The world got a little worse the day advertisers stopped being Don Draper types impassively manipulating the public for monetary gain while drinking away their guilt, and instead became doe-eyed cultists convinced that they were actually making the world a better place. We all know advertising works, but you’re not supposed to believe it. That snapped into focus again this week with a ginned up supposed controversy over, what else, a woke razor ad.
Did you spend the week trying to avoid this entire idiotic story? You’re not alone, and you’re not wrong. In fact, I wouldn’t blame you for instantly clicking away right now.
This allegedly all started when Proctor and Gamble (the massive multinational conglomerate that owns Gillette) released a two-minute, buzz-word filled ad that could basically be boiled down to “bullying. toxic masculinity. sexual harassment. if you agree that these things are bad, buy a razor.” If you have not seen it, here you go…
(Gillette has clearly taken the Krassenstein/Seth Abramson approach — loudly shouting something obvious and demanding to be applauded for it.)
All of this is basic advertising stuff and wouldn’t be worth mentioning if not for a BIG CONTROVERSY. And so, we learned, people were pissed. News outlets from the AP to the BBC to NPR trumpeted big headlines about how this ad had stirred uproar, provoked backlash, generated controversy, destroyed feminists, and so forth. All of these stories cited random social media accounts of dubious import to support their theses. @a9ri broke down the BBC’s sources here. Meanwhile, NPR embedded in its story this pro-Gilette account of 258 followers, this alleged boycotter with 32 followers, this one with nine followers, and a handful of other no-name randos. Almost all of the stories mentioned Jessica Chastain for some reason (it’s a quirk of the internet that she and Josh Gad always seem to show up in the middle of seemingly unrelated news stories).