Gillette stirred up a lot of controversy last week with the release of its newest ad “We Believe.” In a nutshell, the spot took the razor brand’s 30-year-old slogan of “the best a man can get” and changed it to “the best men can be,” challenging “traditional”-yet-toxic ideas of masculinity (such as men ogling women or bullies chasing a young man) and encouraging viewers to set good examples for future generations of boys.
Despite any personal opinions or feelings viewers may have about Gillette’s ad, this controversy has certainly worked wonders in terms of generating views and engagement for the clip across social video platforms. Let’s take a look at how it’s performing so far, starting with the platform where the ad really took off — Twitter.
Twitter Provides a Conversation Outlet for “We Believe”
Gillette’s distribution strategy for its “We Believe” ad was as typical as any company’s might be — take the 30-second and one-minute-30-second versions of the ad, and post both to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. However, the results of this strategy were very untypical; not only did the longer versions of the ad gain the most views across all three platforms, but the ad uploaded to Twitter pulled in the most overall views by far. Within one day of going live on the tweeting platform, the 1:30 cut of the “We Believe” ad generated more than 13 million views! Compare this to 7 million on YouTube for the same time period, and just over 3.2 million on Facebook. To date, Gillette’s ad has pulled in 27.2 million views on Twitter, 19.8 million on YouTube, and 7.2 million on Facebook.
While Gillette has used Twitter as part of its social media strategy before, it’s never seen this amount of success with video on that platform. To put the numbers above into greater perspective, consider that over the last three years, Gillette has posted 184 videos to Twitter, and the brand has used the platform as its main video distribution outlet ahead of Facebook and YouTube, respectively. Those 184 videos have generated around 10 million views to date, but “We Believe” reached 2.4x those views in under three days!
— Gillette (@Gillette) January 14, 2019
In a world where Facebook and YouTube claim the majority of online video views (as proven by the billions of views every month we see on the leaderboards), these stats should make all brands take note: Twitter is not a social video platform to overlook. If anything, the Twitter data surrounding Gillette’s ad proves the tweeting site is still a fantastic place to spark conversation around brands’ videos, especially when they hit on controversial topics.
Millions of Engagements Equal High Reach
Speaking of Facebook and YouTube, these two platforms played a very unique role in the way viewers engaged with Gillette’s “We Believe” ad. While Twitter claimed a good share of the ad’s engagements at 825K favorites, comments, and retweets to date, the spot’s YouTube upload has taken the lead over these last three days and landed at 937K engagements and 2.5x the average engagement rates on that platform. But the most interesting aspect of the engagements around “We Believe” is the attention the YouTube video received on Facebook when shared to that platform: the non-native shares on Facebook received 1.1 million engagements! Compare this to the ad’s native Facebook upload, which only received about 329K shares, less than half of those seen even on Twitter.
So what does this mean? Essentially, viewers of Gillette’s newest ad have clearly chosen Twitter and YouTube as the primary platforms for viewing and interacting with the spot. Now, unfortunately for Gillette, a lot of these interactions have been negative. Currently, “We Believe” has pulled in over one million dislikes on YouTube, an unparalleled ratio of 2:1 dislikes to likes. For reference, Justin Bieber’s “Baby” (which held the unfortunate title of the most-disliked video on YouTube for 8 years until December 2018) has a dislike-to-like ratio of 48.94%; compare that to 66.45% for Gillette and you can start to understand the level of negative sentiment surrounding its newest ad.
Gillette Tops Nike’s 2018 Ad Push in Terms of Impact
It’s not all doom and gloom for Gillette — far from it. Many people are comparing “We Believe” to an ad Nike released in autumn 2018 featuring NFL player Colin Kaepernick. That spot, dubbed “Dream Crazy,” was also highly controversial as it addressed the issue of NFL players kneeling in protest against police brutality and racial injustice. Both ads make very bold statements about divisive social topics, but only Gillette’s came out on top in terms of generating talk, reach, and reactions.
Both Nike’s “Dream Crazy” and Gillette’s “We Believe” garnered similar view counts on YouTube in their first three days: 15.8 million and 14.5 million, respectively. However, Nike’s ad obtained 153K positive likes on YouTube, whereas Gillette’s ad on that platform pulled in 540K positives. Gillette also managed to generate more engagement and online discussion about its YouTube ad, which saw a solid 2.5x engagement rate after three days (1.5x higher than the platform’s baseline average); Nike’s ad, on the other hand, only saw a three-day engagement rate of 0.4x. Additionally, when we looked at Gillette’s engagement rates from the last three years on Twitter, the brand has obviously reached far more people than ever before; Gillette claimed almost 43K total engagements over the last three years not counting “We Believe,” but hit 753K engagements on Twitter in just two days, a comparative reach of 1766%!
Sometimes, in the world of the marketing and PR, controversy is what gets your brand to the forefront, and Gillette currently knows this better than anyone. Will the brand choose to release similarly-inciting content in the future? We’ll have to wait and see.