Twitter and mainstream media representations of the Gillette advertisement ‘The best a man can be’: A critical discourse analysis

Dr Justin Ellis1, Dr  Brenda  Moon

1University Of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia

Contested representations of identity and their co-option by consumer-focused brands continue to generate heated public debate across social and mainstream media. This article analyses an original tweet data set in response to the first advertisement of Gillette’s controversial ‘The Best Men Can Be Campaign’; a social narrative video titled ‘We Believe’. We triangulate this tweet broadcast event data with the results of a ProQuest database search on mainstream media interpretations of the video to situate the event within broader socio-political discourse on gender identity. In doing so, we contribute to ongoing research into representations of gender, consumer-focused brand narratives, and personal and collective responsibility to address entrenched gender-based harms, particularly against women by men, ranging from harassment to sexual assault. We draw on Brock’s Technocultural Discourse Analysis to interpret the implications of the integration of the social and technological worlds in the tweet data set, and Wodak’s Critical Discourse Analysis to the ProQuest database search.


Dr Justin Ellis is a lecturer in Criminology at the University of Newcastle, Australia. His research examines the impact of digital media technologies on trust in public institutions. His current focus is the scrutiny of public order policing through sousveillance within the LGBTQ community in Sydney. His broader research focus is on the impact of digital technologies on institutional accountability and responsible government. Justin is the editor-in-chief of Current Issues in Criminal Justice, the journal of the Sydney Institute of Criminology.


Dec 08 2021