    1. SHG Post author

      Since I grow a winter beard, my need for razors is limited during the colder months. During the warmer months, I just don’t care as much as I did when I was a young lawyer trying to look spiffy.

    1. Mike P.

      Big, mean football jock, the very definition of toxic masculinity. And how he deals with a pesky kid.
      Striking.
      Especially given it’s age.

    2. Casual Lurker

      I’ve been damaged by pop culture. Whenever I see a ‘Coke’ ad, in my head, I always hear Neil Young’s whiny voice singing “ain’t singing for Pepsi, ain’t singing for Coke…”, with that image of a mock Michael Jackson with his hair on fire (about 2:05 in).

      For those interested, LAWEEKLY (That’s ‘L.A. Weekly’, not ‘Law Eekly’ ;-)) has an article dated March 27, 2014, explaining some of the references those tender of years may not get.

  2. Beth

    As I was reading this my son called. He’s 24 and teaches 12th grade government. He wanted to ask if I’d seen the new Gillette ad. He showed it to his classes yesterday because he thought it was good and was something they should see. It sparked a discussion he thought was needed. No, this is not how every guy acts, but in his school he sees it daily.
    Some people may hate the ad. Some may mock it. Some won’t understand it.
    There’s a lot of stuff I don’t get. Life goes on.

    1. SHG Post author

      Is your 24-year-old son qualified to lead a discussion of appropriate masculinity to his 12th grade government class? What does he “see daily”? That he thought a discussion was needed is fine, but as a teacher, is he in the position to teach his 12th graders about what masculinity should be? Did his students parents send them to school that day to have this 24-year-old indoctrinate their children?

      1. Beth

        I think he’s more qualified than the celebrities so many of them look up to as role models. And like so many other teachers, he’s been put in the position of mentor and counselor as well as instructor. I don’t think that him pointing out to his students that they shouldn’t walk down the halls and talk about “that bitch’s fine ass” is a bad thing.
        As far as their parents go, my guess would be most wouldn’t care. He picks them up and takes them home daily from basketball practice. He feeds them before games. He answers their phone calls in the evenings when they have problems. And he helps them find resources when they get kicked out of their houses.
        Teaching compassion and common courtesy isn’t indoctrination. It’s being a decent human being.

        1. SHG Post author

          Comparing him to celebrties is a low bar. But the sort of meaningless rhetoric like “compassion and common courtesy”, and being a “decent human being,” is more troubling.

          So everyone who doesn’t see it your son’s way lacks these positive traits? He’s “compassionate” and everyone else should be jailed, beaten, banished or worse? After all, they aren’t “decent human beings” like your son. Don’t we want to rid society of these undecent human beings? Or at minimum, he’s the good guy and everyone else isn’t. I’m not sure society defines good and bad according to what your son feels.

          1. Casual Lurker

            I know you hate my longer comments. But really, there’s often no other way to adequately flesh-out some ideas and concepts, without reducing them to meaningless pabulum. The advert’s major shortcomings have already been covered, so I won’t pursue that angle.

            “Did his students parents send them to school that day to have this 24-year-old indoctrinate their children?”

            Yes and no.

            The problem, as I see it, except for the “home schooled”, is we farm-out teaching a significant portion of the necessary social skills teens will need as adults to a third party, even though we usually have no idea if that third party shares our goals and values. We allow it because it’s convenient, and most parents have to work. But schools are not adolescent daycare, and do not offer the level of supervision of, say, the now-shuttered Spofford Bridges Juvenile Detention Center.* (Which is where students would frequently end up, if school ‘Daytime Detention, Lite’ doesn’t work out).

            Whether Beth’s son is “qualified to lead a discussion of appropriate masculinity” is irrelevant. When you send your kids off to a public institution, you are, in effect, entering into one of those “click-through” contracts of adhesion, where they reserve the right to change the terms and conditions, without notice. It’s a take it or leave it deal. You pay your taxes and take your chances. If you don’t like the sausage that comes out at the end of the process, as the inmates patients around here like to say, “that’s just plain tough shit!” (I always ask if there’s a “deluxe” tough shit. But, so far, no one ever has an answer).

            That Beth’s son sees the need to fill a void (Aristotle: “Horror Vacui”), in effect, acting as partial surrogate parent, says as much about the actual parents abdicating their responsibility as it does about her son’s character.

            Fact is, at school, teens will act in abhorrent ways, doing and saying things they would never do or say anywhere even near their parents. For the most part, young, cis-het, men are pack animals. And without close supervision, especially in groups of two or more, most will behave much like packs of hyenas in the wild.

