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Why 'We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette (Short Film)' Misses the Mark

Still from 'We Believe' Gillette Short Film.
If you're one of the few people who haven't at least heard about Gillette's short film, We Believe: The Best Men Can Be then take a moment to watch their video below. It seems like it is an earnest attempt to address undesirable male behaviour and attitudes that have become branded with the unhelpful term 'Toxic Masculinity' but for me, and a lot of people, it just missed the mark.

At this point, the real success of the film, despite the Youtube dislike ratio of approximately 2:1 is the increased brand awareness for Gillette - and I guess the 1 million a year for the next three years they will be donating to programs supporting men of positive action (but they could have done that anyway with no fanfare).



I get what Gillette were going for here by showing examples of past/current behaviour/attitudes in communities, business, and media that has brought about terms like 'toxic masculinity' and the #metoo movement. It's an attempt at reflection on whether men are really doing enough. (Kind of makes sense for a product used in front of a mirror usually).

This is then contrasted against men who are doing more to be better and encouraging their peers to be better which I think is kind of overshadowed by the opening negative examples and the closing statements of needing to do more.

It's certainly true that the boys of today will be the men of tomorrow but we don't really get much of a sense of who the boys in Gillette's film are really learning from. It's kind of ambiguous because the film is raising the question of what kind of example are you setting for them?

In short the film is not really inspirational or aspirational. It's reflective - which may have been the intent in a 'I'm starting with the man in the mirror' kind of way - and doesn't make anyone feel all that good about themselves at the end. The film doesn't really motivate in that uplifting way of saying 'Yeah I want to do better!'

The real heroes of the film are lost in the wishy washy middle bit. The boys who somehow grew up knowing how to be the best a man can be and are passing on those values. Imagine if the entire film had focussed on them?

At the risk of promoting a male stereotype we're not that complex. Give us heroes to aspire to, make them inspirational, and let them lead by example. Most men like to think they can be heroes. Maybe not necessarily on a grand scale but certainly within their social circles. We've all got a bit of the alpha male within us. We like to think we can handle anything life throws at us.

It's really just a matter of making sure our heroes reflect positive values... you know, don't build a wall, build a bridge.

One of the most memorable 'short films' by a brand in my opinion is Coca-Cola's Security Camera ad. It simultaneously promotes the brand positively and promotes exceptional moments of daily life around the world. The concept is raised further by the simple yet clear message of Supertramp's song 'Give a Little bit'. Watch it below.



Whilst the ad doesn't ask anything from you it does encourage you to think differently about words normally associated with negative behaviour and ultimately suggests the world isn't necessarily as bad as media might lead you to believe.

Something like this might have been more appropriate for Gillette. Something that celebrates the men who just live their lives without being a dick, and who do try to pass on positive values to their children, friends etc.

Instead we get a short film calling all men out to do better at life... oh and buy a razor.

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