Thursday, January 17, 2019

You can't Voxsplain away Gillette's advertisement

I've spent a lot of my career working with Marketing and PR types, and have generally found it to be fun and rewarding (as one Marketing VP once told me, "Marketing doesn't change the truth, it just makes it better!").  But along the way some basic concepts have sunk in.  The first rule of PR, for example, is "if you have to explain it, you've failed".  This has actually been a really good challenge in making the message you want to send very crisp and sharp.

Gillette failed at this in a big, big way.  They failed so big that their advert needs to be Voxsplained.  It won't do any good, of course - you can't explain to someone who's been offended that they haven't, you know, been offended.  But good luck with that.

It's actually worse than this, of course.  You need to be extremely careful with your marketing so that you maintain your credibility.  You can come across as a fast talking snake oil salesman, of course, but you shouldn't expect that to build trust in your brand.  Even if what you say is true, if you come across in a negative manner you destroy brand value:
Successful advertising rarely succeeds through argument or calls to action. Instead, it creates positive memories and feelings that influence our behavior over time to encourage us to buy something at a later date. No one likes to think that they are easily influenced. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that we respond negatively to naked attempts at persuasion.
This is why Voxsplaining won't help Gillette, even though the entire media is hard at work trying to do just that.  Not only did Gillette offend a lot of people (both male and female), but they did it in a ludicrously, transparently obvious manner.  You could see the puppeteer behind the curtain pulling all the strings.

As Napoleon is said to have once remarked about one of his more blood-soaked decisions, it was worse than a tragedy.  It was a blunder.

Gillette blundered twice with this ad.  If you follow the link above you will find a set of excellent advertisements from the past.  They avoid Gillette's blunders, and create positive memories that have been associated with the brand over time.  And if you view the advert that co-blogger ASM826 posted, you will find another excellent one that creates positive memories that will stick with them over time.  Whenever I see the Egard Watch logo in the future, I'll think of this ad.

Gillette's problem is that every time I see their logo, I'll remember their advert.  No matter how much Voxsplaining people try to do.


Aesop said...

Which logo?

Their old one, or this new one?

Glen Filthie said...

This wasn't a marketing gaffe. This is a rotted corporation in its death throes. The people responsible for this should never have been hired or contracted. This is not a result of incompetence, it is a shot fired in the ongoing culture war.

The guys involved with this are undoubtedly spaghetti armed soy boys that live in fear of the homosexuals, HR fatties, and menopausal cat ladies that have infested their company through affirmative action. When the blow back from this hits home, they are all going to come to the conclusion that the customers are all a deplorable basket of sexists, misogynists, and of course, their newest bogey-man … toxic males.

Once I run out of blades for it, I am throwing my Gillette razor in the garbage. These guys aren't going to back up and more than likely will do something like this again.

Beans said...

Kinda to work off of what Glen F said above, part of why there will be no successful recovery from this, due to all the toxic femininity that came out after the ad was released.

Female P&G executive saying no 'cis' white male will be promoted. The radical feminist ad executive who brought us this drivel in the first place. These are the most visible examples.

For what it's worth, meh. Let Gillette and P&G suffer what they deserve.

Jester said...

It is an interesting change. I'm now in my later 30s and I remember Gillette sending me a Mach 3 Razor twice about the time when I turned 18. I forget what it said on the card but something along the lines of welcome to adulthood or whatnot. Far change now from then. While there is the thought process of there is no bad news for companies there have been those that have gone down of late. Seems a few of them (Dicks Sporting Goods) is the next one on the list that decided to attack a large amount of their potential customers. It gets media attention for a while. After that initial flurry is the problem. I don't exactly have a problem with things but the media and a lot of these companies are attacking the silent majority of who buys or would potentially buy their products. Or those directly associated with them. As long as the free market at least operates there are those that will fill the volume. Ask Dicks!

Murphy(AZ) said...

I'm no expert in marketing strategies, but it seems to me, if you don't have a solid lock on your particular market, it is not a wise move to piss off your customer base.

Gillette and Dick's being current examples. Neither company is "the only game in town." Neither one offers "the greatest thing." They are offering products of comparable quality available from other vendors at comparable prices. Insult your customers at your own risk. They will go elsewhere, and they will not forget.

McChuck said...

This is very effective marketing. It's just not selling the product you think it is, and you are not the primary audience.

McChuck said...

These are people without any concept of honor. They cannot understand why or how our honor has been offended, or why that should matter.

Matt W said...

Their over-priced razors aren't worth it anyway.

It will be interesting to see how big of a hit they take from a hard marketing fail. I don't use their (or anyone else's) razors. I shave solely with an electric shaver. But my wife has used their razors for years. Because of this ad, she looked into Dollar Shave Club and just subscribed. It's going to save us about $30/month.

Sanders said...

I went to a double-sided safety razor and got 100 razor blades on Amazon for under $10.

I get a better shave with that, anyway.

Gillette and P&G can whistle Dixie, or is that racist?

LSP said...

Years ago I was shaving before getting on parade and I looked at my disposable which had a novel at the time gooey strip on it. "What's that?" I asked a fellow victim of basic training. "That, my dear chap, is progress," replied my pal. And off we went, as in open order.

Now look where we are, fast in the razor edged, bow-tied grip of the marketeers.

Will Gillette be their Kursk? We can but hope. I've swapped to Harry's, for what it's worth.

Murphy(AZ) said...

^^Latigo Morgan

Did the same thing about 18 months ago. Bought a razor with a nice feel (weight) a longer handle to fit these old paws, and more blades than I've ever seen in one place, and NONE of it has the Gillette name anywhere on it!

Eagle said...

Merkur 34C safety razor: $40
Feather double-edge blades: 30 for $11
Taylor of Old Bond St Sandalwood Soap in wood bowl: $34
Perfecto Badger Shaving Brush: $15
Chrome stand to hold brush and razor: $17

All prices from Amazon.

Those are the startup costs. Now for the good stuff:

One blade lasts me about 6 shaves. I have been using the same bar of shaving soap for at least 2 months and it looks like it'll last another 2-3 months at least (the replacement soap is about $18 and fits in the same bowl).

After the startup costs (safety razor, brush, stand, and wood bowl), the only maintenance costs are: blades and soap.

Do the calculation yourself. Then ask why you're paying Gillette to insult you.

BTW: those Feather blades are unbelievably sharp and provide a shave that is far closer and far smoother than anything Gillette offers. In this case, Gillette is definitely not "the best a man can get".