Surveys Show ‘Mostly Positive’ Response to Grey’s Transgender Gillette Ad

By Patrick Coffee 

No email death threats or anti-Semitic tweets from “Dr.” David Duke this time.

Grey and Gillette continued their #purpose-driven effort to trigger every “red pill” homophobe on Reddit this week with a legitimately touching ad in which a father teaches his transgender son to shave.

The surprising thing may be how little anger this work from Grey Canada and the P&G brand inspired.


According to a report published today on Mobile Marketer, the 108,000 mentions Gillette received on social in the week since the ad first aired were 59% positive and 41% negative. No one in between, we guess?

Approximately 1/3 of social engagements and 1/5 of brand mentions specifically referenced the transgender theme, and star Samson Bonkeabantu Brown scored tens of thousands of engagements as well.

Of course, that 41% negative sentiment includes quite a few people, many of whom saw fit to create YouTube videos and monetize their outrage. We are all micro-influencers.

And the question follows: will it boost sales?

Last month, P&G reported a 1% quarterly drop in sales of grooming products, which include Gillette razors. But those numbers were sliding long before January’s ad asking men to consider their masculinity and its place in modern society attracted so much anger from people with nothing better to do.

Even Barron’s concluded that the ad did not facilitate the sales decline. As a P&G representative told us at the time, “We continue to acquire new users via the Gillette Shave Club and have not seen any immediate softening of our broader retail business.”

P&G also says online razor sales have increased by double digits, so maybe Grey should keep making ads like these and ignore the haters.

As any smart marketer or rational person will tell you, social media is a big bubble of negativity that brings out the absolute worst in people and is not at all reflective of any brand’s total consumer base. But we do admit to taking a certain guilty pleasure in reading a Yahoo post that consists of tweeters roasting Tammy Lauren, or whatever her name is.