Gillette advert on 'new masculinity' sparks fierce online debate

A new advert from razor brand Gillette, calling for an era of PC-inspired masculinity, has opened up a ferocious debate on social media.

The short film, called Believe, made a play on their slogan "The Best A Man Can Get" by replacing it with "The Best Men Can Be" - arguing that male behaviour reported in the media was often of a negative sort.

Gillette's advert touched upon the #MeToo movement, bullying and so-called toxic masculinity.

But the video has split opinion, with some claiming the advert suggested men are inherently bad people, others threatened to boycott the razor brand.

The ad received praise from those who recognised the brand's attempt to challenge men to be "better people".

In just 48 hours, the advert has been viewed close to eight million times on Twitter, racking up 65,000 retweets.

The one minute 50 seconds-long clip juxtaposes instances of bullying, sexual harassment, sexist behaviour and aggression with more positive behaviour.

During the former, the advert asks "Is this the best a man can get?"

In a statement, Gillette said that men found themselves "at a crossroads, caught between the past and a new era of masculinity".

"It's time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture," Gillette said.

"And as a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man."

The advert sparked a fierce debate on social media. Credit: Gillette

Many comments online were critical of the advert.

There was even a call for Procter & Gamble, which owns Gillette, to issue an apology.

One YouTube user wrote: "Hi, Gillette... you're the problem, not my masculinity."

Another said: "I currently use Gillette products. However, since Gillette frowns upon my male whiteness, I will never use their products again."

Still others criticised people who felt insulted by the advert, arguing it was positive that men were being challenged to be better people.

Supporters of the advert said that it was good to be taught to intervene rather than be a bystander.