WHAT: A new ad campaign from Dollar Shave Club that pitches the brand as the reasonable, norm-core choice in men’s grooming.
WHO: Dollar Shave Club in-house
WHY WE CARE: Last summer, Unilever acquired Dollar Shave Club (DSC) for $1 billion, instantly turning the famously funny startup into a multinational-backed powerhouse. Which is great for product distribution and consumer reach, but when the brand image that banked that billion is built on a foundation of f**k Big Razor, it presents a bit of a marketing dilemma.
These new ads continue the message kicked off in October, when the brand launched a new line of men’s shower products that trolled the likes of Old Spice and Axe in the pharmacy aisles. Here it’s back to razor basics, and DSC is very clearly aiming for dudes that live somewhere between cheap disposables and multi-razor hair removal technology of the future.
Created in-house, as DSC ads always have been, the new campaign is consistent with the brand’s past work, but since CEO Michael Dubin first strolled onscreen back in 2012 and so many other brands began trying the same aw shucks approach, now it just isn’t good enough to avoid begging the question of whether the brand might benefit from teaming its in-house team with one of Unilever’s many agency partners–Axe has 72andSunny, Dove has Ogilvy, Ben & Jerry’s has Mekanism. It’s a bit of a brand image catch-22. Stay the same and look past your prime, or change and be accused of going Big Corporate for Unilever. It’ll be interesting to see how the status quo serves DSC from now on.JB