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Did the Gillette #Toxic Masculinity campaign turn the brand around?

The Gillette video that appeared mid-January 2019 featured a tag line #ToxicMasculinity, asks:  “Is this the best a man can get? Is it? We can’t hide from it. It has been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off, making the same old excuses.”

Reactions were swift.  The Wall Street Journal headline read:  "Are Gillette’s Customers More Toxic than its Management?Procter & Gamble instructs shavers to improve their morality."

The Gillette brand has been under pressure for a while, with the quarterly reports repeatedly noting the competitive pressure.  The brand had been cutting prices but even so, earnings and sales had been both declining for six of the previous seven quarters. So perhaps this video was an attempt to defend the brand from the competition.  Did it work?

It’s too early to say definitively, and the data that is publicly accessible is not very detailed.  It looks like it may have helped to moderate a downward trend, but that is very preliminary.

In my book, I made a prediction that sales would be up among Liberal customers and among women, but down among Conservative men, and the net effect would depend on the size of the various groups. There’s not enough data to determine if I was right – but I will keep watching and let you know if they say anything specific about my prediction!  (I sent a copy of my book to the head of the P&G Insight Department; I’d love to see what he says.)

For more about how to assess these types of campaigns and the other options marketers to take, see my book Marketing Landmines:  The Next Generation of Emotional Branding, available on Amazon

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Karen Tibbals @KarenTibbals

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