DollarShaveClub

Dollar Shave Club: Definitely Standing Out

Gee Ranasinha Business 4 Comments

You may have already seen this. It’s a few weeks old already.

If you haven’t, then take a look at this (real) video ad for Dollar Shave Club , a subscription-based razor blade delivery service (if you can’t see the video above, then click here).

Not only does the ad feature the actual company CEO, Michael Dubin, as its central character. The video – which cost just $4,500 to make – was used to help secure venture capital financing from big-name companies such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Andreessen Horowitz!

The results so far have been staggering. In the first ten days of launch, Dollar Shave Club signed-up 20,000 subscribers. In less than a month, their off-the-wall, built-to-be-shared video has been seen 4 million times.

The company is on target to secure more than $50 million in sales in the first twelve months of trading. This is in what most people would agree is a mature industry, dominated by just 2 or 3 major players. They’ve done this in a commodity market space with zero marketing budget, sales staff, distributors, resellers, print or TV advertising.

Regardless of how well (or otherwise) Dollar Shave Club does in the coming months and years, what would seem clear from a marketing perspective is that the big guys have been caught napping. An unknown upstart has come along and not only disrupted the established business model (i.e. sell the razors cheaply, and charge a fortune for the blades). But they’ve communicated their business value in a way that cannot be ignored. Dubin used to be a digital marketing director at Sports Illustrated. Clearly his experience has been put to great use.

The “safe” option would have been for Dollar Shave Club to market their product along the same lines at how the other guys do it. The problem with doing that is that the audience wouldn’t have noticed them. Honestly, if you covered-up the logo and tagline, could you really tell the difference between an ad from Gillette and an ad from Schick/Wilkinson Sword?

That’s the problem that Dollar Shave Club recognized they’d have, if they went down the road of convention.

Daring To Stand Out

Instead, they dared to Stand Out. They realized that playing it safe was tantamount to commercial suicide: a new business model that upsets all that gone before is innovative, but that isn’t always enough. By combining a new way of looking at buying razors with a bold and risky marketing campaign, Dollar Shave Club looks poised to single-handedly change marketing thinking for an industry that’s been doing the same thing over and over again for more than half a century.

The Best A Man Can Get? Yeah, right. You can bet that Gillette and the rest are going to be watching very closely over the next few months.

This could be the iPod vs. the Walkman all over again.

Update:
Seems that the success of Dollar Shave Club over the past few years has been proving to be a real fly in the ointment for the competition. Not only has Gillette introduced their own version of a subscription-based model, but they’ve filed a lawsuit against Dollar Shave Club for patent infringement. This movie looks set to run and run.

About the Author
Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha

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After founding a successful media production firm, Gee became worldwide director of marketing for a European software company. As well as CEO of KEXINO he's an author, lecturer, husband, and father; and one hell of a nice bloke. He lives in a world of his own in Strasbourg, France, tolerated by his wife and young son. Find out more about Gee at kexino.com/gee-ranasinha.



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Comments 4

  1. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha
    Cathybishop

    Well yeah, I can see that! Obviously they dared to be different and dared to stand out from the rest of the pack. Truly original indeed. It’s good that there are firms which defied the ‘playing safe’ mentality and just think way out of the box. Amazing.

    1. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha
      Gee Ranasinha

      Hi Cathy,

      Great, isn’t it?  Can you imagine the faces of the VC company execs when they showed the video for the first time?!?!?  Fantastic. 

      Kudos to Dollar Shave Club for having the guts to go up against the established players. I’m sure that they’re all set for success. 

  2. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha
    Hxiong_bt

    So they simply put a nicly done video on YouTube and hoped that somehow people would show up? I feel there is more to this. Their service rocks that industry for sure. But getting the words out is a big challenge. How they attracted that many people so quickly is the amazing part.

    1. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha
      Gee Ranasinha

      I think that they got eyeballs so quickly due to 2 innovations: the business model and the chosen method of marketing.

      I agree that getting your message out, above all the existing noise, certainly isn’t easy. However, the fact that Dollar Shave Club realized this and chose to “Stand Out” gave them better than a fighting chance that a significant percentage of their target market would 1) see the video and 2) tell their friends.

      However, getting attention only gets you part of the way. There obviously needs to be a compelling value proposition at the end of the ball of string. You can have all the online views in the world but, if your target audience doesn’t buy into what your selling them, then you’re going nowhere.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

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