- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Gillette’s infamous “toxic masculinity” ad may cost Procter & Gamble more than anyone imagined in January.

The year that Gillette launched its “We Believe” campaign and asked “Is this the best a man can get?” has coincided with P&G’s $8 billion non-cash writedown for the shaving giant.

Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller attributed much of the losses on “new competitors” offering “prices below the category average,” Reuters reported.

Observers such as Red State’s Brandon Morse responded by essentially likening the public stance to a lie by omission — the “toxic masculinity” ad punctuated news cycles for weeks and was repeatedly mocked on social media.

“Perhaps P&G isn’t willing to come forward yet with the fact that they made a monumental error in assuming men would take the ‘toxic masculinity’ commercial well, but they should soon,” Mr. Morse wrote Wednesday for the conservative website. “The brand is damaged enough to lose billions, and men aren’t coming back, especially with cheaper alternatives embracing men for who they are and not assuming the worst about them.”

The negative commentary from Twitter in January includes:

  • “Get woke, go broke. Stick to selling razors.”
  • “When did shaving have to get political?”
  • “Do we really need ‘woke razors?’”
  • “How to irreparably damage a brand in under 120 seconds: A Documentary.”
  • “Cringe shaving commercial. See this is actually genius. What Gillette is doing here is trying to lower our testosterone to the point we won’t have to shave anymore.”

Dean Crutchfield, CEO of branding firm Crutchfield + Partners, also warned The Wall Street Journal that backlash could follow.

“Does the customer want to be told they’re a naughty boy? Are you asking too much of your consumer to be having this conversation with them?” he asked. “It’s about execution. Sometimes brands stretch themselves too fine, and they snap.”

The Gillette writedown aside, P&G’s shares rose nearly 5% to a record high of $121.76 on Tuesday, Reuters added.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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