"Growing up, I always wanted to figure out what kind of man I wanted to become," says Samson Brown at the start of Gillette's minute-long ad below. "And I'm still trying to figure out what kind of man I'm trying to become. I always knew I was different, but I didn't know there was a term for the type of person that I was. I went into my transition just wanting to be happy. I'm glad I am at the point where I'm able to shave."
Then, with his father by his side, Brown—a transgender advocate from Toronto—shaves his face for the first time.
Gillette's work earlier this year addressing toxic masculinity, while generally viewed as having its heart in the right place, earned mixed reviews overall. Here, however, exploring LGBTQ+ territory, Grey Canada and Skin & Bones director Angie Bird deliver some sharp material that's right on point.
Simply told, the film derives considerable power from the authenticity of its story and subjects. Brown's words, delivered matter-of-factly and devoid of drama, take on a deeper meaning. It's easy for viewers to connect and appreciate his first shave's special significance.
In press materials, Brown says, "My dad's encouragement came from a place of love and gave me the confidence to express my true authentic self." Their bond really resonates. This is how all parents should help guide their kids through the ebb and flow of life.
"Gillette supports everyone in their journey to looking, feeling and acting their best every day," says company brand director Pankaj Bhalla. "That includes our own journey as a brand committed to using our platform to showcase real, diverse and inclusive stories of men working toward their 'best' selves."
Agency: Grey Canada
Global Creative Chairman: Per Pedersen
Worldwide Creative Officer: John Patroulis
Chief Creative Officers: Patrick Scissons, Emiliano Gonzalez De Pietri, Helen Pak
Deputy Chief Creative Officer: Jeff Stamp
Executive Chief Creative Officer: James Ansley
Copywriter: Graeme Campbell
Art Director: Logan Gabel
Producer: Sam Benson
EVP, Account Director: Brian Weston
SVP, Account Director: Elizabeth Gilchrist
VP, Account Director: Darlene Remlinger
Account Executive: Kate Beaman
Production Company: Skin & Bones Film Company
Director: Angie Bird
Director of Photography:Jackson Parrell
Executive Producer: Liane Thomas
Line Producer: Michelle Woodward
Editorial Company: Rooster Post Production
Editor: Izzy Erlich
Assistant Editor: Taylor McWade
Executive Producer: Melissa Kahn
Colourist: Andrew Exworth, The Vanity
Post Production: Fort York
Executive Producer: Sam McLaren
Flame Artist: Paul Binney
Colorist: Conor Fisher, Alter Ego
Sound Design: Cylinder Sound & Film
Sound Engineer: Cylinder Sound & Film
Executive Producer: Brad Nelson
Music Company: Asche and Spencer