How far we've come from Gillette's "The Best Men Can Be." That work, from almost two years ago now, sought to take on toxic masculinity in the midst of #MeToo, but struck some as heavy-handed, even if it was necessary.
"Men in Progress," created by Belgian agency Air from clothier Jules, is lighter on its feet. It even maintains a bit of swagger while crying over babies, ordering vegetarian pizza, and carpooling.
"What is it to be a man today?" the ad asks, running through the stereotypes. As the work spools out, giving props to a few millennial references along the way—hey, DragonBallZ—each received idea is turned on its head, giving modern men more room to breathe. It lands in a logical place: The new masculinity is helping to redefine masculinity. That includes making sustainable choices in clothing (all while holding a baby, natch).
"Basically, this offbeat spot is aimed at all the men of today, ready to join us in changing men's fashion and changing attitudes," explains Benoît Latron, marketing director at Jules.
The Jules brand promotes a philosophy of zero-waste, high quality and sustainable fashion. Under the "Men in Progress" brand signature, it hopes to build a base of men who are self-aware, positive, sensitive and progressive, mindful of the ways masculinity requires revision. We're reminded of a 2018 TED Talk from Justin Baldoni, where he talks about his own journey in redefining his masculinity, and also tells men it's up to them to help cue and support each other.
Air won the Jules business in 2018, having pitched against Parisian agencies Buzzman and Fred & Farid. French duo Julien & Quentin directed the spot, with production by Hamlet. It will run on TV and all the usual social networks.
Jules is also collaborating with French YouTuber Ben Névert, creator of "Entre Mecs" (roughly translated, "between us guys"). The project will include a series of shorts, where friends discuss subjects like flirting, breakups, and what it means to be a "good guy."
Check out the first ep below (but it's only in French, sorry!).
Client : Jules
Contacts : Benoit Latron, Karine Siebenhuner, Maud Grienti
CD: AIR Creative Council
Creation : Arnaud Bailly, Karel De Mulder, Romain Félix, John Benois,
Special thanks to : Charlotte Keup, Pauline Héraly, Bérengère Lurquin, Anastasia Bousson, Chantal Gillet, Renaud Goossens, Dominique Ruys, Jason Felstead, Thomas Landeloos
Movie production Agency: HAMLET
Director: Julien & Quentin
VFX and post-production: divide.tv
Sound Production Company: Sonhouse
VO FR : Krisy / @de.la.fuentes
Music: Quentin Garabedian