What you are talking about with your KFC hypothetical is apples and oranges. Cause marketing is hot right now (although it’s been around in some form since the 1970s). It’s what many consumers and investors are demanding of companies. This was a cutting edge marketing move on Gillette’s part. I seriously doubt anyone forced them into doing it and they aren’t slamming their customers for their choices around using their products. They are engaging in cause marketing and speaking to larger social issues that affect all of us.
You clearly didn’t read the quote I posted, excerpted from the article I linked.
“I think we, as a society, are extremely cruel to women. I look at these old ads and feel as though nothing has changed.” In other words, the same bad shit still goes on today, targeted towards shaming women into buying crap they probably don’t need in order to prey on their insecurities. The older ads are more overtly horrendous, but the new ones aren’t much better; just more subtle.
Playground bullying may be reduced but it’s still an enormous issue and bullying of various types is still an obvious problem. Half the people I know who have kids are dealing with this on some level. I’m also thinking of things like Gamergate, or the daily experiences of most women on social media if they dare to speak up too much, the weekly breaking stories in the news about the ingrained cultures of gender-based bullying in so many companies, the one-upsmanship that takes place in so many people’s daily interactions and conversations, both at work and in their private lives. Our culture is obsessed with pecking order and gaining higher status, often by stepping on others to get there. It’s interwoven into the fabric of most of our institutions and daily interactions. And what the Gillette ad was showing is that is no longer acceptable. It hurts women, but it also hurts men, even the men who perpetrate it. It’s a call to leadership.
A big part of toxic masculinity is that you don’t ever admit to any cracks in your facade. No-one can criticize you and go unchallenged. There can be no vulnerability or seeming lack of control. Objection to this ad is a reaffirmation of why it is so badly needed.