Campaign Spotlight

Campaign Spotlight: Gillette Ad that Features a Transgender Man’s First Shave is a Cannes Lions 2019 Contender

Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, a Toronto-based artist, shaves for the first time in Gillette’s new ad. What makes this first shave special is that Samson is a transgender man. Samson explains that he went into his transition just wanting to be happy. After years of transitioning, he finally reached the point where he can shave.

Samson’s father was one of his greatest supporters during his transition, so he wanted to include him in this milestone. As he begins to shave, his dad offers him words of encouragement.


Created by Grey Canada, “First Shave” was packed with emotions, but unfortunately received mixed reactions from different audiences. While some were glad to see representation coming from a shaving giant, others reacted negatively.

This was not the first time Gillette addressed progressive views on gender, previously creating a campaign targeted at what the brand perceived as toxic masculinity. Through their ad We Believe, their 30-year old tagline of “The Best A Man Can Get,” was changed to “The Best Men Can Be.”

“First Shave” got into the shortlist for Glass: The Lion for Change category in Cannes Lions 2019. The new Gillette ad isn’t just about Samson’s journey, but also for those who are going through similar experiences. The brand’s push for inclusivity is a huge step into a more accepting world, despite the flak received from different groups.

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

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