The real PMT risks - who is the Gillette campaign really aimed at?

Stealth marketing. Caught you out, didn't it? Clever, isn't it? Did you love it? Question it? Discuss it? Hate it?

Gillette is not just changing its face towards men but to women too with some clever stealth marketing, argues Chloe Franses
Gillette is not just changing its face towards men but to women too with some clever stealth marketing, argues Chloe Franses

More importantly, did you assume that the Gillette ad was aimed at men? Why wouldn’t you? The backlash certainly did - which gives us a moment of reflection.

Polarising Gillette campaign a slightly clumsy leap in the right direction

Consider, for a moment, what we as communicators know only too well (and have known for a very long time) - the majority of household products are bought by women; 84 per cent we are told.

We all start with the same, fundamental challenge for our clients - ‘how do we sell/engage/reach more’ and ‘what is the story we are telling in order to do that?’.

So... how to tackle this challenge in a PMT period, I hear you cry? (But possibly not in those words).

The coming years of PMT (Post #MeToo), allow us a time to remember that PR is founded on reputation and disruption - and that there is a rise in demand for transparency.

The Gillette ad is great... at selling a brand name to women who have the purchasing power across both the blue and the pink versions - and who are becoming aware/woke to options - and brand values.

So… how to tackle this challenge in a PMT period, I hear you cry? (But possibly not in those words).

Chloe Franses, founder of Chloe Franses and Co

The backlash has articulated something key to that, which is the question around who they want their future purchasers to be – and, if the majority are women, how do they remain as they are as a product, whilst changing sentiment and narrative around their brand, without transforming into Billie?

The controllers of $20 trillion in worldwide spending and drivers of nearly 80 per cent of all consumer spending have been recognised (and shouldn’t have to spend 6.28 per cent more on their razors).

They know that rationales for charging women more than men do not hold up to actual practice and that the brands that have been getting away with it for a long time have worked hard to appeal to values which are now being questioned.

With disruptive competitors coming into the market like Billie (which launched the Project Body Hair campaign) appealing to the millennials and succeeding with targeted subscription models, there is an awareness of the need to target the women.

Billie’s success (they’re often sold out and picked up $4.5m more in funding in 2018) is tied to their inclusion of the Pink Tax in their marketing, offering a ‘Pink Tax Rebate’ and making donations to women-focused charities.

Even in the male-focused only sector, ‘chatty’ brands like Dollar Shave Club have now become establishment.

If this departure in messaging for Gillette is authentic, then it has to follow through.

They are committing the very round number of $1m into "non-profit organizations executing the most interesting and impactful programs designed to help men of all ages achieve their personal best" with their first donation, interestingly, to Boys... and Girls of America.

Chloe Franses is the founder of Chloe Franses and Co

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