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Gillette’s Controversial Ad Pays Off: The Broadsheet

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! We say goodbye to legendary journalist Cokie Roberts, the EEOC finds Walmart discriminated against female workers, and P&G says its controversial toxic masculinity ad paid off. Have a wonderful Wednesday. 


– Not a toxic ad. Remember that Gillette ad? The one that put the razor brand smack dab in the center of a national debate about toxic masculinity? 

It was all worth it, Procter & Gamble North America Group President Carolyn Tastad says. Tastad told the crowd during Day 2 of Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women International Summit in Toronto that despite the culture war that engulfed the commercial, it landed with 65% “positive sentiment”—and an even higher number among younger consumers. 

“For Generation Z and millennials under 30, this social responsibility part is very, very important to them,” Tastad said. And it’s important for the consumer products giant to not go back to the usual way of doing things. 

“It has to be fully integrated and baked into the business model. It can’t be an ad that plays once and everything else stands for something else,” Tastad said, adding, “It can’t be one and done.” 

Gillette already followed up with another ad engaging with social issues, this time transgender rights; a father shows his son, who is transitioning genders, how to shave for the first time. 

Hear more from Tastad on Gillette’s choice to engage with issues of masculinity here. And read on for more from the MPW Summit in Toronto. 

Emma Hinchliffe
[email protected]


– A Nu kind of bank. Cristina Junqueira co-founded the Brazilian digital banking startup Nubank. Why? She wanted to do something for consumers and, after five years at Brazil’s largest incumbent bank she was “done making rich people richer.” Fortune

– Going green. Gusto 54 Restaurant Group CEO Janet Zuccarini hasn’t taken outside money to grow her restaurant empire, but she’s seeking investment as she gets into CBD and THC-infused foods—for now in Canada, but “when it becomes legal” in the U.S. too. Fortune

– Clear cut. Clearbanc specializes in non-dilutive funding agreements with startups, often determined using A.I. That “takes out the gender bias,” says co-founder and president Michele Romanow, who also holds a spot on Dragon’s Den, aka Canada’s Shark Tank. Fortune

– Hockey hero. Jessica Platt was the first out transgender woman to play in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. The league shuttered earlier this year, but Platt is still glad she started “a conversation in the sports community.” Fortune

– Going for gold. Catherine Raw, Barrick Gold’s COO for North America talks about challenges facing the mining industry—and her male colleagues’ reactions to working with a pregnant woman. (Raw appeared at MPW Toronto even though she’s technically still on maternity leave!) “It’s been quite entertaining. These chaps are trying very hard to be helpful and accommodating, but with no experience,” she said. Fortune

– Over the hurdle. The two most difficult points in a career for women to make the jump? Their first-ever promotion and their promotion into the C-suite, says Dame Vivian Hunt, managing partner of McKinsey and Company U.K. and Ireland. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy will be interim CFO of SeaWorld Entertainment as the company reshuffles leadership while searching for a new chief executive. Former Uber executive Meghan Joyce joins Oscar Health as COO. CNBC hired Denise Contis, formerly of Discovery, as EVP, programming. Fuze hired Symbotic’s Elisa Gilmartin as chief people officer. Bain Capital Ventures hired Keri Gohman as an operating partner focused on fintech. Food & Wine named Khushbu Shah restaurant editor. Intel promoted the general manager of its sales, marketing, and communications group, Michelle Johnston Holthaus, to EVP. 


– Founding mother. Legendary Washington journalist Cokie Roberts died at 75 yesterday. Known for making strides for women at NPR starting in the 1970s and her work as a correspondent and anchor at ABC News, Roberts, the daughter of two members of Congress, was a staple in the capital through decades of changing administrations. NPR 

– Peacock spreads its feathers. NBCUniversal revealed more details about its forthcoming ad-supported streaming service, named Peacock and run by Bonnie Hammer. The service is expected to launch in April with a focus, Hammer says, on both “timely and timeless” programming (think the Olympics and The Office). Variety

– Women vs. Walmart. The EEOC found that Walmart likely discriminated against 178 female workers at its stores—a milestone in a “two-decade effort by current and former store workers to seek damages from the retail behemoth.” The EEOC wants Walmart and the workers to come to a resolution, which would most likely include a settlement, but could sue if the parties don’t reach one. Wall Street Journal 

– Honeymoon period. Period underwear brand Thinx, led by Maria Molland, is headed for the mainstream. The brand secured a $25 million investment from Kimberly-Clark, the company behind Kotex. Wall Street Journal

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Jacinda Ardern to meet Donald Trump for first formal meeting Guardian

How did Lauren Duca’s revolution backfire? BuzzFeed

House committee launches ethics investigation into Elaine Chao’s ties to shipping company run by her family CNN

Testing the luxury shoe market with a salon on wheels Fortune


“We have a long way to go, but our customer will feel the change.”

-J.C. Penney CEO Jill Soltau in her first sit-down interview since starting the job

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