Racking up nearly four million views on YouTube over the last three weeks, a video released by a Santa Monica-based company called Dollar Shave Club has quickly become a viral sensation primarily among men. Playing up the angle that current blade prices from companies like Gillette and Schick are far too expensive, Dollar Shave Club is a razor-subscription service that delivers razors to your door for as little as $1 a month (plus $2 shipping and handling) for the blades. The company had launched a beta version of the site during April 2011, but opened it up to the public as of early March 2012.
The basic plan offers five two-bladed razor cartridges for $1 a month and the razor handle is included within the first shipment. The basic razor comes with an aloe vera strip at the top and a head that slightly pivots.
The $6-a-month plan offers four cartridges with four blades per razor. The model includes an open back for rinsing out the blades, offers a 90-degree pivot head and can be used by the opposite sex as well. The final $9-a-month plan provides three cartridges of a six-bladed razor and comes with a rubber guard bar to push up the hairs when shaving as well as a moisturizing strip with aloe vera, vitamin E and lavender.
Dollar Shave Club’s co-founder and CEO Michael Dubin stars in the promotion video that includes a toddler shaving a man’s head, a machete sword chopping a section of packing tape and someone in a giant brown bear suit dancing in front of the American flag. Dubin trained in New York City with the Upright Citizens Brigade, a popular improv comedy group that’s launched the careers of people like Amy Poehler of Parks & Recreation and Ed Helms of The Office. Dubin also wrote the script for the video and had a friend shoot the entire 94-second video. The video captures the same zaniness that increased the popularity of Old Spice after its off-the-wall marketing campaign skyrocketed in popularity.
Dubin’s company has strong financial backers which helped raise over one million dollars to help launch the company. According to Dubin, the company is able to offer less expensive blades than companies like Gillette and Schick because they were able to cut out the expensive marketing budget.
For instance, Gillette aired a new ad during the Super Bowl and likely paid around $3.5 million for each 30-second spot according to the going rate. The ad featured actors Adrien Brody and Gael García Bernal as well as Outkast’s André 3000, another expensive addition to the marketing budget. Incidentally, the commercial has only gotten about five percent the number of YouTube views as Dubin’s spot.
Regarding the quality of the product, Michael Nolan at My Earth Garden recently reviewed the basic model and stated “For cost, quality, customer service and performance I give DollarShaveClub’s “Humble Twin” razor an enthusiastic thumbs up.” According to Nolan, Dollar Shave Club fulfilled his order after a short wait due to the popularity of the video. In an interview with Time, Dubin stated that he is planning to launch more videos as the company rolls out products that are complimentary to the razors such as shaving cream and aftershave. Dubin states “We’ll send out free samples to subscribers and have them vote for their favorites. Then we’ll offer subscriptions for the best of the bunch.”