LONDON-A Gillette advert which references bullying, the #MeToo movement and toxic masculinity has split opinion online.

The razor company's short film, called Believe, plays on their famous slogan "The best a man can get", replacing it with "The best men can be".

The company says it wants men to hold each other "accountable". Some have praised the message of the advert, which aims to update the company's 30-year-old tagline, but others say Gillette is "dead" to them. The ad has been watched more than 2 million times on YouTube in 48 hours. In it, the company asks "Is this the best a man can get?" before showing images of bullying, sexual harassment, sexist behaviour and aggressive male behaviour.

It then shows examples of more positive behaviour - such as stepping into prevent these behaviours when they happen in public. In the advert, one man stops his friend from harassing a woman in the street. Comments on the video are largely negative, with viewers saying they will never buy Gillette products again or that the advert was "feminist propaganda".

"In less than two minutes you managed to alienate your biggest sales group for your products. Well done," wrote one angry viewer.

Twitter users are also sharing their disappointment with Gillette's new campaign.

There have also been calls for Gillette, which is owned by Procter & Gamble, to post an apology video.

 

But the brand believes the new advert aligns with its slogan and says it believes in "the best in men."

"By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behaviour, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal 'best,' we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come," says its president, Gary Coombe.

The advert was directed by Kim Gehrig from the UK-based agency Somesuch, who also directed the 2015 campaign for Sport England, This Girl Can.

'They must have known there would be backlash'

But while the response to the ad has been largely negative, as the old saying goes, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

 

"Their next steps are very important but it shouldn't necessarily be widespread panic yet," Rob Saunders, an account manager at UK advertising company the Media Agency Group, tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"Their ad is getting them good publicity and good numbers and causing a debate - which they must have known when they put out this ad.

Rob says Gillette will have anticipated a negative reaction to the advert from some people.

"This ad would have been approved by many people high up at Gillette," he adds.

"So they must have known that there may have been a backlash."

Rob believes the strong reaction is because the ad is such a shift from how Gillette was previously promoted and that has surprised people.

"It's such a change in stance for Gillette and it's happening overnight, particularly with the social commentary and that's why it's done such huge numbers."