Boys will be

The White Ribbon campaign shows that "boys will be" and "boys can be" are two different things.

After the wildly divided reaction to Gillette’s rally cry against toxic masculinity, one might expect some advertisers to shy away from the topic of masculinity.

Not so.

White Ribbon Canada, a non-profit that specifically aims to promote healthy masculinity, paired with Bensimon Byrne to create a new spot that demonstrates how seemingly “harmless” words or behaviour can lead to unhealthy cycles that are difficult to break on your own.

It’s almost the complete opposite of the Gillette ad – it starts out on a positive note, naming all the things that boys can do. But it quickly descends not only into all the things boys are regularly told they can’t do (be gentle, cry, be weak) but also all the consequences. The young boy we follow grows into a man who lets out his frustrations by fighting instead of speaking, who expresses his jealousy by hurting others, who builds his self-esteem by taking advantage.

For all its darkness, there is a call to action that gives a bit of hope: boys can be so much more.

The ad is unsettling, and cuts deep – probably because it’s not using a positive message to sell razors.



Client: White Ribbon Campaign
Agency: Bensimon Byrne

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