A Great Shave
A video produced in 2012 with a budget of $4500, which took a single day to shoot (Blakely, 2017) has amassed 27,385,654++ views on YouTube over the years. The YouTube video was so successful that it helped the company earn more than $3.5 million in revenue in 2012 (Blakely, 2017). In 2016, Unilever bought the company for nearly $1 billion, at which time the company was earning a revenue of $225 million (Blakely, 2017).
I am refereeing to the “Our Blades Are F***ing Great” video by DollarShaveClub.com (Dollar Shave Club, 2012). Dollar Shaver Club shipped razors every month to its subscribers for $1, plus shipping (Ransom, 2015). Watch the video here:
So, what made the video so successful? In my understanding, following were some key factors:
It connected with the needs of the consumers – it told the basic fact that people need a sharp and safe razor for shaving and not high-end technology, moreover this is a regular need and a subscription service allows good alternative to regular purchasing
It was different from the other razor ads of the time, yet it was real – it featured the CEO with his wit and humor talking about the product and the service instead of tennis star
It was open and hones – it highlighted the cost of producing a razor and why it makes no sense to increase the price just to get a brand ambassador
It chose the right platform – In 2012 YouTube was the only platform for sharing videos online and it capitalized on that instead of spending huge money on television ad spots
It chose the perfect timing – according to the CEO, the ad was planned to be launched just before South by Southwest so that the offline gathering of people serves as a catalyst for the video to spread faster (Ransom, 2015)
Okay, the video was successful, and the company eventually became a huge success. But did the video serve its purpose when it was launched? In the words of Michael Dubin, the CEO of Dollar Shave Club (Ransom, 2015) :
“Unfortunately, our servers were totally unprepared for the amount of traffic that flooded in. Our first video went live at 6 a.m. PT on March 6, 2012. By 7:30 a.m., the site had crashed and we couldn't get it back up for 24 hours…The next day the site was back up, we had 12,000 new subscribers, and within just a few days, three million people had watched the video.”
So, a simple video, made with limited budget, but having great content led to the video going viral and good returns for the company.
Blakely, L. (2017). How a $4,500 YouTube Video Turned Into a $1 Billion Company. Inc. https://www.inc.com/magazine/201707/lindsay-blakely/how-i-did-it-michael-dubin-dollar-shave-club.html
Dollar Shave Club. (2012, March 6). DollarShaveClub.com - Our Blades Are F***ing Great [Video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI
Ransom, D. (2015). How Dollar Shave Club Rode a Viral Video to Sales Success. Inc. https://www.inc.com/magazine/201507/diana-ransom/how-youtube-crashed-our-website.html