Men's grooming brand Harry’s is trying to set itself apart from the competition by showing that masculinity can have a softer side.
Harry’s is debuting a short film today (February 26), ‘A Man Like You,’ to run on digital and social channels. It tells the story of a boy who befriends an alien and teaches him how to be a man.
It starts with a boy headed to school, who sees a flash in the sky. He roams through the woods to find an alien in man form. A funny scene sees the alien talking to an “overlord,” but is actually a squirrel. The boy then helps the alien on his mission – to find out more about mankind — telling the alien how to fit in and be a man, how to dress and walk and showing him how to shave.
The humor gives way to tender reflection as the boy asks the alien if he has seen his father in the stars. As the alien disappears, the boy sits with his thoughts on his now gone father, and what it really means to be a man in today’s world. It ends with the boy giving a clutch of wildflowers to his mother.
The campaign reinforces the idea that, while grooming is one way men express themselves to the world, masculine expression is also about how one thinks, feels and behaves. In the end, a real man is simply a good human. It marks the first campaign with the new creative partner for Harry’s, Austin-based agency GSD&M.
While the boy befriending an alien concept is not new, as ET proved, this modern take used the alien to start a conversation on what it means to be a man today.
“How would you explain that to an alien? asked Brandon Curl, creative director copywriter for GSD&M. “Absent a male role model, what does that mean to be a man? It’s not a sci-fi story. Is the alien real or not? We saw him as a vehicle for the boy to ask these questions. ”
The Harry’s team was involved in the film from the beginning, bringing its creative team to Austin to collaborate on the creative.
“Harry’s was lock-step from the get-go,” said Dale Austin, creative director art director. “It was not a hard sell to get them on board. They wanted to tell the story in a compelling way and connect emotionally.”
Curl and Austin said that the story evolved over time with Harry’s, going through 50 ideas and editing the initial script of 17 pages down to a manageable size. Harry’s wanted the branding to be subtle and not product focused, and it is, as the razor and shaving gel are only on screen for a couple of seconds. The film’s intention is meant to question modern masculinity.
“We wanted to paint with all the colors of human emotion. Guys are told we have to be silent [or] tough. There are light moments too, but it’s ok to cry and to open up. A good man is simply a good human,” said Curl.
The short film, in partnership with the Representation Project, is a launch piece for the campaign. It will be promoted through social channels and through media partners. While there isn’t a follow-up film planned, Austin said that more of the campaign will be developing throughout the summer.