By Frank Camp
On Tuesday, Egard Watch Company released an advertisement on YouTube in response to Gillette’s controversial ad regarding alleged “toxic masculinity.”
The video features footage of men in various situations — from fighting fires to hugging their children — while the company’s founder, Ilan Srulovicz, narrates. The footage and narration are accompanied by sobering statistics relating to men.
“What is a man?” Srulovicz asks as a fireman carries a child from a burning building. “Is a man brave?” The on-screen text reads: “Men account for 93% of workplace fatalities.” The number comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
“Is a man a hero? Is a man a protector? Is a man vulnerable? Is a man disposable? Is a man broken? Is a man trying?”
As each of the above questions are asked, the following statistics are shown on the screen:
Men comprise over 97% of war fatalities. (U.S. Department of Defense)
79% of all homicide victims are male. (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)
Nearly half of fathers without any visitation rights still financially support their children. (U.S. Census Bureau)
Men account for 80% of all suicide victims. (World Health Organization)
75% of single homeless people are men. (National Coalition for the Homeless)
“We see the good in men,” Srulovicz concludes.
Although the company’s YouTube channel has only 5,500 subscribers, the video has been watched more than 766,000 times, and features a 64:1 “like” to “dislike” ratio as of publication.
The Daily Wire spoke with Ilan Srulovicz about his YouTube video, as well as Gillette’s controversial advertisement:
DW: What was your response to the Gillette commercial?
SRULOVICZ: If I’m being honest, my initial response from a visceral standpoint was a negative one. Whether it’s justified or not, I felt a little bit offended. I felt like it painted with too broad a brush. At the same time, I also understood what they were trying to say. I just don’t think it was the right way to say it.
I think that there’s a very strong movement in society that’s very pervasive, and from an advertising perspective, I can see how Gillette felt like that was the right move — that’s the ongoing narrative.
I’m absolutely for addressing issues like sexual assault and bullying, and I think the unfortunate thing that the Gillette ad seems to miss is that most guys feel the same way.
DW: What drove you to make your own commercial addressing this issue?
SRULOVICZ: I did the commercial completely on my own because I didn’t get support necessarily from the people around me. They were a little bit worried that a message that was so contrary to Gillette’s message would not be well received. I think they were just trying to protect me. I think they believe in the message of the commercial, but I think they were just trying to say, “Is it worth the risk to put your company behind this message?”
Srulovicz said that he was at one point being urged to do the video anonymously, but that a quote pushed him to release it as a company advertisement: “There are only two places actions can come from — they’re either going to come from fear or they’re going to come from love.”
SRULOVICZ: Releasing it anonymously felt like an action out of fear, not out of love. Putting something I’ve built and something that means so much to me behind this video would be an action out of love. So, I decided to go in that direction. I also thought that an anonymous video wouldn’t have the same impact as a company saying, “This type of message is okay. This type of message is good.”
According to Srulovicz, the overwhelmingly positive response to the video was quite unexpected. He foresaw a potentially negative response.
SRULOVICZ: I had friends tell me that a message like this draws away from women’s rights issues, and it’s not the right time, or the current political climate isn’t right for this kind of message. I just don’t see why it has to be an either/or thing; it’s not a competition. Suffering should never be a competition; uplifting people should never be a competition. We should all have positive messages, and I think companies have lost track of that. You should want to uplift people in your advertisements, not lecture them or generalize an entire group.
I decided to just take a stand and do it. I spent my own money on it; I recorded it myself; I did the editing myself because it was the only way I could go about it and not be influenced by anyone – and that was important. I didn’t want to have it get pulled back, or not get the statistics out that are very real, and often sadly ignored in society.
DW: There are going to be people who say that you saw the conservative backlash to the Gillette commercial, and, knowing that a large portion of the country is right-leaning, used this as a cynical marketing ploy. What would you say to that?
SRULOVICZ: As I said before, I actually expected a negative response, not a positive one. So, I didn’t expect this to help my company necessarily. The reason I put my company behind it was because it’s easier for an individual to go out and say, “I believe in this message.” It’s much more difficult for a company to do that.
Right now, I have contracts with large-scale companies, with celebrities, and for me to stand up and put out a message, I would realistically have to make sure that the message was not controversial on any level. I’m not Gillette; I don’t have that kind of backing where I can take chances.
Of course there will be people who think it’s a ploy to take advantage of the Gillette backlash. What I actually hope out of all of this is that other companies take notice, and start creating positive messages for men.
I just don’t understand why we live in a time where we have to divide each other in that way; why you have to make a controversial ad. Gillette could have easily made an incredibly positive ad for men at a time when no one wants to do that, and I believe that they would have had an amazing response.
I also think that if you want to effect change in society, you don’t do it by lecturing people, you do it by giving them a positive message, you do it by showing who the best men are. If I want to make a message that has an impact on society, am I going to do it by saying, “These are the worst of us, and some of us aren’t this, but that’s not enough” or am I going to say, “These are the best of us, and many of us are that – and to those who aren’t, this is what we can inspire people to be. This is what we represent as a gender, as a people, as a society.”
DW: Is there anything we haven’t touched on that you would like to say?
SRULOVICZ: The nice thing from all of this is the response, not just from men, but from women. It’s not just men who are wanting this kind of positive message for men — there are mothers out there who have male children; there are wives who have husbands. It’s not just one group that’s affected by negativity; it’s everyone. There are so many women who stand behind positive messages for men.
The Daily Wire would like to thank Ilan Srulovicz for speaking with us about his commercial and his company.