The Worst a Brand Can Get

Forget plastics. Numbers are more pliable than any polymer and more credible, to the incredulous, than all the words of a believer in God, than all the world’s believers, than all the God-loving prayers by people of humility and kindness; because to only believe in what you can count is to lose count of the obvious: that it takes very little for someone to act like a fool.

Ask the brand managers at Gillette or the executives at Procter & Gamble what made them believe men would agree to be eunuchs. Ask them why they aired a commercial lathered in propaganda and soaked in politics to insult consumers. Ask them why they destroyed a 30-year-old slogan, “The Best a Man Can Get,” with a 90-second indictment of “toxic masculinity.”

If they have the cojones to answer—as if they ever had them—expect to hear a lot about numbers. Numbers about numbers, with charts and graphics, backed by “research” and reports. Numbers about response rates and purchasing power. Numbers about polls and numbers about what polls well. Numbers that prove the point by missing it entirely, despite the fact that business is not a science and no paid liar is a true scientist.

What Gillette has here is not a failure to communicate but the inability to even fail at communicating.

No doubt the company has numbers.

What it does not have is a record number of sales.

For that, the geniuses at Gillette should look themselves in the shaving mirror. If they do, they will see they have company.

Among the rejects, everyone is a victim of his own hubris.

Each repeats what the first one said: Me too.

Photo credit:  Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Want news updates?

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.