AAD511 Communications Lab,  Inspiration

How Storytelling Turned Dollar Shave Club into a Billion Dollar-Company

Dollar Shave Club is an American company that offers razors and other personal shaving products to customers by mail. It provides razor blades on a monthly basis and offers other shaving products for home delivery. The company has transformed over the years and has one of the most common yet great business models I’ve seen so far.

Typical men’s grooming advertisements usually pledge to turn you into a chiselled male model when you purchase their product. Instead, DSC directly connects with the funny bone of its audience through offbeat humour and irreverent marketing approach for its product.

One of Dollar Shave Club’s superpower is how they handle their ads. By strategic branding, DSC has reached the point that its consumers do not even see their advertising materials as ‘marketing.’ And that’s the dream!

Most of the time, their audience sees DSC’s social experiences as a form of fun, something to make them laugh… as we know, masking ads as amusement is one of the ways to easily control consumers’ hearts… and wallets.

Dollar Shave Club has a lot of brilliant marketing minds. It hits the right chord, the right target audience, with the right products and here’s how they achieved it…


#1. The Power of Video

The promotional ad focused on digital video marketing at the outset, where the CEO Michael Dubin himself, with his charming presence and a fantastic touch, entertains audiences and guarantees them the economical price and high quality of their razors.

In the first 48 hours, about 12,000 people signed up for the service, which was ample evidence that the video was a hit.

All of the things to be remembered about the video is that, unlike many regular Razors ads, this commercial speaks to audiences in a relatable voice and binds them to it.


#2. Interactive Website UX

So, they’ve been able to attract interest with a brilliant publicity ad, so what next are they going to deliver to their website for buyers?

It turns out, a hell of a deal! As an e-commerce delivery service, they realise that their brand is their website. They brought in as much love and concern as you can in a brick-and-mortar shop.

Fig 1. Website, Dollar Shave Club (@dollarshaveclub), 2020

The Dollar Shave Club UX is carefully built. Using a wood-texture background pattern, it gives the impression of a retro barber shop. It’s being gradually extended to the web. They advertise themselves as ‘men’s grooming club,’ with ‘friends’ rather than clients. You realize, as soon as you reach the homepage, you ‘re on something special.

DSC anticipates the needs of its customers by getting to the point and fast.


#3. They Know their Audience

Another thing that makes Dollar Shave Club stand out is their awareness of their target market. DSC is communicating to us in a very relatable manner, offering everything that never existed when it comes to men’s grooming goods.

Until Dollar Shave Club, a lot of razor material and brand marketing either used a “gentlemanly” highbrow style or portrayed people as hairy Neanderthals who wanted blades to remain smooth with the edge of a katana.

Yet how long can one market items that support the “closer shave” approach?

Fig 2. Advertisement, Dollar Shave Club (@dollarshaveclub), 2018

Any content marketing campaign should start with strong, deep buyer analysis, so you know what they want, how they want it, where to get it, and how to get it to them.


#4. Engaging Packaging

The DSC was effective in mapping customer behaviour. Along with the goods, it also works on building a clear partnership with the consumers they have been working with. The emphasis is more on the brand experience that can be seen in any marketing step.

Fig 3. Brand packaging, Dollar Shave Club (@dollarshaveclub), 2019

The organisation is mindful of its audience and curates communications deliberately to keep them engaged. For each subscription, consumers will receive a “Bathroom Minutes” magazine that resembles the funny pages of the newspaper, life and grooming tips, as well as articles answering some quirky questions.

Many consumers only want to be a part of the club because of their distinctive and witty personalities and Dollar Shave Club is one of them.


#5. Easily Sharable

The Dollar Shave Club uses conventional advertising positioning, such as television, in their publicity campaign. But the success of the release and fast growth can be attributed to the distribution of their digital content.

By providing a range of video content, along with stop-motion animations, marketed via social media, it has made it easier for potential clients and users to share the content with their friends and families.


#6. Social Media Engagement

In addition to their clever content, DSC also thrives on social interaction.

12% of DSC ‘s overall organic traffic comes from social media, the bulk from YouTube and the remainder from Facebook. It is in line with their viral video, which will then bring a lot of traffic from YouTube (and Twitter, where DSC will also host their post) to their blog.

I’ve been further investigating their involvement in social media, and here’s what I found out.

Facebook: DSC reports that a significant proportion of its customers are on Facebook. Facebook is currently the best social media site for content, and their satirical content ad campaign continues. We also know that a lot of their social media traffic comes from Facebook (as well as YouTube), so DSC naturally spends a lot more on this platform than others.