            I’ll skip the lengthy explanation of animal studies, showing that with large-brain mammals, that form complex social structures similar to our own, like elephants, the behavior of adolescents in groups, without a nearby adult authority figure, will almost always lead to bad, sometimes criminal, behavior.

            You, being the shitlord that you are, put words in Beth’s mouth, then chastise her for doing exactly what we expect mothers to do: defend their offspring. Her only error was using some short generalizations, rather than being the PITA (pain in the ass) I’m inclined to be, requiring you to lease additional server space to contain any replies.

            *Yes, it’s an arcane reference that only our host is likely to get.

            1. SHG Post author

              I do hate your long comments, this one included. Your initial premise is flawed, and everything that follows suffers from the flaw. We send children to school to learn academic subjects. Not to learn religion. Not to learn which political party is the “right” party. Not to learn what any individual teacher’s feelings are about social justice issues, white privilege or toxic masculinity. If it’s a math class, they are there to learn math. If physics, then physics.

              That’s it. That some parents are neglectful of fulfilling their duties to their children is a problem, but a different problem. Our kids should no more come home from school a Republican, Jewish or a Pinkerton. If the physics teacher sees a void in his students’ moral views of the world, he should teach physics and send a note home to the parents.

        2. Suzi

          And high school girl’s don’t comment on boys the same way, and each other far worse? That’s not masculinity. That’s high school.

          1. Beth

            His classes are co-ed, so it was addressed to both sexes. Not just to the boys. Yes, girls can just as bad. Often worse.

            1. Suzi

              That’s nice that the class is co-ed, but has nothing to do with the message in the ad, which is directed exclusively to boys.

              So the girls in his class learned that boys are bad and toxic masculinity is to blame. Well, isn’t that swell.

            2. PAV

              The commercial wasn’t, though.

              Does your son have access to similar media telling girls to deal with the toxic aspects of femininity? I’ve not encountered many commercials that do so, but I don’t watch much TV.

              That’s the only way one could even begin to have such a discussion that also involved the girls. Get some marketting that talks to both, not just the boys.

    2. DaveL

      I don’t think it’s necessarily that the message of the ad is bad, but that it’s pretty galling to be lectured on morality by the ad industry, which is pretty much built on manipulating and deceiving people with plausible deniability, for monetary gain. Imagine an ad for, say, athletic shoes depicting African Americans engaged in negative stereotypical behavior, and lecturing them on it.

      1. SHG Post author

        The message is inconsistent: there are things in there that are wrong (in the sense that they could be criminal), things that are annoying or impolite and things that may or may not be entirely normal and harmless, like kids roughhousing. Putting them together, as if they’re all of the same ilk, is malarkey.

        1. DaveL

          Of course, the Motte-and-Bailey argument. Won’t you donate to help feed orphans and crush puppies? Why, what do you have against orphans?

        2. Julia

          As for making BBQ, is it criminal, annoying or impolite?

          Some of the “good guys” were actually pretty rude. A teenage boy wants to chat with girls; the girls can be interested or not, but they can always decide for themselves. But oops, some “good guy” decides that the girls need his “protection”. You can even call it sexist.

          1. SHG Post author

            That was a lot of evil barbecue going down. I wonder why no women were cooking at a grill? Do women not grill?

            1. LocoYokel

              Not at my house. Won’t let her touch it or the smoker, takes me forever to get them right again.

  3. Hunting Guy

    Leo Durocher

    “Nice guys finish last.”

    Winston Churchill.

    “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”

  4. Beth

    Where did talk of jailing and beating and getting rid of undecent human beings come from? How is it a bad thing to try to encourage teenagers to treat each other better?

      1. Beth

        No. I’m just misunderstanding. I took your post to be questioning the efficacy of the ad. My comment was to say that some people like the message. You don’t. That’s fine.
        If nothing else, Gillette’s ad team has gotten me to mention its product more in one morning than in my whole life. They earned their pay.

      2. B. McLeod

        Obviously because of your winter beard. Had you more regularly purchased Gillette products, it never would have happened.

  5. B. McLeod

    Gillette’s products are already incredibly overpriced, possibly because they need money for their political sideline. When I want razorblades, I am not shopping for the manufacturer’s political opinions. Making and selling razorblades does not specially qualify Gillette as an advisor on political matters. This is idiocy, and I predict that it will not further their product placement.

