Gillette and the #MeToo Movement
(6 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
On January 13, 2019, the Gillette Company aired the advertisement “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be.” After the airing, both the company and its chief executive officer were subjected to backlash. The advertisement, launched amid the Gillette brand’s declining market share, addressed the #MeToo movement, sexism in the boardroom, and bullying, and asked viewers, “Is this the best a man can get?” Although the advertisement was intended to challenge men to end toxic masculinity and abuse, it became both the most liked and the most disliked advertisement in YouTube’s history. Six months after the airing, The Procter & Gamble Company, reported a US$8.3 million writedown in its Shave Care business, represented by the Gillette brand, leading some observers to wonder whether the polarizing reactions to the advertisement had led to the writedown. What was The Gillette Company’s fiduciary responsibility in the era of the #MeTooMovement? Should its chief executive officer and visionary of the controversial advertisement be fired? Should he be promoted for confronting such a serious societal issue? Or should no change be made in the corporate structure?
This case is designed for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in strategic management, business policy, or corporate strategy. In a strategy course, it is recommended for later in the course to illustrate corporate governance. The case can also be used in an elective course on corporate governance or consumer advertising . After working through the case and assignment questions students will be able to
- generate a discussion on corporate governance in the context of corporate officers’ fiduciary responsibility to shareholders and other stakeholders;
- illustrate how a firm can sometimes take polarizing positions on social issues to benefit the business; and
- assess the impact of brand marketing on company performance and consumer preferences.
United States; United States, Large, 2019
$5.30 CAD / $5.00 USD Printed Copy
$4.50 CAD / $4.25 USD Permissions
$4.50 CAD / $4.25 USD Digital Download