Home >Industry >Media >In new ad Gillette tackles gender stereotypes through real story of an Indian soldier

NEW DELHI : Being vulnerable is not manly or men don’t cry, is a stereotype that Gillette, the personal grooming brand from American corporation Procter and Gamble, is attacking in its new campaign in an attempt to redefine masculinity. Released on International Men’s Day (19 November) the brand’s latest campaign, under ‘The Best Man Can Get’ tagline, features a real life story of Lt. Colonel Manoj Kumar Sinha who served the Indian Army for over 20 years till 2018, before he opted for a voluntary pre-mature retirement.

Created by advertising agency Grey India, the film takes the viewer through Colonel’s journey revealing the brave face he put up despite being seriously wounded in the battlefield. In a moment of truth, post his surgery he meets his father, the very same man who once told him ‘boys don’t cry’ and breaks down into tears on seeing him. The crux of film comes alive when father and son share an emotional moment and realise that showing what you really feel doesn’t make you less of a man. Raising a strong boy also means telling him that it was okay for boys to cry.

“We launched Shaving Stereotypes roughly seven months ago with the Barbershop Girls campaign. The new ad, under the Shaving Stereotypes platform, is titled Man Enough. We are challenging the biggest gender stereotype through this campaign that men are not suppose to cry or express their vulnerability. The core thought is to let young men know that crying is not a sign of weakness," said Karthik Srivatsan, associate director and country category leader, shave care, Indian Sub-Continent at P&G.

The campaign is being promoted across digital and social media platforms.

“Most of our work we do on Gillette doesn’t essentially come with a client brief. We chanced upon this true story of Colonel Sinha. He approached us and shared his story many months ago, before this Shaving Stereotypes platform came into existence. We have been brainstorming since then how to bring his experience alive and align it with Gillette’s objective of bringing forth the best version of men that the world can have. This campaign conveys something powerful which can change the way we think about the do’s and don’t’s for men," said Sandipan Bhattacharyya, chief creative officer, Grey Group.

As a part of this activity, Gillette said that under its CSR programme ‘Safalta Apni Mutthi Mein’ (Success in your hands) which aims to educate young boys in colleges across the country about grooming to become better version of themselves. The programme, which reaches out to 1.5 million young men, is spread across 14 states.

Gillette has embarked on this journey to change the narrative around the conventional idea of masculinity since the beginning of 2019. The brand created an internet storm over the global MeToo inspired ad ‘The Best Men Can Be’ (wordplay on its tagline) which took a bold stand on bullying, cat-calling, and sexual harassment. Unlike the global campaign, Gillette unveiled the India campaign with a similar message albeit sticking to a subtle execution to highlight gender stereotypes prevalent in most rigid societies.

The Barbershop Girls ad released in May this year highlighted an inspiring true story of two women who have debunked gender stereotypes to run their father's barber shop in a small Indian village of Banwari Tola in Uttar Pradesh.

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