Tongues wagged for a week about a Gillette ad purporting to set behavioral standards for US males, with many including me, criticizing the corporation for sanctimony and stereotyping. The ad dominated social media like tabloid Twitter for days. Another ad aired during the championship football games on Sunday, sponsored by Verizon. “The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here,” stands in sharp contrast to the Gillette messaging.
Verizon showed how advertising can be done effectively while carrying a community message.
“The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here” comprises a dozen athletes saved by first responders. The ad pays tribute to those first responders. According to CNBC who quoted Verizon’s exec VP Diego Scotti:
“40,000 people in America every year wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for first responders … And in general marketing and brands, those stories are not being told … I just call this a real indication of, or a salute to those people who serve and they deserve the highest the highest [sic] respect from all of us.”
I’d never thought about how many people are saved by first responders. The ad made me think about it.
Verizon is going for a personal connection with the commercial, giving a nod to people who deserve it. Most first responder agencies use Verizon. I didn’t know that either.
Instead of grabbing a soapbox to scold and proselytize political views, Verizon chose an uplifting theme and got its brand messaging across in a meaningful way. More importantly, Verizon chose a message of unity instead of divisiveness.
I confess a financial relationship with Verizon. I pay them every month for my phone service. I’ve used the carrier for many years. It’s one of the few payments I don’t mind making every month. I figured I should disclose that.
At any rate, I thought the Gillette ad was a disaster. I discussed it on social media (Facebook), and I rarely discuss politics anywhere any more other than in personal conversations with rational people. While Gillette has every right to air whatever their marketing people come up with, I personally have the right to crit it. The commercial, in my opinion, should’ve led to a reduction in forces in the Gillette marketing camp. Note, I plan to keep using Venus razors for the time being. I admit my annoyance with the ad did make me consider returning to a retro razor that isn’t made of plastic.
Give me buycotts over boycotts any day of the week.
I figured since the Verizon ad touched me and met my preferences for what a commercial should be, I’d call attention to the ad.
My daughter Rebecca summed up my family’s feelings after the Verizon ad aired during the game. “See how that works, Gillette?”
(Kay B. Day/Jan. 22, 2019)