#gillette

San Francisco Mayor should mind her own business, literally

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The tale of a typical liberal politician. City of San Francisco Mayor London Breed, a Democrat,  said she will no longer conduct business with 22 states that have laws limiting the ability of women to obtain abortions, specifically late-term. At present Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have pro-life laws in place. City of SF employees will be prohibited from conducting business travel to states on the list, and from making any deals with companies headquartered in those states. 

The City of SF’s Director of the Department of the Status of Women, Dr. Emily Murase said,

In recent years, states across the country have passed a growing number of restrictive abortion laws. In accordance with Supervisor Brown’s ordinance, we identified state laws that prohibit abortion before viability and have recommended that these states be added to the City Administrator’s list…If any company that is headquartered in the listed states wants to continue doing business with the City, we encourage them to stand up for reproductive rights and advocate for a change to their state law. We applaud Supervisor Brown for her leadership in authoring this ordinance and for continuing San Francisco’s long history of fighting for women’s rights.

As regular readers would know, CM detests corporates getting actively involved in politics that are completely removed from the products they sell. Corporations are completely free to go down the path of whatever marketing path they desire. However, CM doesn’t need lectures from Nike, Gillette or Starbucks on their views completely unrelated to fitness, shaving or bitter burnt coffee. CM would prefer these corporations to leave it to customers to make choices solely based on the combination of utility, quality and price of the products they sell. CM is also against boycotting of any kind. Let individuals make these choices.

Unfortunately, too many corporations are folding to this type of virtue signalling. Corporations cannot guarantee that they have 100% support for unrelated political positions among staff, so why push agendas that have little or no relevance to the performance of the business for the sake of public preening? When scandal-clad banks make overt gestures of their moral superiority on matters outside of their remit, CM reaches for a bucket. On what grounds do banks have to lecture we peons on anything? Hypocrites.

Sadly for Breed, Coca-Cola, WalMart, AT&T, Aetna, Pfizer & Eli Lilly have donated to politicians who have advocated for abortion bans in some of those 22 states. Corporate donations to politicians that may support abortion bans don’t necessarily automatically convert to company policy on the same topic. Will City of San Francisco employees caught drinking Diet Coke be hauled into a room and read the riot act? Will an internal lunchtime order for Domino’s Pizza with 50% off a 2-litre bottle of Sprite special demand staff seek pre-approval from the mayor’s office?

True to form, liberals such as Breed have no compunction bullying big business to toe the line, much like the NBA now buckles to the whims of President Xi. While kneeling for the US anthem or shunning President Trump is considered an act of free speech, it is now mandatory for all players to stand for the Chinese national anthem. How wonderful liberals decide to back the side, not the principle.

Regardless of one’s views on the rights and wrongs of (late-term) abortion, it is rather ridiculous for a mayor to dictate terms to public officials in other states who were voted in by constituents that happen to hold different opinions.

Perhaps Mayor Breed should focus on the disastrous liberal policies that have led to a surge in homelessness, drug use and public human excrement clean up squads. Although she won on a ticket of cleaning up this mess, the trends remain in force with the 1Q 2019 trend at 6,700 fecal incidents. Homeless numbers remain high.

So before Breed starts berating her neighbours for their supposed shortcomings, perhaps she should concentrate on her own backyard first. Better still, perhaps she should run for mayor in one of the cities of the 22 states mentioned and push her pro-choice platform to see how far she gets. Didn’t think so.

The ultimate irony is that these 22 states probably have less to lose than San Francisco does with this action.

Gillette champions what it censured. Too late

So is this admission that Gillette has finally realised it made a catastrophic marketing mistake to throw the majority of its customers under the bus? How interesting that the company now champions the very macho men it sought to criticise. You know, those who put their lives on the line to protect us. Unfortunately, Gillette, it is a bit late. More than happy with my Schick Hydro. Your $8bn is a fantastic Harvard case study of failed marketing campaigns.

Job opening: Activism & Impact Manager

Activism

This is actually a job. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is hiring an ‘Activism and Impact Manager‘. Lucky for them, its parent Unilever is also a woke corporation. The job spec is simple:

Do you have at least three years’ experience working in campaigning within the NGO, charity or grassroots movement-building space? Have you got a passion for the idea that business can be used to drive positive change in the world? Do issues of social and environmental justice drive you to take action and are you able to persuade others to join you?

Values-led ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s is recruiting an Activism and Impact Manager to lead social and environmental justice campaigns in Australia and New Zealand with our team in Sydney.

CM guesses that milk shaking conservatives is a new thing of the left so there are some definite synergies to be had by “Ben & Jerrying” them. Hopefully, the Chief “Woke” Officer (CWO) can offset any losses to Unilever’s bottom line by encouraging activists to only use social and environmental just milk-based products from Ben & Jerry’s to ensure that the lost business from one side is made up through willful waste on the other.

When will businesses learn that telling their customers how to behave is not required? Yet another business to swipe from the list – Nike, Gillette, Ben & Jerry’s, Colgate, Starbucks…

PG slices another $8bn off Gillette in 4Q

P&G reported stronger earnings overnight but wrote off another $8bn in 4Q on top of the $6bn in 3Q on the Gillette brand in terms of goodwill and intangibles. Of course management brushed this off as significant devaluations over a decade, lower shaving frequency and new entrants at prices lower than the average. Nothing to do with the toxic masculinity campaign 6 months ago? Get real.

