Nike vs Gillette: The Two Faces of Feminism

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve no doubt seen Nike’s new “Dream Crazier” advert, voiced by Serena Williams. (Link here)

It is raw, emotive and addresses REAL issues that women face not only in sports, but in every aspect of their everyday lives:

“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic,” she says. “If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, we’re delusional. When we stand for something, we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just plain crazy.”

The 90 second masterpiece then goes on to showcase a range inspirational women across the sporting world that have defied the odds to become icons and history makers in their own right, irrespective of their gender.

I challenge any young girl not to feel inspired and empowered after watching that advert.

I certainly did!

Now compare this to the Gillette advert released earlier this year. Their marketing team tried to engage the feminist movement too, but from a male standpoint. (Link here)

And they fucked it up royally.
Read the Youtube comments if you fancy a laugh.

Gillette tarred an entire gender with the actions of past generations and tried to tell men how they “should” behave.

Coming from a brand that was only too happy to depict scantily-clad women fawning over smooth-chinned men less than 10 years ago, it seemed a little disingenuous.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45, and around 84 young men are taking their life every week.

And here we have a global brand trying to shame half the world’s population into questioning their own beliefs and actions because of the behaviour of a select few.

It was shockingly ill-planned and completely irresponsible.

If this advert was re-purposed and gender was replaced with all the historically negative aspects of a race or religion, there would be uproar. And rightly so!

Feminism is about elevating women, not vilifying men.

Due to the rise in social media and digital consumption, we now have generations of ultra self-conscious young people that continuously benchmark themselves against others in order to feel validation or motivation.

These generations are the ones most likely to be uber-receptive to emotional manipulation by brands.

Whether it’s for honourable reasons or not, it’s great that leading global brands are trying to tackle huge social issues such as feminism. But these two adverts are testament to the fact that feminism can easily be misconstrued by even the most elite marketers:

Would you rather have your daughter being told to compare herself to Serena Williams thinking “if she did it, you might too”?

Or have your son being told to compare himself to Harvey Weinstein thinking “if he did it, you might too”?

Same principle. Two very different outcomes.

To take a line from Voltaire (and “Uncle Ben” Parker): “With great power comes great responsibility”.

These brands have a social responsibility to their consumers.
Yes- of course they have to make sales. But do it in a way that doesn’t damage the fabric of our society.

Feminism isn’t a marketing trend to be jumped on. It’s a deep-seated, multi-faceted global issue that needs to be tackled intelligently, especially by those with such astronomical reach and influence.

Advertising should build people up and inspire them, not make them question who they are and whether they are doing enough.

Don’t shame people into behaving in a certain way. Show them what they are capable of and let them forge their own path.

What do you guys think?

Who tackled the issue better- Nike or Gillette?