Monday, August 4, 2014

Dollar Shave Club shows online video really works - Creative Excellence Fridays

When the viral video for Dollar Shave Club came out in March of 2012, it was shared like crazy. The definition of a success story in social and online entrepreneurial success. It had already notched up 4.75 million views. Fastforward to August 1, 2014 and it's now 15,487,324. The scary part? No conventional television buy. It was all through online video ad placement and pure social shares. Just in case you haven't seen the video, here it is.


 Why was this video so popular? Humour. But comedy is always a calculated risk. But for the same reason it makes sense to buy ad space in a male demo dominated publication, it makes sense to ask the same targeted questions about your comedy positioning. Who is your key audience?
  • Men.
  • And more specifically, men who are guys guys and no nonsense.
  • Men who don't mind saving a buck or two.
  • Men who probably watch at least one sport and appreciate the camaraderie that comes with being a part of a membership, a club, a group with a common purpose.
  • Who do men laugh at and why?
Dollar Shave Club promotion

If I were to choose a comedic style that touched on the widest spectrum of this audience, I'd choose Dave Chapel.  His humour is irreverent, has an edge and is intelligent. Michael Dubin, the video's star and founder of Dollar Shave Club, did in fact want to create a brand that was irreverent. He knows exactly who he's talking to and how to reach them. More importantly, he's a natural on camera. This is very important to note.  Starting as a page at NBC, he pursued a performing career.

He attended the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) theatre in New York City. It's billed as the only accredited improv and sketch comedy school in the country. According to Dubin, "When you're launching a new business and sharing a new idea, if you can get people to remember it, there's obviously a better chance at success." During Dubin's time at UBC he met comedienne Lucia Aniello. She runs Paulilu, an L.A. based production company that has created a variety of comedy shorts for the Emmy Awards and Audi to name a few.

This history proved to be invaluable for Dubin. Where other CEO's would need to shell out probably $50,000 Dubin and Aniello were able to produce their video for about $4,500. They wrote the script together with Aniello pushing Dubin in directions he might not have felt comfortable with if he were writing it himself. And she pulled him back where necessary. She urged him to lose anything that wasn't 100% necessary so the  sell points didn't out weigh the humour and the video would remain entertaining. And how powerful was this video? Sharing is one thing, but did it actually move subscriptions? 48 hours after the video launched on YouTube, 12,000 people had signed up.

And just when you thought it was safe to go to your computer, Dubin came up with the follow up video.  Not as good as the first in my opinion.  The "buttwipe" product was begging to be exploited but it went, literally, too far into the toilet.  You be the judge.


 Are there more videos coming?  Absolutely.  You can count on it.  And with his competitors attempting to copy The Dollar Shave Club video strategy,  Dubin will have to remain true to the formula we and countless other creative shops have bowed down to; keep the bar high and compete against yourself for the best results. Here he talks about the success of the viral video comedy format and his own background.

    So far

Dubin's funny video strategy has had him laughing all the way to the bank.

With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

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