Gillete 1989: The best a man can get

The story of  "Gillete, the best a man can get"
Source: Cutting Edge: Gillette's Journey to Global Leadership
Author: Gordon McKibben

Gillette wanted a powerful, emotional campaign theme that captured the Gillette male imagery and would connect with men anywhere in the world.

Throughout the winter and spring of 1988 they worked on the project, a strategical emotional ad that would last twenty years, something like the enduring "Look Sharp, Feel Sharp" campaign. Sometime in the spring the BBDO team toted up to Boston to about twenty five sample print ads with various messages like "you can see it written on your face" and "the look, the feel, the pride" and spread them around a conference table.

One theme caught the attention of several executives anxiously hoping to spot a winner, It was "Gillete, the best a man can get", there was an unanimous "that's it" reaction for the seven words that had been scrawled on a scrap of paper along with other several possibilities by BBDO staffer Michael Scheback.

From that moment on, it was a matter of execution, making the "Best a man can get" theme come alive and work well in one commanding TV ad that met the goal of establishing an emotional relationship between men and Gillette.

Brand:Gillette
Year: Spring 1989
Models: Rob Russell, Matt Norklun, Tom Tripodi, Paul Forsman
Directors:
Music: Jake Holmes




BBDO comissioned composer Jake Holmes to come up with music and lyrics, they were aworried about how well the english words would translate into the other languages, . The BBDO team showed the line to its sister agencies around the world and discovered to their relief that with minor adjustments it worked well as an expression of male bonding with Gillette. Sometimes the translation was better than hoped for, the Italian translation became "The Best of a Man" and according to Gillette's local management it seemed to capture the Italian spirit.

By July 1988, BBDO had created five television ads built around the "Best a Man can get" theme, and the Gillette crew was off to Manhattan to choose the winner. One video proclaimed a "man kind" theme, featuring a chiral group much like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir celebrating the gretanesss of man and mankind. Another took more of a hard hitting, Mtv-youth approach, with fast cuts

.Finally came the fifth presentation, BBDO's favourite, which had been saved for the last, It showed many visual vignettes that celebrated various aspects of manhood, masculinity (sports shots, working man), family (father and adult son), sensivity (man with baby), sexiness (man gets woman) .. it was accompanied by pulsating music with words vital to the ad's message: "You're looking sharp, you're feeling good, you've come so far, we know how to make the most of who you are, from father to son, that's what we always done, Gillette, the best a man can get"

Gillette executives were treated to a sixty second version of the ad, a splicing together of footage taken from several commercials and edited to create a live-action preview of what would become the final ad. Accompanied by the just composed score, the imagery created was powerful, the excitement in the room was obvious.

English version, The best a man can get


French version, La perfection au Masculin


Spanish Version, Lo mejor para el hombre


Italian Version, Il Meglio di un Uomo

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