I’ve held off blogging about Gillette’s “We Believe” campaign, as there are plenty of pundits praising and trashing its strategy, execution, and use of the term “toxic masculinity.”

But this response published today in Fast Company reveals that Gillette made the most fundamental error of all: wading into a social issue without a strong commitment to values that it is willing to stand by despite criticism.

“We weren’t trying to court controversy,” says Gillette brand director Pankaj Bhalla. “We were just trying to upgrade the selling line that we’ve held for 30 years — the best a man can get — and make it relevant. I don’t think our intention was to have controversy just for the sake of controversy.”

In other words, this is a standard brand refresh, and the #MeToo movement is a handy meme to latch onto to make the brand relevant. I had a suspicion this was the case when I read the press release announcing the campaign earlier this week, which stated:

Thirty years after first introducing the tagline “The Best A Man Can Get,” Gillette is taking a fresh look at what it means to be “the best” and how we continue to portray those ideals in a modern way.

This is surprising considering that P&G has had some highly successful campaigns, including the Always brand’s #LikeAGirl campaign and the Emmy-winning anti-racism ad “The Talk.”

Oddly, I also just saw the ad above today, promoting its Gillette On Demand service as “Just Blades. No Bull.” Too bad it appears that “We Believe” is just bull . . .

In Part 2 of my thoughts on this topic, I’ll give the brand advice on what it should do to rescue this initiative.