Gillette shows a transgender man’s first shave

The brand continues to define itself with a modern approach to masculinity by showing a milestone between a father and son.

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Gillette is continuing on its path of showing a more healthy and diverse view of masculinity in a new ad from one of its Canadian agency partners.

The new video was quietly released on Gillette’s Facebook page Saturday, created by agency Grey Canada and Toronto production house Skin & Bones. In it, Toronto-based transgender activist and artist Samson Bonkeabantu Brown talks about his experience transitioning and the time he spent thinking about the man he’d like to become. It then shows Samson’s father guiding him through his first shave, which is done with the guidance and support that will feel familiar to anyone who went through the milestone as a young man.

“As I dove deeper into the stories of the subjects, I really started to understand how big of a moment the ‘first shave’ was to them,” says Angie Bird, who directed the video. “I think it’s important for brands to connect to a larger audience and tell stories that we haven’t seen before.”

Gillette’s tagline has taken on new meaning for the razor brand since January, when it launched a video directly addressing toxic masculinity in society, calling on its male target to set a better example for “the men of tomorrow.” While the brand faced some blowback and critiques from a vocal minority, the campaign was otherwise well-received. And despite calls for boycotts from men who felt “attacked,” Gillette parent company P&G said sales for its razors stayed relatively the same immediately following the video’s release, with memberships to its subscription service continuing to grow.

In its most recent quarterly earnings, sales in P&G’s broader grooming category (which also includes brands like Braun and Venus) were relatively flat, with the company saying a small volume decrease globally was offset by growth in developed markets, as well as price increases for its products. P&G has been increasing it prices after years of keeping them low to compete with private label, based on a trend of CPG companies believing consumers will pay more for a product if they feel trust and a connection to a brand, driven by strong messaging.