Med anledning av reklamfilmen ovan samt övriga filmer i samma serie skickade jag följande mejl till Martin Milan, chef för reklambyrån Greys San Fransisco-kontor och ansvarig för bland annat Gillettes ”global brand management engagements”:
I am emailing you regarding the series of commercials called “Gillette Venus Shaving Tips”.
I have two kids: Ben and Bo, featured in the image attached.
Bo is three and a half years old and enjoys books, playing games on her iPad, putting up shows with her stuffed animals, playing football (or soccer, as you would say), chasing our cat and climbing on stuff. She falls over at least 20 times a day and is always bruised somewhere. On new years eve she broke her arm during an intense playing session with her friend Jack. Anyway, she heals quickly.
Ben is 9 months old, so he’s mostly interested in lamps and chewing on stuff. Which accidentally is the very same thing Bo was interested in when she was a baby.
It’s freaking me out how similar my two kids are in terms of likes and dislikes so far. I almost believe that Ben eventually will like the same toys that Bo’s playing with now.
But I guess that will all change. And it’s making me sad.
You see Bo was born with a vagina, a uterus and other female parts (I don’t know them all, I’m into communications, not biology) and Ben was born with a penis and two testicels.
So according to all I’ve heard Bo will in a matter of years start caring more about what colours suits her than what colours she love. And according to the advertising you are ultimately in charge of at your agency it’s not long until she needs to learn how to shave. In the commercials to which I refer the children featured wonder how often one should shave ones legs (it’s up to you, but some people like to shave every day!) and they learn that during the summer season it is a good idea to shave the bikini area more often than during the winter season.
In Sweden, where I live, your commercials have raised up quite a stir. I wouldn’t be too surprised if they’ve led to at least some talk in the states as well. Am I wrong?
So I guess you’ve heard all the arguments about “let kids be kids” and “stop telling my eleven year old daughter to start shaving her labium” or “stop talking to girls like if they are imbeciles”.
I’m not gonna go there. I just want to know, to learn, if you will, what the thought process was behind these commercials.
I work at an agency myself so I know how things go. The clients want something (most of the times to sell more stuff) and the agency puts together a team of people who are good at talking about stuff, writing about stuff, shaping and colouring stuff and who knows what kinds of stuff certain kinds of people crave and need, sometimes even before the people know it themselves.
You know, the usual copywriters, planners, creative directors, user experience architects, project managers, art directors, key account managers and what have you.
Anyway, I know about the amount of time and money that goes into a project of the size “selling Procter & Gamble’s shaving equipment”. You must have done an extreme amount of extensive research before you decided on a type consumer. And even if the type consumer was already decided for you by Gillette, you must have spent a huge amount of time discussing the best ways to talk to her. You must have put so much effort into coming up with these commercials. Thought real long and hard.
So, Milan, leading the global brand management for Gillette you must know a lot about young girls that I don’t know. And that’s why I’m asking you this:
At around what time in my kids life should I expect to see the_big_change take place? The_big_change being the point in their lives when my daughter finds hair on her legs, in her armpits and on her genitales and goes “I NEED TO BE RID OF THAT” while my son discovers the same kind of hair on his body and continues to go about his day, reading books, playing games on his iPad and playing soccer. Or whatever his interests might be that day.
I really would like to know this, because it’s making me so sad to think that the day will come when my daughter will start spending her time thinking about how to change her appearance instead of changing things around her (like messing up stuff and creating new stuff out of stuff) while my son will just keep on going ‘bout his business (messing up stuff and creating new stuff out of stuff). I feel like I need to be properly prepared for this.
Can you help me out?