Everyday I work a little extra to be a better marketer. I am too young to talk about marketing and its jargon. But then, I always want to be ‘too young’ to talk about marketing. Perhaps, the day I grow up and think I know everything, I would cease to be in this profession. Now thats a good enough disclaimer to begin with. However, I live, breathe, manage brands for a living. I watch people, I see stories and I admire brands that ‘get’ their consumers.

And I am annoyed. I am miffed. Infact, I am pretty pissed Gillette. Partly, because whoever is managing you/ your stories in India needs to go stand next to the guy who shaves every morning/ or once a week. And mostly I am pissed because a lot of us marketers give example of P&G brands to our young grads on ‘thats how great campaigns are run’.

So here are four reasons I am pissed. Because Gillette, We need to talk!

  • Where is Your Insight dude?

You guys are making shaving products for over a hundred years now. Not only that; made millions of dollars from it. There is a simple truth about shaving. Its a chore. Show me a man that wakes up in the morning with a spring in his step and says, “I can’t wait to shave! Its my favorite part of the day.”

Men don’t like shaving! Its as simple as that. And thats why they like Gillette. You make this chore easy for them.

We came out of 80’s & 90’s when one HAD to go to office clean shaven. Suddenly, its alright to sport a stubble. And given a choice, some men wont shave everyday. Would they still use your product when they have to? Perhaps! But if you create campaigns like #shaveorcrave you are making yourself a laughing stock of the social world here. This TVC & Cinema Ad about asking men to shave twice a day? *slow clap* It made me feel like you are selling toothpaste and just to increase sales, you are asking people to ‘DO IT TWICE’ a day. Instead of finding insights about your new age consumer who doesn’t have to be clean shaven to wear a black tie outfit and create products for him, you are totally losing your tangent here.

The woman in me is laughing at you and the marketer in me is pained at this.

  • You are disrespecting your consumer

Ok! Seriously. First rule of working with your consumers is ‘making them care’. Your latest campaign about #smellymalestubble is degrading and what’s with this use of word ‘smelly?’ Its a stubble, not a castaway unkept beard! How bout asking in your office, which woman has refused kissing a guy because he wasn’t clean shaven? And if these questions aren’t allowed in office, ask in a focussed group. Ask your agency. Heck, keep a beard yourself and see if your love life takes a downward spiral.

Every other man sports a stubble from time to time. It doesn’t make him any less well groomed and please ( for the love of Gillette Razor) it doesn’t make him smelly.Perhaps you forget that these so called smelly men are your consumers too. How can you make them feel bad (read terrible) about something thats an expression of their self? How are you different than fairness creams then?

And how do I speak with such authority about men? Well! funny as it may sound, I do know what it is means to be a marketer and work with male TG. Ask me about testosterone driven consumers and we could exchange notes. And if there is one thing I have learnt in a decade of working; it is that you don’t disrespect your very own consumers- even if they don’t buy your product at a high frequency.

Also I am a woman. I do understand men; quite a bit.

  • Your Creatives are in plain bad taste

Here is my reading of your last few campaigns. If your aren’t clean shaven, you wont get intimate with women! But if you use Gillette, better still use it twice a day, you will get laid! Suddenly, you make Axe deodorant ads look good. Please for the love of Kotler, Kapferer and and other marketing Gods you believe in. STOP IT!!!

gillete smelly stubble

This Print Ad makes my skin crawl. How did you even put it out?

  • Gillette meet Ryan Gosling. Ryan meet Gillette

Last but not the least, its 2013 (very soon 2014). Women love Ryan Gosling. Nerds are intellectual badasses. Geeks are the new cool. And guess what! Stubble is HOT. Lets go back to the drawing board and make these guys love Gillette like every forty year old man does.


I am sure generations of men have loved your brand because you made them feel good, confident and smart. Then why are you treating the new age man as complexed ill groomed guy who needs to shave to get a date? If one of my friends thinks that stubble makes him any less of a well groomed man, I’d really have to give his self esteem a ‘razor sharp’ talk!

I rest my case.


Talking of Insights Trippy Friend Tarun ran a quick survey during #shaveorcrave last year,  to prove that women don’t particularly like clean-shaven men.  And if you want to read more from his last year’s blog on how data can be twisted to fit into a campaign, read this .

My Take? A company that changed the way India shaves, could do so much better than – “Smelly Stubble Campaign” . I’m waiting & Watching. 


Source for Gillette Print Ad

Source for Ryan Gosling Pic

( Shoe Girl likes brands. She lives brands. And she had to write this. Because someone had to tell Gillette – “We need to Talk” . She thinks women do it the best! Also she totally digs Ryan Gosling! )