    1. Rick Smith

      When is the last time people talked about Gillette this much? Every time it is discussed on the news or social media, it is free advertisement.

      1. B. McLeod

        So, if “all publicity” really were “good publicity,” that might help them. Otherwise, not so much.

  6. Jim Tyre

    Tuesday, February 5, 2019

    Simple Justice: Here are all the Super Bowl commercials. Discuss.*

    *Tuesday Talk rules apply

      1. Jim Tyre

        Every year, I get invited to a Super Bowl commercial party. The host fast forwards through the game so that time isn’t wasted on the unimportant stuff.

        I’ve never gone to one.

  7. Paul

    More postmodernist bullshit. The propaganda is not complete without race being thrown in too (compare skin tones between males depicted performing “desirable” behavior vs “undesirable” – it heavily skewed). So not just men bad, but more specifically white men bad.

    1. SHG Post author

      Demographics are a cesspool, for obvious reasons. Can you imagine the outrage if the wrong guy did the wrong thing?

      1. Paul

        Somehow the concept that people can be bad regardless of skin color or gender, because people are people, has fallen out of favor. I don’t know if I’m an idiot or an optimist for thinking maybe this next time it will come back.

        When critical theory is used instead of critical thinking… this is the ad we get.

    2. PseudonymousKid

      Paul, postmodernism isn’t whatever you don’t like. Words have meaning, brother, even in postmodernism. I hope you aren’t afraid to pick up a book sometime and try to figure things out. I know the Frenchmen use big, confusing words in long convoluted sentences, but power through it, please.

      1. SHG Post author

        Or you could correct him if he’s wrong rather than scold him while contributing nothing illuminating. After all, that’s my job.

        1. PseudonymousKid

          That was my sincere attempt to not derail your post any further than I was already doing. Commenting here is like walking through a minefield, but more fun sometimes. Sorry for the continuing disappointment, Pa.

            1. Casual Lurker

              “Lincoln could sure tell a tall tale and always managed to charm the ladies”.

              –George Washington

          1. B. McLeod

            Nonsense. The only thing more fun than walking through a minefield is playing hop-scotch in a minefield. Or perhaps, leapfrog in a minefield.

      2. Paul

        Thanks PK for your concern. I was using it to refer to intersectionality and that was lazy of me (however also in the name of brevity – this seems to have failed). I have read Foucault, and found it thouroughly unpleasant, and am generally scornful of people who think postmodern analysis is a panacea. It is my current boogie man for trying to explain how smart people end up doing dumb things (like buying into grievance studies) without attributing malice – so I will acknowledge your point.

  8. Turk

    Brilliant ad. People are talking about Gillette. It broke through the clutter.

    The ad company is probably popping the champagne.

          1. Miles

            I’m sure I’m missing something here, but what is their purpose in tweeting this? Do they mean to persuade, virtue signal, shame, conclusively prove their 12 years old? What?

            1. Oskar

              No, friend. Just a comment on how people get offended about everything and anything.

              It’s an ad from a company trying sell razors.

              Who cares?

              Why do a lot of men feel the need to comment on it?

            2. SHG Post author

              Well, that’s one steaming pile of disingenuous horseshit. Now you write “who cares,” but you went right to the ad hominem that any man who did was “frail”? At least have the balls not to be a weasel.

            3. Oskar

              Yup. Getting worked up about an ad is being frail to me. Should have been more precise though, I should have written;

              Men going apeshit over an ad and the attacks on “men” are frail and snowflakey.

              I blame my snuff detox for being cranky.

            4. Oskar

              Second language old lawyer man, humour doesn’t translate. All comments are not going to be homeruns, cranky.

              The some crowd really gets to you doesn’t it? Can I ask why?

            5. SHG Post author

              Not sure what “some crowd” means, but my reasons are contained in the posts here. If you want to know why, read.

            6. Miles

              Nobody went apeshit but you, Oskar. Everyone else dealt with substance. You went on the attack. The only frail man was you.

            7. Oskar

              *Woke crowd.

              You are just an delight aren’t you?

              We had 40 cm of snow yesterday and it’s -28 degrees right now, That is upsetting to me. Men, and no, not all of them, going into rage mode because of an ad is hilarious. It even spread to our little country where etnonationalist connected it to Soros and the jewish masterplan of feminising our boys and destroying western civilization.

              So yes, I found some of it funny. If you ever want to half freeze to death come over to the north Sweden in the winter. First whiskey is on me, the humour probably goes better with a drink and off an keyboard.

