Gillette's "mixed-reality" NFL ad is terrifyingly dystopian

A screenshot from Gilette's VR ad
(Image credit: Gillette)

With the state of our collective attention span these days, advertisers are having to go bigger and bolder than ever to make an impression. From 3D billboards to firework-assisted logo reveals, we've seen all sorts of weird and wonderful examples. But this might be the most ridiculous yet.

Razor company Gillette has just run the first ever "mixed-reality" tv ad, incorporating its products directly into a live NFL match. And if this is the future of advertising, I'm not sure I want it. (Looking for inspiration? Check out the best print ads of all time.)  

During ESPN’s broadcast of the match between between the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears, fans witnessed Gillette Stadium transform into GilletteLabs Stadium. GilletteLabs (opens in new tab) is the innovation hub for Gillette, behind such products as the Gillette Heated Razor (which of course features flexidisc technology – for a warm sensation on every stroke).

In the ad, a terrifyingly large Gillette razor appeared to be beamed onto the pitch itself. While the audience at the stadium presumably couldn't see anything, to viewers at home it looked as though the shaver was really there, ready for the likes of King Kong or Godzilla to give themselves a quick groom. 

The whole thing is undeniably impressive, and perhaps takes the infamous graphic design request "Can you make the logo bigger?" to its logical conclusion. But it's also rather dystopian. "I'm starting to think they should have asked "why?" instead of "how?"", one Twitters user comments, while another adds, "I'm filing this away in: AR glasses could go horribly wrong." 

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And as many have pointed out, why doesn't the razor cut the grass? If you're going to plonk a giant razor in a football stadium, at least make it cut the grass! The team missed a trick with that one. Still, at least the whole thing isn't as ridiculous as the aforementioned KIA logo reveal – complete with thousands of fireworks.

From Mark Zuckerberg's home office to PS VR2's Broadcast Mode, we've seen plenty of weird and wonderful examples of the power of VR lately – but the world's largest five-bladed razor might just be the most terrifying yet. If you're wondering what all this VR talk is about, take a look at our guide to the metaverse.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).