Harry's razors, with Harry Kane, offers an alternative take on masculinity from Gillette

Razor firm Harry's has signed Tottenham and England forward Harry Kane as the bearded face of the brand, leveraging his star power and conveniently shared name.

The subscription service has drawn a line in the sand around masculinity with a bold monochrome ad lasting 30 seconds. The spot from creative agency Brothers & Sisters was launched to coincide with the star's return from injury and aired during the club's 2-1 defeat at the hands of Burnley.

Thomas Ralph, from production company Caviar, planted the England star alone on a crossbar where he comes into close focus while we hear his internal monologue on being a man. Kane says: "I am not afraid to lead, I am not afraid to be criticised, to ask for help, to tell my daughters I love them. I am not afraid to be myself and if that makes me different, I’ll choose different every time.”

The final frame spotlights Harry's Razor with the strapline ‘Made for Every Man’.

Brothers & Sisters founder Andy Fowler said: “We set out to make a piece of work that would stand out from the crowd, just like Harry Kane stands out from the crowd and Harry’s razors stand out from the crowd. One shot, in black and white, with Harry Kane opening up, while standing on the crossbar of the pitch in Chingford where he scored many of his goals as a kid. It’s not like other ads. And all the better for it.”

The spot will inevitably be compared with rival brand Gillette's We Believe campaign, delivered early this year by Kim Gehrig of This Girl Can fame, which was divided audiences by broadly urging men to be better. Sairah Ashman, global chief executive at Wolff Olins, said: "Gillette is facing serious competition from the likes of Dollar Shave Club, aligning with a popular – if controversial – cause makes sense from a business perspective. Another point to consider is the economic power of women."

Sophie Lewis, chief strategy officer at VMLY&R, offered some direction that Harry's appear to have heeded. "The truth is that Gillette should have raised the debate and the questions, and not tried to answer the question or fix the problem themselves. In terms of execution, it gets itself in all sorts of bother with regard to male stereotypes and definitions."

James Appleby, a planner at McCann offered his view on the work. “Harry’s, though aiming at the same target, have taken a very different approach to Gillette. They're leaving a lot more unsaid, and trusting the audience to fill in the blank space.

"Because Gillette chose to literally show what "toxic masculinity" looks like, they had to walk a difficult and uneven line between showing ugly scenes of ugly behaviour and not causing offense. Harry's, in a case of the second mouse getting the cheese, takes a more abstract approach. It's a Nike ad by way of David Lynch; equal parts affirmative and surreal (an effect accentuated by Kane's unpolished voiceover). Will the hashtag take off though? We'll see...”

Harry's took the opportunity to shine a light on Kane's unique perspective and down the line invite customers to open up. It is looking to create conversations on Kane's social channels around the hashtag #IAmNotAfraid.

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