As a brand and content development firm, we firmly believe that those with the best content win. Thus, we’re always on the prowl for the latest and greatest videos, photos, blog posts, and any other content. And we thought, We should share our discoveries here on the Inkblog, on Twitter, Facebook, at our book club, the gym, the doctor’s office… we’re telling anyone who will listen.
Continuing the series is Dollar Shave Club. Enjoy, and please read responsibly.
-By Erich Mecherle
These are exciting times for internet businesses. You can go from start-up to wunderbrand in two shakes of a lamb’s tale. Or at least a few mouse clicks. One such brand who’s done just that is Dollar Shave Club, a start-up offering high quality, inexpensive razors shipped right to your door for, you guessed it, a dollar a month.
There is no shortage of stories, interviews, and analyses on Michael Dubin, whose background is in media and content, and his Dollar Shave Club promotional video. And there’s a reason for that. It garnered the fledgling company $1 million in venture capital and subsequently generated 12,000 sign-up’s in the first 48 hours after launch. That’s a decent return on investment. To date the video has over 5.2 million views on Youtube.
I know you’re itching to see it, so without further ado…
It should be readily apparent why this is featured in our Content Revolution series. There’s an important similarity between Epic Meal Time and Dollar Shave Club, and it’s not the three-word name. It’s that both resonate with their respective audiences at a primal, visceral level. Why? Let’s take a look at a few key components to the raging success of this branding video.
1. It’s funny
How’s that for in-depth analysis? No one is watching Dubin’s video because it’s on during a Leno commercial break and the DVR is broken. They’re watching it because it’s hilarious and entertaining. They’re watching it because their friends are sharing the video and telling them to watch it. They’re watching because it’s concise and gets to the point in a clever way. But mostly because it’s hilarious. Not all of us have studied improv comedy with Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, as Dubin has. Still, it’s possible to be funny and still address real issues. Which brings us to…
2. It solves problems
Whereas Epic Meal Time exists as a brand to entertain, Dollar Shave Club exists to solve perceived problems in the shaving world, and their video poses solutions to each of these through informative humor. Dubin presents the brand right up front – “here’s who we are, and here’s what we offer.” He then presents each problem – cost of traditional razors, unnecessary ‘shave tech,’ forgetting to buy blades – and Dollar Shave Club’s solution to each problem, with a well-delivered joke. The humor keeps you there, but there’s just enough legitimate info to keep it compelling. The result is a genuinely funny video that sells without feeling “salesy.”
3. It doesn’t feel like advertising
Well, it feels a little bit like advertising. But no one cares, because it’s awesome! The audience is being told a story. They feel like they’re getting a behind-the-scenes look at Dubin and Dollar Shave Club’s operations side. But there’s also a sense of skepticism. “Surely a company who seeks to take on the likes of Gillette and Schick isn’t coming out of the box like this? Are they for real? Is that really their warehouse? Does that bear get dental?” I would venture to guess that this is one of the reasons it secured Dollar Shave Club their investors.
4. It’s risky, but targeted
Let’s face it… how often does a company use the “F” word in its advertising, and get away with it? There is a real chance that this could turn off many would-be customers, and perhaps it has. Even though it is “beeped” in the video and the poster Dubin so bombastically points to contains asterisks, this isn’t exactly wholesome, family entertainment. But, they know their audience and what resonates with them. The guy who is sick of paying for those vibrating, fluorescent, thermal-powered, 10-bladed razors isn’t fazed by an f-bomb in advertising. In fact, he’s likely drawn to the irreverence.
5. It’s interactive
Yes, shaving is interactive. But that’s not what I mean. Dollar Shave Club offers community. The Facebook of facial hair? Not exactly. In the video, Dubin makes a clear statement: ‘shave tech’ is unnecessary and too expensive. This resonates. When you get to Dollar Shave Club’s website, you find a place for guys “hang out” online. As Dubin says in this WSJ interview (prior to the video feed dropping), this is a club – something for members to be proud to be a part of. Well, just like Alejandro, it’s working. Check out their blog and you’ll see what we mean. People want interactive these days, and Dollar Shave Club provides a hunting club feel and member interaction via picture postings and other communication.
At the end of the day, the Youtube views and the company’s sign-up’s tell the story on the video’s effectiveness. That’s where the rubber meets the road – or should I say, the aloe vera lubricating strip meets the epidermis. This video is 1:34 worth of branding and advertising brilliance. The people have spoken. Or, maybe people just love a guy dancing in a bear suit.
Time will tell as to whether they live up to the hype. The internet can send a brand to the gallows as quickly as it’s crowned them king, so the challenge for Dollar Shave Club is matching that initial launch intensity with a stellar product and service. Thus far though, no one can question their methods or their results. And based on the blog, they appear to have some more than satisfied members. Look out Vanderbilt… train’s-a-comin’. Choo choo.