Why it’s important to understand the nuances of what works and what doesn’t!

Two ‘polls’ caught our eye here in the Juicy office this week… both an opportunity for people to express their opinion of the tactics deployed and both resulting in an overwhelming NO vote.  Yes, one is the ‘B’ thing, but I’m not doing politics: there’s plenty of that elsewhere.  I’m talking about a marketing hot topic… the latest broadcast advertisement from Gillette.

As I write this, YouTube votes on the ad are running at 812,000 thumbs down versus 402,000 thumbs up.  That’s about the same margin as the parliamentary vote; and a pretty damning verdict on the tactics used.

If even a fraction of the people promising to take their custom elsewhere actually do desert the brand it will make a significant dent in its sales and profits.  Not to mention the damage to Gillette’s brand standing, marketing credibility and corporate reputation.

So… what’s all the fuss about?

In a nutshell: Gillette launched its famous ‘The Best A Man Can Get’ strapline 30 years ago, so yes, to remain relevant the brand has to change, just as its audience is changing too.  This is true for any brand, however large or small; yours needs to evolve with your audience, ours does too.

There’s no question: more renowned and recognised marketing commentators (there are such people!) agree with us on this… the strategy is spot on; the issue is with the tactics.

Gillette has already adjusted its tag to ‘The Best a Man Can Be’; this advert is intended to build on that.  It’s a commentary on male behaviour.  It references bullying, sexual harassment and toxic masculinity before posing the question: “Is this the best a man can get”?  The ad goes on to say it’s time men stop making excuses and renounce the idea that “boys will be boys”.

Mmmm… stereotyping and demonising your entire customer base? 

That appears to be the majority interpretation, although, to be fair, if you give the ad a chance, you can see it’s not about all men being bad.  As Gillette Brand Director Pankaj Bhalla says: “There’s a part where we say, ‘We believe in the best in all men’.  It’s literally right there in the ad!  The intention is to say, ‘All of you guys are great; how about you be an even better role model for your kids?’  That’s it.  That’s the ad.”  But that’s just it… this is an advertisement for a razor!

Is a 1 minute 48 second commercial piece, created to promote a brand and make the company more sales and more money, really the right platform for such a complex and layered topic?

I’m sure the intention was to showcase Gillette’s CSR (corporate social responsibility) credentials; not least because research shows us that millennials give more credit to brands using corporate social responsibility appeals (Neilsen 2017).  The thing is, they’re also savvy, so they can spot a clumsy (some may even say cynical) attempt to ‘cosy up’ to them a mile off.

Which is why, when it comes to your marketing tactics, it’s important to understand the nuances of what works and what doesn’t.

You can have the best strategy ever, but if your tactics are wrong, then the damage you can do to your brand and your sales is immense.

There are so many factors to consider… your ethos, your audience, the market environment, your competitors, wider social norms and expectations, topical issues, the impact you want to make, the impressions you could create, the results you want to achieve, the consequences you can live with… then there’s all your routes to market and the techniques you can use to get your messages out there too.  Phew!

It’s a bit of a minefield, but like the best mine sweepers, we can help you find a way through.

Though we say it ourselves, we really do know a thing or two about creating and deploying the right marketing tactics… let’s get together and explore how we could revitalise yours.

PS: There could be one positive in this for Gillette… exposure!  It’s majorly high profile.  And as one media commentator has noted, pi**ing off Piers Morgan is no bad thing (that made us snigger!)  It has certainly earned Gillette more column inches and social media miles than any razor ever before.  The problem is that the vast majority of it is extremely negative.  So, will this go down in marketing history as one of the all-time great blunders?  We’re frankly fascinated to see how it unfolds and what Gillette’s next move will be.

Oh, and if you spotted a sneaky reference to our own Juicy brand evolution… watch this space!

If you’d like to know more tips and tricks, why not book one of our free Marketing Kickstarter 1-2-1’s?

You are guaranteed to come away with lots of ideas to promote your business and become an even smarter marketer!

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