I noted back in January that Gillette ran the risk of becoming a cautionary tale for Marketing 101 courses. This has now come to pass, as P&G recently announced that they were taking an 8 billion dollar write down on the brand. The whole purpose of advertising is to increase the value of a brand. Yet the Gillette marketing team poisoned the brand in the mind of many of its target customers when they accused the average shaver of toxic masculinity.
The defense of the ad is especially humorous. The excuse is that the brand was already losing value when they took their infamous shot at their core customer base, so they aren’t to blame for the loss in goodwill. This would be like a fire department explaining that a home was already on fire when they showed up and sprayed it and neighboring homes with gasoline. The job of fire departments is to extinguish fires, not inflame them, and the job of marketing departments is to create goodwill or slow the loss of goodwill, not torch it.