Schick shows a more positive version of locker room talk

The razor brand brings its "The Man I Am" campaign to Canada by hosting a conversation about masculinity between hockey players.

“Locker room talk” suggests a certain kind of conversation these days. Razor brand Schick Hydro is hoping the locker room can be a place for a more positive reflection on what it means to “be a man” as it brings the “The Man I Am” campaign to the Canadian market.

Christine Jew, brand manager for men’s shaving at Edgewell Personal Care, says the results from the U.S. campaign showed that the strategy of contributing to diverse portrayals of masculinity resonated with male millennials, convincing the company to bring it north of the border.

Gillette has been the razor brand dominating the conversation around masculinity as of late, with its Super Bowl ad aiming to be a rallying cry to put an end to toxic masculinity and the harm it causes. But Schick’s “The Man I Am” platform, created by MullenLowe and launched in the U.S. in the fall, creates an interesting complement to that approach: while Gillette is showing the negative aspects of masculinity that men should be rejecting, Schick’s ads spotlight things like individuality and authenticity that should be celebrated.

For instance, the Canada-specific video features current Toronto Maple Leaf left winger Zack Hyman and now-retired Gary Roberts talking in a locker room about what made them the men they are today. Schick’s ads star “real guys” who look markedly different from the actors typically seen in razor ads, with each spot showing how they express themselves in hobbies like dancing, singing and beat-boxing.

In addition to being an opportunity to leverage Schick’s sponsorship of the Maple Leafs and connect directly with the team’s fans, Jew says both Hyman (with his children’s book writing) and Roberts (who has since become a role model and volunteers for young people since leaving the game) were good fits for the Canadian launch because of how they embody the ideals of the platform.

“We wanted to shine the light on the fact that all men have multiple sides to them and even some of the toughest professional athletes are no exception,” Jew says. “This content series dives into their perspectives on what it means to be the men they are. Young men look to star athletes for inspiration and by having Zach and Gary open up about what made them the men they are today, we hope will inspire new conversations around a new diverse celebration of masculinity.”

The U.S. campaign also featured athlete-focused content, with NBA player Kevin Love hosting several people for similar conversations about masculinity.

Jew says the target for the campaign is men under the age of 35, who tend to define themselves by “their personality, not their gender” and are responsive to more modern and diverse ideas when it comes to what it means to “be a man.”

“The target market is accepting of all types of men and embraces and celebrates all facets of masculinity,” she says. “This target market is looking for the personalized shave experience and understands there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ type of man.”

The new video is being rolled out to people in the Toronto area through a paid social push, digital display ads and posts on Hyman’s own social accounts. It is also being aired on Leafs Nation Network and on digital screens outside the Scotiabank Arena. MLSE and Victory produced the video, with Paradigm handling PR efforts.