Our Razors are F***ing Great – An Analysis
You may have heard of DollarShaveClub.com, a start-up looking to capture part of the $2.6 billion “grooming market” (yeah, humans are vain apparently). Or maybe you have just seen the video…
The blogs and news outlets have already scrubbed the business side of this topic raw. But honestly, this video is really what we care about in this post. It’s snarky, creative, and viral. I first watched it on March 6th and was approximately viewer # 2,217. Today, as of 2:15pm CST on March 9th, it’s been viewed over 2 million times. Additionally, statistics are currently disabled, which usually means an anomaly is occurring on YouTube and their system is having trouble tracking the video’s view rate (or, rather, unable to keep that data accurate and available to the public).
It’s blowing up.
I’ve viewed it myself at least 5 times (on YouTube or embedded elsewhere), and have realized it’s layered like an onion. Sure it’s funny and entertaining, but there’s more to it. Let’s get analytical.
What is behind him? – First thing you see is Michael Dubin (co-founder, a.k.a. Mike, a.k.a. the boss, a.k.a. “The Face”) speaking to the viewer from his desk with a wall littered with junk behind him. This junk includes, but is not limited to, Cool Caps, a Personal Alcohol Detector, DecoTile, Flinstone figurines, CD cleaning spray, those trendy oval stickers with the letters MB on them (Myrtle Beach, Manitoba… Magnificent Bastard???), a voice changer, a blind spot mirror, a baseball player bobble head, a soccer ball light fixture, a fun saver 35 disposable camera, assorted plastic airplanes (one with a launcher) and what appears to be shoelace locks, an astronaut model, a blue plastic whale, novelty water bottles, and a Mario figurine. It’s not easy to recognize all the items, but what’s less clear is it’s purpose. Did they raid my grandmother’s garage sale that morning? Is Mike a hoarder? Have all those items at one time passed through that warehouse? It’s clear from the assorted boxes and packages throughout the warehouse that the space is used for more than just razors.
“Our blades are f***ing great” font – As Mike exits his office, he talks about the quality of their razors with a sign to visually punch the point home. That white font on a red background look familiar? It’s likely either a font called Gotham or a similar, less proprietary option. You may have seen it around.
Charts on wall – Following a quick (and clingy) burst through an orange papered doorway, Mike walks by two charts. The first is a First Aid chart, the second some standard employment notices. Both of these seem to suggest this guy is running an actual/legal business.
Book being read – As Mike continues walking he passes by a toddler, the daughter of Mike’s friend, prepped to shave a guy’s, possibly the friend, head. The man is reading “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Business” which advocates business models that are nimble, able to react to customer feedback, and, to put it bluntly, not fully developed in exchange for speed and flexibility. Relevant.
Fork lift operating regulations – At this point, Mike hops on a forklift for a ride to stage right as he continues. This is in blatant violation of OSHA operating procedures.
Picture of the “handsome ass grandfather” – I’m drawing a blank on this one. On first blush, it kind of looks like Nikola Tesla, but that, while awesome, doesn’t make sense. Other searches are coming up with nothing. Maybe it is great great grandad Dubin. Though if you recognize the man, please leave a comment below.
Bottles near picture of “Pop-pop” – Clearly they’re happy with the launch of DollarShaveClub.com. As we zoom into the previously mentioned picture, on the left hand side we see a box and two bottle of IS Vodka.
Bear symbolism – No clue.
“I’m no Vanderbilt, but this train makes hay” – A bit obscure to say the least, but a catchy saying. The Vanderbilt family rose to business prominence in the 1700’s and maintained their status through the early 20th century, starting in shipping and expanding elsewhere. They were also well known for their philanthropy. The phrase “makes hay” or similar is just a common expression effectively meaning to make happen or produce. The train is a metaphor for his business.
Money – At the end, Mike makes it rain (with the help of a leaf blower while dancing with the bear and his employee). The cash appears to be $10 bills or replicas of this denomination. You never get a good look at it though.
Song at end – The song at the end of the commercial is “Karate” by Kennedy. It was in the movie Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
8 blinks – Don’t get in a staring contest with Mike Dubin. The man appears to only blink about 8 times in the video and doesn’t blink at all for many of the longer segments where he speaks to the camera at length. He’s probably a robot*.
Final note; I doubt I’ll ever sign up. Sure it’s a deal, but with my facial hair growth rate (or lack their of), my current razor cartridges/heads last me 2-4 months each. With the 5 cartridges for $1/month plan (or around $3 once shipping and handling is factored in), after a year I’d have enough heads to last me a decade and a half. I’m all for deals and bulk buy opportunities, but that dog won’t hunt.
Still, this company is arguably genius. Or at least really smart. They’ll be genius when they start marketing to, oh I don’t know, maybe a group of potential customers that, instead of shaving a relatively small portion of their surface area, have a tendency to shave half their body (especially during summer months). There’s rumors of a “Lover’s Blade” option that could cover this market, but if it exists, it’s only available after you register and thus not being actively marketed. Yet.
*Further evidence: his limited range of emotions, stiff demeanor, disregard to the paper clinging to his body, and his “dancing” at the end