Under grooming, most of the results performance came through the sale of real estate in Boston. Other than that the company reported unfavorable channel mix, volume declines, brand communication investments and currency headwinds. The CFO Jon Moeller said with respect to Gillette,

You’ve got here a business with a very broad global footprint, and particularly with the year that we have just been through, that impacts that value assessment,”

Sorry, what does that even mean? No surprises that grooming was the worst performing division in P&G’s quiver.

Get woke, go broke.

Nivea CEO – “we don’t do gay”

LGBTQ Nation has reported that Nivea CEO rejected a campaign from its ad agency – FCB Global – which involved two men holding hands with the words, “we don’t do gay at Nivea.” This has led to a social media backlash showing offended users binning their products in protest. The laugh is that the advertising agency wants to dictate to the client how it runs its business. Nivea just doesn’t wish to promote “woke.” A choice that it should be entitled to make, just as Nike or Gillette are.

Nobody asked in what context “we don’t do gay” were said? Was it in reaction to the disastrous Gillette (note P&G reports Q4 results on July 30th) campaign on toxic masculinity? Did Nivea merely not want to reference specific minorities where it didn’t feel sufficient market gaps or opportunities would be found or was it a venom filled homophobic tirade? CM is willing to bet it was the former. Some corporations don’t wish to mix politics with product.

Nivea got in hot water in 2017 when it promoted a skin lightening cream in Africa. After much success with such products in Asia (where lighter skin is deemed more beautiful and brands make a fortune selling cosmetics based on this) it tested the African market. Unfortunately it got into hot water despite demand. The skin whitening industry was $10bn in 2009 and expected to grow to over $23bn by 2020.

Should Nivea be bashed for supplying products to a market demand that clearly exists? If Africans wish to lighten their skin, shouldn’t that just be a question for that individual? No one is forcing Africans to use their products. Nicole Amartefio is rightly proud of her skin hue so she can choose, like many others, not to buy into the ‘insecurity.’ If Nivea sales tank, they can blame the marketing department for inadequate due diligence.

Maybe CM should protest the sunscreen market for heightening insecurities over skin cancer because whites have less melanin? Do people realise that sunglasses lower the risk of tanning because the eyes regulate melanin production based off the glare the eyes receive? Why doesn’t Nivea promote the use of sunglasses instead of selling expensive sunscreen?

However this is where the Nivea story gets stupid.

FCB Global has been Nivea’s as agency for over 100 years yet its CEO Carter Murray said it intends to end the relationship with Nivea at the end of the contract.

FCB is within its rights to bin a century of business development but if the client wants to follow a mainstream campaign rather than get woke, surely isn’t it Nivea’s prerogative to do so? Does it require Nivea to meticulously follow the social diktat of its service providers? Who does FCB Global think it is? Why does it seek to throw its client under the bus? So much for respecting a century old client relationship.

LGBTQ Nation argues that one of the agency staff who proposed the campaign was indeed gay himself. Presumably he was offended.

Sadly Nivea felt the need to make an irrelevant statement to defend something completely unnecessary,

We are an international company with more than 20,000 employees with very different genders, ethnicities, orientations, backgrounds and personalities worldwide…Through our products, we touch millions of consumers around the globe every day. We know and cherish  that individuality and diversity in all regards brings inspiration and creativity to our society and to us as a company.”

Do consumers honestly ask themselves how “woke” every brand they buy? It is not dissimilar to ANZ preaching about Maria Folau. Is that in the forefront of the 5 million customers it serves? That is not even taking into account the hypocrisy of a bank which was admonished by the Hayne Royal Commission for unethical behaviour.

If Nivea believe that advertising to the LGBT community is a winner, let it decide because it has far better information than FCB Global about markets, products and segmentation. It shouldn’t feel guilty. Subaru America ran a campaign that targeted the lesbian community. Clearly the brand felt its market position had to differentiate away from the monsters of Toyota and Honda.

Talk about FCB Global cutting off its nose to spite its face. Expect its business to be affected more than Nivea. #GetWokeGoBroke . Interested to see how Gillette’s Q4 trend has been since the disastrous Q3 when P&G reports.

The moral of the story is to let the free market weigh Nivea’s decisions. It hasn’t called for anything other than defending how it serves its client base. Nivea parent company, Beiersdorf AG, has not experienced a share price backlash.

Truth in advertising

Truth in advertising. Gillette would do well to learn from it. Aldi got a bad review from a customer and instead of the normal ‘sweep it under the carpet‘ attitude of big corporates it faced its own shortcomings with a promise to lift its game. Perhaps if Gillette came out and said “we’re sorry for overstepping the mark on toxic masculinity. Here are all the great things men do” then its sales wouldn’t be thumped so badly.

Gillette targets toxic men at 50% off

The power of virtue signaling. Gillette half price. Schick full price. Get woke, go broke. Neutral Bay Woolworths channel check.