To try and engage with the viewers, they publish personalized content on their Facebook page including their humorous comic strips.

Twitter: DSC maintains two twitter accounts, one devoted exclusively to customer service and the other to their company page. They are focusing on a men’s lifestyle that represents their overall content marketing strategy.

They put a lot of work into sharing custom graphics for the enjoyment of their followers.

Instagram: On the other hand, DSC’s Instagram followers are much less politically active. Their Instagram page primarily contains a mixture of comic strips and product shots.

Also, when members post a picture of their monthly box on the Instagram or Facebook account, the company posts their favourites, and then rewards the member with a free t-shirt.


#7. Innovative Ads

Fig 4. Facebook, Dollar Shave Club (@dollarshaveclub), 2016

This ad makes fun of how grooming firms discriminate between men’s and women ‘s goods, although there is really no particular distinction aside from colour. They know that their customers often feel patronised by this type of marketing, so they have cleverly used it as a way to sell their products to more people!

This move by DSC is also a subtle bit of branding demonstrating their commitment to hot-button topics such as gender and being realistic and forward looking.

This next ad fits well as it is in the shape of a testimonial to the consumer and therefore gives social evidence to recommend their purchase. It’s special appeal is that you want to figure out what’s so amazing about this razor and that it’s too ‘disruptive’ to be.

Fig 5. Advertisment, Dollar Shave Club (@dollarshaveclub), 2018

They’ve gone to the usual (albeit muscular) guy thinking about how he tried Dollar Shave Club for the first time. Part of their messaging is to make sure that their customers know that they will also disrupt the industry by joining the DSC club. Who wouldn’t want to be part of it? (cough… gilette!)

Finally, this next commercial is part of their ‘Razor for a buck’ initiative.

Fig 6. Advertisment, Dollar Shave Club (@dollarshaveclub), 2019

They equate their promotional offer of a dollar starter pack with other items at an equal price – with a humorous slant. Where DSC comes from, a dollar can just buy you a third of a latte, which is pretty crazy. A month ‘s trial of their razor seems far more valuable than a comparison!

They also promoted their free delivery and a money-back guarantee to minimise the possibility that consumers will waste money on a product they end up not buying.


#8. Efficient Communication

What about when you actually buy a product from the Dollar Shave Club? I’ve been investigating how they handle their consumers online.

Pretty good, it turns out!

They repair faulty goods easily without putting any pressure on the consumer. They don’t expect their clients to fill out a tonne of complex forms or to give back a faulty product. This particular event has built even more confidence in their name.

DSC is very good at customer service. This contact with the consumers ensures the trust of the company.

Fig 7. Twitter, Dollar Shave Club (@dollarshaveclub), 2020

This kind of sarcastic follow-up is what their consumers care most.


Dollar Shave Club is not just another razor service, it’s a brand with a distinct sense of brand identity, humour and lifestyle.

At the end of the day, that’s what caught consumers eye in the company’s launch picture. It’s what resonated with the market and made them want to see what they’re going to do or deliver next, and eventually what sold an otherwise ordinary company to an ever-growing audience of millions!



Fig 1. Dollar Shave Club, Untitled, website, 2020

Accessed May 17th 2020.


Fig 2. Dollar Shave Club, Untitled, advertisement, 2018

Accessed May 17th 2020.


Fig 3. Dollar Shave Club, Untitled, packaging, 2019

Accessed May 17th 2020.


Fig 4. Dollar Shave Club, Untitled, facebook, 2016

Accessed May 17th 2020.


Fig 5. Dollar Shave Club, Untitled, advertisement, 2018

Accessed May 17th 2020.


Fig 6. Dollar Shave Club, Untitled, advertisement, 2019

Accessed May 17th 2020.


Fig 7. Dollar Shave Club, Untitled, twitter, 2020

Accessed May 17th 2020.




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Accessed May 17th 2020.


“Dollar Shave Club – Wikipedia.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

Accessed May 17th 2020.


“Dollar Shave Club Founder: We Want to Be Known for Much More Than Razors.” CNN.

Accessed May 17th 2020.


“Dollar Shave Club Wins Market Share and Customers with Back-to-basics Approach.” Financial Times.

Accessed May 17th 2020.


“Five Years to $1 Billion: The Dollar Shave Club Story.” Sterling Woods Group.

Accessed May 17th 2020.


“How Dollar Shave Club’s Founder Built a $1 Billion Company That Changed the Industry.” Entrepreneur.

Accessed May 17th 2020.


“The Secret to Dollar Shave Club’s Success—and Why I Was an Early Investor—commentary.” CNBC.

Accessed May 17th 2020.



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