            8. Oskar

              The the ten year Laphroaig is always there and waiting.

              Will still laugh at most of the hot takes on the ad though.

            9. B. McLeod

              In the days of the berserkers, Swedes knew what “rage mode” was. Now, evidently, they have no clue.

            10. Oskar

              Hah.

              Good to know that you got a handle on what us Swedes know.

              And all that from a single comment? You must be super smart.

      1. Casual Lurker

        What about those who shave with Occam’s Razor?
        ==============
        PowerlineBlog
        Gillette’s Razor — and Occam’s
        Steven Hayward — The Week In Pictures
        Jan. 16, 2019

        “You’ve heard of Occam’s Razor — that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Well now behold Gillette’s Razor — the simplest explanation for it being that Gillette’s ad agency has been taken over by the Oberlin College gender studies department. (Hat tip: Christina Hoff Sommers.)”

        The pictures tell the story about how Gillette’s thinking has evolved. If I may be allowed a link…
        https://www.powerlineblog.com/?p=209483

  9. Black Bellamy

    What is this, the Middle Ages? If you can’t get a good shave with a Philips Norelco magical space-age shaving machine or somesuch, then you should stop shaving and grow a beard. Scraping your face with a naked blade is just the worst. You’re cutting your skin and scraping away your precious lipid barrier. You know why your face hurts with the aftershave? Because you damaged it. There are holes in your face now besides the usual ones. If you shave for 5 minutes a day, that’s six months of face scraping over your lifetime.

        1. Casual Lurker

          This makes it the 100th comment to the thread!

          I’m surprised no one else connected this dot. If we’re going to go from blades to shaving creams, we shouldn’t overlook Sweedish model, Gunilla Knutsson, telling us to “Take it off. Take it all off.” (1967)

      1. rojas

        Electric works just fine for me and allows me to avoid the hard decisions of which blade seller is woke enough. It might be because I’m 1/1024 Cherokee more or less.

  10. Julia

    Does this commercial have any pink version?

    It’s very cheesy and totally fails to advertise *a product* or *the brand*. If women are those to buy it for men, do the creators believe that women are pretty flowers without any body hair and can’t tell a razor blade ad from MeToo? And I thought shaving was for adults, not for little boys. Did I miss a new trend?

    1. SHG Post author

      Apparently, this is like the Nigerian 419 scam, designed only to appeal to women who prefer not to think too much.

    1. SHG Post author

      It can, and if you’re of the view that men need to be told this, clearly you’re perspective begins with men, as a gender, not being respectful toward others. But this is America and everybody is entitled to see things through their own lens.

  11. Rendall

    Those who like the ad believe that men are inherently bad and need to ‘do better’. Those men who already behave well as men, and as human beings, find it patronizing.

  12. KP

    I reckon it will be as successful as the Audi one. The males it appeals to don’t need to shave and their females won’t understand it.

    1. SHG Post author

      As a battle in the culture war, it’s already been wildly successful. As for selling razor blades, who knows.

  13. Scarlet Pimpernel

    But what I really want to know is what is their position on women shaving themselves to look like pre-pubescent girls.

  14. Ayoy

    “Does Gillette move you to be a “better man,””

    No, not this ad. Gillette Man looks demoralized and “toxic” when confronted about it. A burger flipping perp. Hardly aspirational stuff.

    The older ads however. Class of 95′ (video for comparison): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAkVDCqVY6w

    Ivy league / West Point, Super Bowl, Christopher Reeve sorta aesthetics. Suns out, surfing, lifting, nuclear households, happy people. Now that’s more like it. (Music would need to be significantly updated however as it is very cheesy).

  15. Kurt

    I haven’t had a TV for nearly 20 years, so take this with however much salt your superstitions require – I haven’t see the advert, not even on YT:

    – Commercial that moralize divide the audience. I’ll bet that the agency, and Gillette, did try to quantify or qualify the effects.

    – My default position for moralizing by commercial entities is – you lost my dollars. This is only contraverted if the product in question is absolutely essential to some absolutely essential function in my life.

    By now, this is nearly a basal neurologic reaction.

    Kurt

  16. Appellate Squawk

    P.G Wodehouse said it all:

    The pioneers were hairy men,
    Reckless devil-may-care-ey men
    Who wouldn’t have used a razor on a bet,
    For each had sworn a solemn oath
    He’d never prune the undergrowth:
    Their motto was “To hell with King Gillette!”

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