There is no such thing as bad news, or so the saying goes. Wearing my PR hat, this is simply not true - I know how long it can take to repair a reputation after it has been damaged by bad news. In the case of the Gillette social purpose ad that has caused such a backlash however, maybe bad news is indeed good news.
There is no doubt the advertisement is a brave corporate statement, aligning Gillette with consumers concerned by #MeToo and to recasting masculinity in a more contemporary light by re-framing its infamous tagline "Gillette, the best a man can get" to "the best a man can be".
I quite liked the ad. Yes, it could have been a bit more subtle, but the male behaviour I saw in the advertisement rang true for me. I do wonder which men are 'raging' about it - are they, dare I say, largely middle-aged and well off?
Mark Ritson, whose opinions I respect, was very vocal in his dislike of the ad but one point he made regarded the lack of razors in the ad - unlike the Nike Nick Kapaernick ad where lots of Nike clothing appeared - did stand out.
Because in the days following the ads release, I spotted masses of Gilette razor adds across London. Liverpool St Station alone is plastered with posters talking about reducing irritation with a Gillette shave.
So there must have been a strategy to support the social purpose ad with a product push. And by all accounts, despite Ritson's predictions of a backlash in sales, the figures are looking good. Gillette may well have the last word when they show that grooming sales have risen against a recent trend of declining interest in razors.
But in Gillette’s case there is a bigger price to pay. There is a special place in marketing hell for companies that not only waste their marketing budgets but actually invest that money into things that ultimately make their situation much worse. That’s going to be the cost of this foray into brand purpose for Gillette. It has spent its own money to make its still excellent commercial situation indelibly less positive at a time when it can ill afford the misstep, given the many alternatives vying for its sales. And for that we should stand back and appreciate what might turn out to be the worst marketing move of the whole year.