Iconic Ads: Dollar Shave Club – Our Blades Are F***ing Great
The more you individualize your brand from the competition, the stronger the bond you build with your consumers by being relevant
The video’s star, Michael Dubin, launched the Dollar Shave Club in Los Angeles with a sense of irreverence.
While it seems to be a crudely filmed amateur project, it was actually the work of a team of professionals who had meticulously planned every aspect of the production. Featured in the movie was Dubin himself, who studied improv comedy for eight years at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) in New York City. He also worked as a page for NBC and as a digital news producer. Director Lucia Aniello was an old friend from his days at UCB and the head of the Los Angeles production firm Paulilu, which had worked on commercials for Estée Lauder and Audi, as well as the Emmys.
For the “Funny or Die”-style commercial, Dubin came up with the concept. A pastime of his had always been sketching.
Creating art that can truly help a company was a terrific idea. For him, this is a wonderful combination of his two interests: the internet and comedy.
When it came to arranging the shot, Dubin and Aniello were cold and calculated. Starting with Dubin’s four-page screenplay, Aniello aided in reducing it to two pages. If anything wasn’t necessary, it was discarded. Everything has to have a purpose or a reason for being.
Then, over top of what was left of the brand messaging, they wrote jokes. A self-deprecating tone was maintained throughout the video by the witty combo. Brand messaging is well understood, and when you undermine it, people are aware of the risk you’ve taken. If you acquire a sense of humour, and as long as you’re willing to put yourself out there, you may be rewarded.
The F-bomb is a good example. However, Dubin was having a hard time coming up with the perfect phrase for the video’s opening punch. It was then that Aniello replied, “Our blades are f**king great.” Doubt briefly crossed Dubin’s mind, but he eventually decided to go for it.
They methodically prepared, shot on-site at their fulfilment facility in Gardena, California, and finished it in one day. As a result, Aniello calculated that the film would have cost most organisations $50,000 instead of its $4,500 price tag.
A lot of risks were taken in the video. It wasn’t afraid to poke fun at itself. A line that featured the words “f**king great” was not omitted because it was considered too bold. With Dubin’s confident delivery, the ridiculous circumstances worked well. On-camera appearances by non-paying professional comedians are always welcome. The support of an old buddy who is a professional filmmaker with a background in humour is usually a good thing.
The company’s server failed 90 minutes after the show aired. Within 48 hours, more than 12,000 people had enrolled in the service they were offering. Only Google Ads were used to bring in 4.75 million views in three months.
The company then put out a series of funny commercials that have helped a lot with its huge popularity.