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The Best a Brand Can Get? Discussing that Gillette campaign

  • Opinion
  • January 22, 2019
  • Michael Goldthorpe
The Best a Brand Can Get? Discussing that Gillette campaign

Simon says, “Start with why”. Why? Because “no-one buys what you do, they buy why you do it.” Those are the headlines from Simon Sinek’s famous Ted talk. And his Apple makes a lot of sense.

But 40 million views later it’s all getting a little cliché and confused. And the most recent cobbled-together, virtue-signalling bollocks from Gillette is a great example of “Why not?”.

Why do we all like ‘why’?

Like most of the industry, we like the cut of Simon’s jib. He struck a chord and communicated with common sense. His genius was to summarise a lot of brand theory in some simple whiteboard circles and a catchphrase. It’s good stuff.

But the challenge of simplifying anything is forgetting the devil in the detail. In this case, Gillette missed the purpose of their business to create a new purpose for their business.

Rather than build brand around razors, they dived down the rabbit hole of social self-importance to lecture their target market instead. Most people don’t seem to like it.

What’s the point of purpose?

Having a purpose is no bad thing. The commercial point is to make people feel good about your brand so they buy more of your stuff. It’s brand-building 101. And it usually comes best from start-ups. Patagonia. Tick. Eat My Lunch. Tick. Even Dove’s campaign for real beauty. Tick.

Where it goes wrong is where it doesn’t ring true. Remember when Pepsi tried to fix racism with a music video? While no self-respecting human would disagree with the premise of Gillette’s ad, there’s no believable link between a smoother chin and a better society. It’s just awkward.

I don’t want to wake up woke.

Gillette missed the point of Sinek’s why. I don’t buy a razor to change the world. I buy it to shave. And in that early morning moment with me and the mirror I’m happy to pay more for ‘the best a man can get’. That’s Gillette’s why – and it’s worked for years.

It’s not all clean cut. 

The challenge of this marketing stuff, is that it’s not easy. Some brands can really benefit from a bold, relevant and genuine social purpose. Others, like Nike, can happily surf the zeitgeist and reap the rewards. But not everyone can. And not everyone should.

Sometimes you’re a yoghurt, an office chair, or a razor. Remember It’s okay to be proud of that. Or as Gillette used to say – “the best a man can get.”

That’s what I reckon, what do you think?

​ ​

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Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • The Register team
Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

As of 3pm on March 21, a wide range of semi-automatic weapons have been reclassified under section 74A(c) of the Arms Act as requiring an E endorsement on a firearms license. This means they can no longer be sold to those with A-category gun licenses, and their purchase now requires police approval.

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Retailers gather for insights at NZ Retail and The Register's breakfast

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • The Register
Retailers gather for insights at NZ Retail and The Register's breakfast

NZ Retail and The Register’s sales and marketing breakfast saw dozens of Kiwi retailers come together to network, sharing tips and tricks and absorbing expert advice.

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Who stole Christmas?

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • Kelly Withers
Who stole Christmas?

Results are starting to trickle in from Christmas 2018/2019, and for many retailers, they're a little disappointing. Paydar chief executive and co-founder Kelly Withers explores the data.

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  • News
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