Braun, a leading manufacturer of grooming products, has come under fire for its recent advertising campaign featuring a transgender model. The model, who is seen using Braun’s Series X Hybrid Trimmers for men, displays surgical scars from what appears to be a double mastectomy operation. Critics argue that the campaign is “shockingly immoral” and breaches the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines.
The ASA, which regulates advertising in the UK, has specific guidelines regarding the portrayal of cosmetic surgery. According to the social responsibility section on its website, marketers are advised not to “trivialise the decision to have cosmetic surgery” and to portray such procedures as requiring “time and thought.”
In an article with the Telegraph, Maya Forstater, the executive director of Sex Matters, criticised the campaign. She stated: “Promoting the removal of healthy breast tissue is not only shockingly immoral but against advertising standards guidance to not glamourise or trivialise cosmetic surgery.” She further accused Braun of perpetuating the notion that women can become men through surgery and hormone therapy.
Meanwhile, Go Woke Go Broke, an X account that highlights wokeness within UK business posted: “This is a new low for the corporate promotion of gender ideology and medical intervention. Governments would be all over companies for irresponsible advertising if this was any other issue.”
This controversy follows similar backlashes against other brands. American grooming brand Harry’s faced calls for a boycott after partnering with a trans influencer. Bud Light also experienced a 10.5% drop in US revenues after featuring a trans influencer in its marketing campaign. Costa Coffee faced similar criticism for an advert featuring a trans man post-double mastectomy.
Braun is owned by Procter & Gamble, which also owns the sanitary pad brand Always. Always has previously called for the removal of gender-specific language from online articles about menstruation to be more inclusive. This has led some to question whether Braun’s controversial campaign is part of a broader corporate strategy.
The debate surrounding Braun’s advertising campaign highlights the complexities of representation and inclusivity in modern advertising. While some see the campaign as a step towards greater inclusivity, others argue that it trivialises serious medical procedures and breaches advertising standards.