- Gillette's recent video ad that shows a transgender teen whose father teaches him to shave generated online buzz as celebrities, influencers and social media users posted commentary about the spot. Gillette was mentioned about 108,000 times in the week since the ad appeared, spurring almost 600,000 engagements, per data that social media analytics firm Talkwalker shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Sentiment was 59% positive and 41% negative, and the top social mention came from comedian and TV host Ellen DeGeneres. Her supportive tweet that said, "Gillette, this is nothing short of incredible," received 54,600 likes and shares in a seven-day period.
- About one-third (32%) of Gillette's recent social media engagements and 19% of brand mentions referred to the commercial's transgender theme. Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, the Canadian teen who appears in the spot, received 34,800 engagements and 1,400 mentions on social, Talkwalker found.
Brands gamble with their image when they include heavier societal messages in their marketing campaigns, and the mostly positive reaction to Gillette's transgender-themed ad indicates that its bet is paying off with a jump in social media reactions and engagements. Cause-driven campaigns are often well-received by younger consumers, providing an emotional bond that can drive longer-term loyalty and distinguish brands from competitors.
Plus, Gillette has had success with previous cause-based campaigns. Earlier this year, its "We Believe" effort expanded the brand's decades-old "The Best a Man Can Get" message into "The Best Men Can Be," nodding to the #MeToo movement and tackling toxic masculinity. Despite some social media outcry, nearly 80% of respondents liked the ad, 77% said it made them hopeful about the future, almost 60% said they expected to remember the ad in several months and 34% said it made them want to buy Gillette products, according to a Toluna Insights survey.
The percentage of consumers who said they believe the brand "shared their values" jumped to 71% from 42% after viewing the commercial, per a survey by Morning Consult. The share of consumers who said Gillette "is socially responsible" grew to 72% from 45%, the survey found. Perhaps the success of the "We Believe" campaign made it easier for the brand to develop this latest ad.
Men's grooming brands like Gillette, Schick, Harry's and Axe have sought to broaden the definition of masculinity in their marketing campaigns in recent years to be more inclusive and socially responsible. Gillette's gender-themed ad is an extension of its new #MyBestSelf campaign that will showcase real, diverse and inclusive stories of men working toward their "best" selves, Pankaj Bhalla, brand director for Procter & Gamble's Gillette and Venus North America, said in a statement.
Elsewhere in the space, Gillette competitor Schick Hydro last year launched a "healthy masculinity" campaign, while direct-to-consumer razor startup Harry's created a short video that dissects the definition of a man. Unilever's Axe brand this month renewed its #AXEpressYourself campaign for a second year to urge teenage boys to feel confident about their appearance.