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