An advertisement from the watch company Egard made in response to Gillette’s “toxic masculinity” commercial had more than 190,000 likes on YouTube along with more than 2 million views as of Jan. 22.
The ad shows men as smiling heroes and flashes statistics meant to reveal the sacrifices and suffering men undergo in society. This is in contrast to the Gillette ad that shows men as bullies and abusers with few virtues or good qualities.
Egard CEO Ilan Srulovicz said he made the ad as a personal statement, but then decided to put his company name behind it.
“You know, for a company like Gillette to open up a commercial with a term like ‘toxic masculinity,’ I just don’t feel like masculinity is toxic,” Srulovicz told Fox & Friends. “I think masculinity can be beautiful.”
The controversial Gillette ad was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” according to Srulovicz. He sees the Gillette ad as part of a larger movement against masculinity.
“There’s been a movement in society I feel that’s just been painting men with a broad brush,” Srulovicz told Fox.
To bring the message home, Srulovicz includes statistics in the commercial while narrating about the sacrifices men make and the dangers they face. Statistics like “Men account for 93 percent of workplace fatalities,” “Men comprise over 97 percent of war fatalities,” and “79 percent of all homicide victims are male,” are included to combat the toxic image of men pushed by Gillette.
Egard began business in 2012 with luxury watches made in Switzerland and Japan, according to the company website.
Ilan Srulovicz and his father Peter work together to design and put out the company’s watches from offices in Toronto and Los Angeles.
The Gillette ad caused immediate controversy, and many customers say they will never use the brand’s products again. Gillette expected a backlash, according to Ad Age, but Ad Age also reported that the 117-year-old company’s core customer base was not likely to accept such an ad.
A former chief marketing officer at Proctor & Gamble, Gillette’s parent company, thinks the ad insults the brand’s loyal following by appearing to accuse all men of being in the wrong. He told Ad Age he thinks the tone and execution of the ad is offensive.
Egard’s video ad, titled “What is a man? A response to Gillette,” though it wasn’t originally intended to be an ad for the company’s products, has led to a surge in sales.
“Due to the unexpected overwhelming response we are back-ordered on many units. Please bear with us. We are accepting pre-orders as we are making new inventory. The response is beyond appreciated. Every order will be fulfilled. We want to be completely transparent about the wait,” the company wrote on multiple pages of its website.
Egard also indicated the the ad response has opened up new opportunities for the company.
“The positive response to our message has allowed us to start donating to charities! We will be donating $10,000 USD To the Bob Woodruff Foundation this week! We hope to continue making numerous donations year round. Thank you all for giving us an opportunity to give back.”
In the midst of the controversy, men are looking for alternative places to buy shaving products. Dollar Shave Club posted the tweet “Welcome to the Club,” which Ad Age thinks could be a message to usher in former Gillette customers, or a lucky coincidence.