In recent years there has been an increase in organizations getting involved in social causes when developing their branding strategies. For example, campaigns such as Nike’s ‘Believe in Something’, Ben and Jerry’s efforts to combat climate change in 2016 and the ‘We Accept’ campaign by Airbnb in 2017.
Gillette’s (2019) campaign ‘The Best a Man Can be’ caused outrage and won fans in equal measure. It sparked a massive amount of controversy online for its references to the stereotypes of modern-day masculinity. The historical campaign has primarily cultivated an image of masculinity in its clients. The internet backlash led many to speak out about “boycotting” the brand for its illustration of men. Thousands of negative comments on social media posts criticized Gillette’s overreach into the social sphere.
At its core, Gillette used the campaign to spark a conversation about social issues/stereotypes. However, despite the stream of negativity, Gillette also received immense praise for speaking out on the global stage. After the campaign was released, Adweek(2019) reported that Gillette gained the largest amount of support from women. This finding opened up a broader and somewhat unexpected customer base.
This level of support from women was a first in the history of Gillette’s campaigns. Gillette’s campaign was a clear illustration of how advertising albeit controversial, can generate a new audience for brands.
In the digital age, do companies and brands need a social cause to thrive? Based on the research include in your answer the following: