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A Viral Video Made Dollar Shave Club’s Launch. Can Another Broaden Its Appeal?

The startup just dropped its latest creation–and it is just as bizarre as ever.

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BY Christine Lagorio-Chafkin - 11 Jul 2018

A Viral Video Made Dollar Shave Club's Launch. Can Another Broaden Its Appeal?

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Company

Dollar Shave Club, the blade-subscription startup whose 2012 launch video "Our Blades are F***ing Great!" helped bring in more than 12,000 new customers, just added a new entry to its highly successful (and strange) advertisement canon.

Released on YouTube on July 11, "Getting Ready," is a lengthy visual exploration of mens' grooming routines, showing how a diverse array of characters deal with their physical insecurities--including weird cologne-application and hair-removal techniques (spoiler alert: duct tape is involved). At more than three minutes, "Getting Ready" is a strange watch, one whose characters would fit nicely on, say, an episode of Orange Is the New Black.

A Viral Video Made Dollar Shave Club's Launch. Can Another Broaden Its Appeal?

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Company

If it didn't have an element of the bizarre, though, it wouldn't be Dollar Shave Club. The company's ads have always put a sort of semi-gritty authenticity first. Its very first video, circa 2012, featured co-founder Michael Dubin walking around a factory while explaining the simplicity of his idea (sample line, in deadpan: "I'm no Vanderbilt, but this train makes hay"), cost a mere $4,500 and took a single day to shoot.

In 2016 there was "What the FAQ," (pronounced fak), in which DSC customer reps gave straightforward answers to odd and creepy customer questions. Now, in "Getting Ready," the company seems to be shooting for another viral hit to broaden awareness of its expanded product line--and make it clear the company is seeking customers beyond the urban Millennial demographic.

Much has changed for Dollar Shave Club since its last video. It was acquired by Unilever in 2016 for roughly $1 billion. Adam Weber, the company's longtime marketing executive, left the following year. But for the new ad, DSC didn't turn to a top-tier creative agency; instead, it did what it's always done. It made the video itself, using what's become its own roughly 10-person in-house creative agency.

"The greatest creativity comes from inside our four walls," Dubin says. "The people within these four walls know our business the best. They know our brand the best." When the company has broken from that strategy in the past, using third-party agencies for select small campaigns, it hasn't had as much success, he adds.

But the "Get Ready" video and associated ad campaign were created at a scale far larger than what DSC had done before. It required a massive studio, within which 26 individual bathroom sets were assembled. The filming took place over six days at Universal Studios. This time dozens of outside editors, visual effects artists, a production company, and music supervisors also contributed to the effort.

Here is the result.

And here's a walk down memory lane: DSC's first viral sensation.

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