Dollar Shave Club Goes for the Really (Really!) Big Laughs in Its Latest Ads

Brand's latest cutting humor

Hey, Dollar Shave Club, what's the big idea?

In the brand's latest kooky commercials, razors grow to fantastic proportions. They're roughly the size of compact cars—and sold, appropriately enough, in automobile dealership settings.

Take, for example, the flashy model in the ad below. Sure, its sheer mass, with 12 blades and 11.5 moisture strips, are impressive. But the laser chin-detection system is the real breakthrough:

No cleft is safe from that mighty dynamo!

"It's the reality of buying razors that's ridiculous—we just hold a funhouse mirror up to it," says Alec Brownstein, creative director and vp of creative at DSC's in-house agency, which developed the campaign with Ruffian director Tim Bullock. "As long as guys have to cope with continuing absurdity in the marketplace, the ground will remain comedically fertile to us."

OK, but why riff on auto-showroom tropes?

"The insight that we discovered was that shopping for razors was similar to shopping for cars," says Brownstein. "If you spend a lot on the high end, you get oversold on tons of unnecessary options. You pay more for the 2017 model than the 2016, despite very few changes."

Conversely, "if you settle for the cheap ride, you get zero options," he adds. "There's no thought or care given to design or comfort, and the dealer doesn't have to make an effort because he knows you've got no other choice."

That's the scenario in the next commercial, where the outsized budget blades on display in an outdoor lot might not be the sharpest buys:

"You can either overpay for the latest 'breakthrough' from the Big Razor Monopoly, or you can settle for an inferior shave from a cheap bag of plastic disposables—two lousy options," says Brownstein. "Dollar Shave Club aims to be the smarter choice—a premium shave at an affordable price."

That's the pitch delivered by CEO and founder Michael Dubin, from atop a giant razor, at the close of both spots.

By now, Dubin is a familiar clean-shaven face from his many appearances in the company's advertising, dating back to its famous 90-second debut five years ago. The humor has evolved over time, toned down from the anything goes, Old Spice-y vibe of the early ads as a startup to the more subdued silliness of recent work as part of Unilever.

While not exactly cutting-edge (oof!), the new ads serve as amusing metaphors that memorably deliver DSC's message.

And best of all … huge-ass razors! Boo-yah!

"There was a lot of back and forth on what sort of ridiculous add-ons the Missile 12 razor should have," recalls Brownstein. "We debated spraying lube strips, accidentally decapitating ninja stars, transformer robot self-awareness and extreme heated handle seats. Eventually, we settled on laser chin detection, because it had just the right amount of seemingly useful uselessness."


Client: Dollar Shave Club

CEO: Michael Dubin

Assistant to CEO: Kristina Kovacs

CMO: Adam Weber

Assistant to CMO: Alex Danzer

VP of Brand Marketing: Nick Fairbairn

Director, Brand Marketing: Chrissy Cartwright

Sr. Manager, Brand Marketing: Oscar Weis

Agency: Dollar Shave Club In House

Creative Director, VP of Creative: Alec Brownstein

Creative Director: Matt Knapp

Creative Director: Matt Orser

Senior Producer: Matt Sausmer

Agency Director: Raechelle Hoki

Project Manager: Christine Melloy

Project Coordinator: Kristen Moran

Business Affairs: Ingenium

Legal Affairs: Allison Buchner & Vahid Redjal

Production Company: Ruffian

Director: Tim Bullock

Director of Photography: Simon Duggan

Production Designer: Floyd Albee

Founder: Robert Herman

Executive Producer: David Richards

Head of Production: Sheila Eisenstein

Producer: Greg Schultz

Editorial: Arcade Edit

Partner/Managing Director: Damian Stevens

Editor: Will Hasell

Editor: Kyle Brown

Assistant Editor: Michael Costello

Post Producer: Rebecca Jameson

Visual FX: Moving Picture Company

Creative Director, VFX: Paul O'Shea

VFX Supervisor: Gizmo Rivera

CG Supervisor: Zach Tucker

Colorist: Kris Smale

Executive Producer: Mike Wigart

Producer: Colin Clarry

Director, Product Shoot: Kina Choi

Director, Product Shoot: Eric Anderson

DP, Product Shoot: Rich Schaefer

Production Supervisor, Product Shoot: Lori Hoffman


"Inspector Norse" by Todd Terje

Sound Mixing: Beacon Street Studios

Mixing: Beacon Street Studios

Producer: Kate Vadnais

Associate Producer: Christa Jayne Sustello

Mixer/Sound Designer: Rommel Molina

Assistant Mixer: Aaron Cornacchio

Additional Supervision: Genevieve Vincent

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.