Dollar Shave Club: A Case of Innovative Advertisement

Even before Unilever acquired Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion, the subscription-based company was already a dime on its own. With only $1 million in seed funding, the startup wittingly dealt their cards against a Goliath and other big time razor companies through a simple yet powerful video marketing. When they launched their products, Gillette was the big guy in the business who prompted a $57 billion acquisition deal from Proctor & Gamble.  

Dollar Shave Club used more than a slingshot to snag 12,000 subscribers two days after their e-commerce opened. These tricks allowed them to cut through the traditional advertisements and position themselves in the competition:

They identified their audience and defined their value proposition.

Their objective is clear and simple: deliver shaving kit monthly for a fraction of a dollar. While razors work with anyone with body hair, they set their demographics to metrosexual men who want to look good in a shoestring budget. Clearly defining their target audience enabled them to set the elements of their video marketing such as the tone and theme to speak the language of their market. Point, it’s easier to speak to a definite set of audience than to an entire nation.


They’re hilarious! Hence, memorable.

Humor is consistent in Dollar Shave Club’s branding. Without the budget for athletes or celebrity for endorsement, the company’s very own CEO Michael Dubin did their own video ad himself. But it was brilliant: inflicting humor without trying too hard. Dubin knew when to pull the comical string and catch the audience interest. This resulted to 4 million YouTube views in the first month, reaching 23 million as of this writing.


Their message is clear

At the first 15 seconds of the video, Dubin was able to define the benefits of their subscription-based service. The video wasted no time and went straight with their features. They also explained how their kits are cheaper compared to other leading brands (but still “f**cking great”)and how subscriptions can result to more employment.


They make awesome sales copies

 “Are the blades any good? No. Our blades are f**king great.”

 While Dubin’s timing is perfect, the creative sales copy is the main ingredient of their success. It was the reason they delivered their message at the first 15 seconds of the video. Take time in writing a brilliant sales copy that would convey your message across your audience without losing your entertainment value. Above all, don’t forget to have clear call to action. For Dubin, he wants their audience to stop forgetting to buy their blades each month. What do you want your audience to do after watching your video?

It didn’t take rocket science nor a famous celebrity endorser to position Dollar Shave Club in the competitive razor industry. As a startup company, you need to think outside the box to position yourself in the industry and of course, tell your story in an awesome video!



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