Every startup that creates a viral video dreams of replicating the success of Dollar Shave Club, which rode a foul-mouthed message in a warehouse from company CEO Michael Dubin in 2012 to cultural saturation, a legitimizing of its business model, and more than 20,000,000 YouTube views. The ad, written by Dubin and helmed by future Broad City director Lucia Aniello, inspired countless parodies and earlier this summer, led to a direct response video from its hirsute opposite, an actual business called Dollar Beard Club.
The challenge to flying so close to the sun, though, is figuring out how you’ll follow it up. In the three years since Dollar Shave Club inspired countless startup CEOs to hire a film crew to make them something weird with the instructions to “go viral,” the company has grown to 2.2 million subscribers, launched its first TV campaign last fall, and branched out its product offerings. In a series of new TV and online ads, the Club looks to go back to its weird, weird roots.
The new 30-second spots, conceived and co-written by Dubin and Dollar Shave Club creative director Alec Brownstein, have names like “Zeke the Dirtbag Razor” and “Tub Terror,” and are built around the concept of razors that are so gross and overused that they’ve come to life–until Dubin shows up to inform their petrified owners of the affordable razors-by-mail opportunity presented to them by Dollar Shave Club. As TV commercial concepts go, it’s a page firmly out of the Old Spice playbook, but it certainly beats bleeding from the face after using a filthy razor.