The following letter was sent to the CEO of Gillette’s parent company, Procter & Gamble, by 2ndVote Founder and Chairman, Dr. David Black:
January 30, 2019
David S. Taylor, CEO
The Procter & Gamble Company
1 P&G Plaza
Cincinnati, OH 45202
RE: Gillette’s newest advertising campaign
Dear Mr. Taylor,
The recent release of Gillette’s campaign to shame your customers using the so-called “toxic masculinity” narrative is both puzzling and disconcerting. One can only assume that your leadership and marketing team may be unfamiliar with the biological processes of the human male.
For instance, facial hair, which your male shaving products are designed to manage, is a natural function of male development. This has been known since ancient times and has generally been understood by all cultures and races. There is actually a class of chemicals called Androgens, produced in the testes (unique to males) and other organs of the body, which are responsible for the growth of hair, as well as many male behavioral characteristics. Apparently, upon “discovery” of these characteristics, your employees have become fearful and confused.
As a scientist who has studied Androgens and their influence on male behavior for decades, I wish to advise your employees that this is nothing to be feared and actually makes the world a better place in which to live. Actually, without the male Androgens you would not have a very big consumer base for your facial hair shaving products. Furthermore, you would have a society that lacks the best in what men provide. You would no longer have fathers providing for families, brave policemen and firefighters who keep our communities safe, or soldiers who are willing to defend freedoms with their lives.
On behalf of 2ndVote’s more than 365,000 subscribers and members, we ask that you refrain from demeaning the men who make up your customer base by promoting a misleading narrative regarding male behavior. Reasonable men and women alike condemn harassment, abuse, assault, boorishness, and so on. However, they realize these behaviors are inappropriate because of their values, and not because their personal care provider created a commercial. In fact, the divisiveness promoted by the so-called “toxic masculinity” narrative does a great disservice to all men and women. As a father and grandfather of women, I want them to live in a society that values the best traits of masculine behavior, just as we value the best traits of feminine behavior. The unique attributes of each sex are complementary to each other and a benefit to the world we live in, not a hindrance.
If your company continues to push this trope in its advertising, our organization will continue to promote the products produced by your competitors as viable alternatives. Your company may have the freedom of speech, but your customers also have the freedom to choose with whom they do business. To this end, we believe the best companies to patronize are those that stay neutral on complex social debates—companies that put their customers over controversial ad campaigns can be appreciated by men and women of all races, religions, political philosophies, and socio-economic backgrounds.
In the past week, we have asked our readers about their reaction to your latest ad. The findings are quite interesting: over 50% of those responding to our online survey are consumers of Gillette products. However, 83% of respondents indicated they were “very likely” to purchase your competitor’s products after learning about the ad in question.
Please feel free to pass this consumer data to your marketing team. It may be best to understand what your customers think before your shareholders receive critical financial data as to how your marketing strategy is impacting your bottom line in the future.
David L. Black, Ph.D.
President and Chairman
See 2ndVote’s research on the best alternatives to Gillette products here.