I just got through saying that Gillette razors are one of my Lovemarks. But yesterday I read about Gillette pulling an embarrassing and maddening, albeit successful, stunt.
In a nutshell, Gillette created a
"user-generated-content program that let visitors to SI.com's  swimsuit issue site create a "mashup" of video footage of four models who appeared in the issue."
This is problematic for obvious reasons, and as one might expect, thousands of videos were created and it ranked high on Facebook and YouTube. But there are two items that really got me. First,
"the effort included a college tour to 10 campuses, giving out some 10,000 Fusion Razors. 'It got the product into the hands of consumers to turn them into brand loyalists. We hit the 18-24 target demo,' [Doug Brodman of MediaVest] said, adding that the company will do it again this year."
I work with college students and I hate to see companies take advantage of them. They could have used a less debasing method to turn them on to their brand, at the very least.
Second, it isn't just Gillette vs. Consumer. It isn't a faceless brand owned by the monolithic Proctor & Gamble vs. 47 million Joe Consumers who read that issue and visited the website (21 million of them college-aged). No, it's an assembly of individual citizens with consciences and families and hopes who agreed through a series of personal decisions as employees and sub-contracted employees of Gillette and SI to contribute each of their various media-related talents toward selling razors via sex appeal vs. these people's neighbors.
Do you see that? It isn't a robot trying desperately to associate attractive women with a tool for cutting facial hair. It's a guy named Jason Temming who works for MediaVest and sits at at his desk thinking about the younger SI readers and saying, "We needed to invite them in a compelling way." It's a photographer and a graphics editor and a copywriter and a contract manager and a model and a..., all of whom decided to invite their neighbors (compellingly) into something inane and dishonorable.
Marketers, both future and current, I'm begging you to think about what you say yes to. There are real people on the other end of your work. And there are real people collaborating with you, and real people in your ads.
Love them all as Jesus would.