The Best a Brand Can Get? Michael Goldthorpe discusses that Gillette campaign

  • Voices
  • January 16, 2019
  • Michael Goldthorpe
The Best a Brand Can Get? Michael Goldthorpe discusses that Gillette campaign

Simon says, “Start with why”. Why? Because “no-one buys what you do, they buy why you do it.” Those are the headlines from Simon Sinek’s famous Ted talk. And his Apple makes a lot of sense.

But 40 million views later it’s all getting a little cliché and confused. And the most recent cobbled-together, virtue-signalling bollocks from Gillette is a great example of “Why not?”.

Why do we all like ‘why’?

Like most of the industry, we like the cut of Simon’s jib. He struck a chord and communicated with common sense. His genius was to summarise a lot of brand theory in some simple whiteboard circles and a catchphrase. It’s good stuff.

But the challenge of simplifying anything is forgetting the devil in the detail. In this case, Gillette missed the purpose of their business to create a new purpose for their business.

Rather than build brand around razors, they dived down the rabbit hole of social self-importance to lecture their target market instead. Most people don’t seem to like it.

What’s the point of purpose?

Having a purpose is no bad thing. The commercial point is to make people feel good about your brand so they buy more of your stuff. It’s brand-building 101. And it usually comes best from start-ups. Patagonia. Tick. Eat My Lunch. Tick. Even Dove’s campaign for real beauty. Tick.

Where it goes wrong is where it doesn’t ring true. Remember when Pepsi tried to fix racism with a music video? While no self-respecting human would disagree with the premise of Gillette’s ad, there’s no believable link between a smoother chin and a better society. It’s just awkward.

I don’t want to wake up woke.

Gillette missed the point of Sinek’s why. I don’t buy a razor to change the world. I buy it to shave. And in that early morning moment with me and the mirror I’m happy to pay more for ‘the best a man can get’. That’s Gillette’s why – and it’s worked for years.

It’s not all clean cut. 

The challenge of this marketing stuff, is that it’s not easy. Some brands can really benefit from a bold, relevant and genuine social purpose. Others, like Nike, can happily surf the zeitgeist and reap the rewards. But not everyone can. And not everyone should.

Sometimes you’re a yoghurt, an office chair, or a razor. Remember It’s okay to be proud of that. Or as Gillette used to say – “the best a man can get.”

That’s what I reckon, what do you think?

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Whittaker’s wins May’s Ad Impact award

  • Ad Impact
  • June 19, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Whittaker’s wins May’s Ad Impact award

The month of May saw some really strong TV ad creative, but Whittaker’s has surpassed the competition to win the Colmar Brunton Ad Impact Award.

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