Gillette's 'We Believe' Ad: Challenging Toxic Masculinity?

P&G exec behind viral Gillette's 'We Believe' Ad talks toxic masculinity

In today’s rapidly evolving marketing landscape, brands are constantly challenged to adapt their communication strategies. Gillette’s ‘We Believe’ Ad, released in 2019, took a bold and controversial stance on toxic masculinity. This blogpost examines the implications of using potentially offensive content in advertisements, explores the steps in communication design, and delves into the world of cause marketing.

Section 1: 'We Believe' Ad Stokes a Debate

The Gillette’s ‘We Believe’ Ad sparked a heated discussion among viewers, with many praising the brand for addressing significant social issues, while others criticized it for being overly political. This section delves into the polarized reactions that the ad received and highlights the power of advertising to provoke societal conversations.

Section 2: Background Note

To understand the context of the ‘We Believe’ ad, it is crucial to examine the societal backdrop that influenced Gillette’s decision. This section explores the changing marketing communications environment, where brands are increasingly expected to take a stance on social issues to resonate with their target audience.

Section 3: The Prelude to the Ad

Prior to the release of the ‘We Believe’ ad, Gillette had a longstanding history of portraying traditional masculinity in its marketing campaigns. This section discusses the shift in Gillette’s approach and the reasoning behind their decision to challenge toxic masculinity head-on.

Section 4: The Controversial Commercial

Analyzing the content of the ad itself, this section explores the key messages conveyed and the creative choices made by Gillette. It examines the use of storytelling, visual elements, and emotional appeal to deliver a powerful and thought-provoking message.

Section 5: Positive & Negative Reactions

Despite the controversy, the ‘We Believe’ ad received significant praise from various quarters. This section highlights the positive reactions, emphasizing how the ad resonated with individuals who appreciated Gillette’s bold stance against toxic masculinity. Conversely, the ad also faced substantial backlash from certain groups who felt that it unfairly generalized masculinity or injected unnecessary politics into a commercial message. This section examines the criticisms leveled against the ad and explores the nuances of the debate. 


Gillette’s ‘We Believe’ ad serves as a prime example of how advertising can become a catalyst for societal discussions. By addressing the issue of toxic masculinity, Gillette’s ‘We Believe’ Ad not only succeeded in sparking conversations but also showcased the power of purpose-driven marketing. However, the ad also faced criticism, underscoring the challenges that brands face when navigating sensitive topics. Ultimately, this controversial campaign has paved the way for a broader examination of the role of brands in shaping cultural narratives. Also check out Zara’s Logo Redesign: A Bold Step into the Future?