29 January 2023 |

The Clean Shaven Tactics of a Billion Dollar Brand

By Daniel Murray

We all love a good underdog story. You can’t help but root for one. 

They’ve got nothing to lose, a long shot at coming out victorious, but still show up and give it their all.

Today’s lesson highlights an underdog who strategically used humor and a cohesive brand identity, in order to take down Gillette Goliath.

A brand who’s clean shaven tactics helped them solidify their seat at the table while altering the course of an ENTIRE industry.

I present to you, Dollar Shave Club.

Founded in 2012 by Michael Dubin, Dollar Shave Club made an immediate splash in a market dominated by companies with bankrolls bigger than a kid selling lemonade on a hot summer day.

With a budget of $4,500, Dollar Shave Club filmed a YouTube video announcing their launch and it went VIRAL. 

Amassing 28 MILLION views to date, it is one of the most successful launch campaigns of all time. 

“But Prof. Murray, views don’t pay the bills.”

You’re right. This campaign didn’t just capture eyeballs, it captured revenue.

The day of the launch, Dollar Shave Club’s website crashed because of a huge influx of traffic.

And immediately 12,000 people signed up for a subscription. $144,000 in recurring revenue RIGHT from day one.

But why was it so successful?

There is a fine line with using humor in marketing that can make or break your message getting across.

But Dollar Shave Club CRUSHED this.

Within 30 seconds of watching you know everything you need to know: what Dollar Shave Club is, how much it costs, and where to buy it.

There’s no confusion about their offer. You can instantly tell your friends about it.

Then their brand identity starts to shine.

Are their blades good? No. They’re F*cking great.

Product features are highlighted throughout the video with dry humor that keeps viewers engaged and doesn’t distract from the overall message that you NEED Dollar Shave Club.

Amidst the chaos, Dubin is able to push on consumer pain points and offers the perfect solution. Dollar Shave Club.

Your esteemed Grandfather used a one blade razor, so what makes you think you need a 10 blade razor?

As simple as it looks, this is where Marketers need to take notes. Dubin knew his customers. 

Forget to buy razors? Dollar Shave Club will ship them right to you each month. 

Hate spending crazy amounts of money on new shaving tech? Dollar Shave Club is the simplicity you need.

He knew what they were experiencing and was able to use that to his advantage in his storytelling. 

But the story didn’t end there.

Dollar Shave Club shifted from selling us on the product, to selling us on the brand as a whole.

The video cuts to Dubin in a wagon with one of his employees. Where he explains in the most cut and dry way the good they’re doing for others.

He asks Alejandra what she was doing last month. And she responds “Not working.” Now what is she doing? Working, thanks to Dollar Shave Club.

As if you weren’t already a fan of Dollar Shave Club for saving you 100s of $$ a year on razors, now you definitely are.

To cap it all off, Dollar Shave Club made their brand approachable.

The student-film style of the commercial was the human touch that wasn’t seen in an industry specializing in high budget campaigns.

Dollar Shave Club solidified their role in the industry as the underdog destined to disrupt.

And boy did they disrupt.

In the 2 years following the release of the “Our Blades Are F*cking Great” campaign, Dollar Shave Club claimed 10% of the entire Men’s shaving market.

And in 2016, Unilever wrote a check to the tune of $1 BILLION to buy Dollar Shave Club.