Procter & Gamble is an advertising Goliath. Dollar Shave Club was an unknown 2 weeks ago. Thanks to brilliant advertising, Dollar Shave Club is going to take the fun out of being a brand manager for Gillette (owned by P&G) for the foreseeable future.
Basically, with a video that’s gone viral and a website, Dollar Shave Club has just taken the process of buying razors out of drug stores and grocery stores and moved it to a subscription service with no need for fancy packaging, expensive TV campaigns, coupons or the help of superstar celebrities.
Fast Company describes the ad:
In its parody-toned ad, the company CEO takes us on a tour of the Dollar Shave Club warehouse. He seems almost aggressively committed to the product he’s hawking–angry that people would be foolish enough to buy razors any other way than from a club. “Do you like spending $20/month on razors? 19 go to Roger Federer,” the CEO says, catching a tennis racket thrown from offscreen. “I’m good at tennis,” he promises, immediately swinging for a ball thrown his way, missing it, and moving along.
It turns out the guy in the video really is the founder and CEO of the new start-up, Michael Dubin. What’s more surprising, though, is the fact that he made the ad himself.
“The world is filled with bad commercials and people who are marketing too hard,” Dubin says. “I think what we wanted to do is not take ourselves too seriously, and deliver an irreverent smart tone.”
Dubin wrote the spot last October and shot it with his good friend and co-director, Lucia Aniello. It cost about $4,500 and the team managed to bang it out in a single day, shooting on location at the actual factory warehouse, at their fulfillment center in Gardena, California.
All the dollars on R&D at P&G aren’t going to survive the onslaught of common sense behind the basic premise of Dollar Shave Club- razor blades shouldn’t cost a small fortune. People know when they’ve been taken for a ride, but without any alternative in the Schick/Gillette duopoly, the only price war we’ve seen previously is how high can they go- and with a simple, classic counter-strike the entire market has been transformed. Granted, those without Internet access may not find their way to cheaper shaves, but, at these prices a cottage industry of resellers may just sprout up, because even the cheap disposable razors aren’t as cheap as DSC.
The only option left to the ransom kings of shaving blades is to quickly buy out DSC or his manufacturer in China and risk an anti-trust lawsuit from the feds.
But, what is even more amazing is there is no glamor shot of the product, no demonstration, no celebrity endorsement and even an obscenity aluded to in the spot- all things that wouldn’t even be considered by the soon to be dethroned kings of marketing in Cincinnati. Granted, P&G did finally learn that great advertising that’s irreverent can help move the sales needle when they hired Wieden + Kennedy who came up with “The man your man could smell like” for Old Spice that repositioned a tired brand. However, comparing the media buy of the agency created campaign to the total cost of the do-it-yourself effort of DSC should make P&G rethink everything about the way they approach marketing for everything from Tide to Swifter.
Advertising should never be about budgets as much as it is about creativity and the ability to create an emotional connection and response with the consumer. Dollar Shave Club has just changed the game in razor blade sales. What are you going to do to change the game in your industry? Hint: doing what has always been done doesn’t work so well these days.