Dollar Shave Club Names Adobe as Primary DSP Partner as It Accelerates Its Omnichannel Campaigns

The direct-to-consumer brand is looking to consolidate to Adobe stack

Dollar Shave Club sold to Unilever for $1 billion in 2016. Dollar Shave Club
Headshot of Ronan Shields

The rise of direct-to-consumer brands is arguably one of the most distinctive trends in marketing during the digital era. Largely defined by their lack of reliance on middlemen, this new wave of brands is gradually beginning to supplant those that have dominated U.S. households for the last 140 years, according to a recent IAB study.

Dollar Shave Club (DSC), a men’s grooming brand purchased by CPG giant Unilever for $1 billion, is largely seen as a standard bearer among this cohort, with the digital native outfit renowned for its use of earned media opportunities. It also plans to further enhance its use of paid-for media opportunities, as it has appointed Adobe Advertising Cloud as its primary demand-side platform (DSP), looking to further its omnichannel media executions through programmatic buying.

DSC named Adobe as its preferred DSP following a competitive pitch involving several rival platforms, which began in the first quarter of this year, according to Ranil Wiratunga, DSC’s director of media and acquisition.

He told Adweek the decision was aided by the fact that DSC already uses other elements of the Adobe Advertising Cloud, such as Adobe Audience Manager and Analytics, as it meant its marketing team could use the one piece of technology to meet both its direct response and branding KPIs. Working with this more comprehensive stack, they can improve brand awareness and also increase sales and engagement.

“It also has a unified stack,” he said. “To have planning, targeting and measurement [capabilities] all in one place is definitely something that we were looking for. It meant that we could use all of the same technology at the same time and that we didn’t have to cherry-pick different things from different people.”

Ultimately, DSC sees this as beneficial because one stack will help their marketing team streamline operations without compromising its results.

Wiratunga also pointed out that Adobe being “media agnostic” was an additional attraction when it came to its selection process.

The term “media agnostic” (or “neutral”) indicates that an ad-tech company does not have any owned and operated media that could potentially influence its DSP’s decision when it comes to selecting where to purchase media on behalf of a buyer. This is a criticism commonly leveled at full-stack providers who are often referred to as “walled gardens,” as they offer their own inventory alongside that of other publishers, leading many to feel that there is no way their decisions can be fair and truly unbiased.

Wiratunga went on to state that DSC will use the new DSP partnership for its media investment beyond the traditional digital means of advertising, such as paid-for keyword targeting or online display ads.

“With things like the acquisition of [online video specialist] TubeMogul and the things like [opportunities it brings] linear TV as well as the audio space, we’re able to buy that programmatically now with Adobe,” he added.

Keith Eadie, Adobe vp and general manager of Adobe Advertising Cloud, said the partnership would help DSC objectively map consumer journeys and then help its marketers personalize interactions with both existing and prospective customers.

“The first campaigns bought through the DSP went live in September and span video, display and linear TV. Over the next year, DSC plans to extend the partnership beyond North America as it expands globally,” he wrote in a blog post.

“The brand also plans to test new products like Adobe Advertising Cloud Creative, which debuted at Adobe Summit earlier this year.”

@ronan_shields Ronan Shields is a programmatic reporter at Adweek, focusing on ad-tech.