Nov 26, 2021

JUST WITH A SINGLE VIDEO! How Dollar Shave Club's Marketing Strategy Went Viral

Business Model Innovation
Business Model Pattern
by Stefan Lemmerer

What is Dollar Shave Club?

Dollar Shave Club is a Venice, California-based mail-order razor and personal grooming goods company. It's business model is providing monthly home delivery of razor blades and other grooming products. Dollar Shave Club was founded by Mark Levine and Michael Dubin. The pair met at a party and expressed their dissatisfaction with the high cost of razor blades. They began operations in January 2011 and launched their website in April 2011 with funds raised through their own efforts and investments from Science Inc.'s start-up incubator.

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Dollar Shave Club was financed by a group of venture capitalists. In March 2012, seed investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz, and Shasta Ventures contributed $1 million. In October 2012, the same consortium, joined by Venrock, invested $9.8 million in series A financing. A year later, a $12 million series B round was led by Venrock, Comcast Ventures, New World Investors, and Battery Ventures. Dollar Shave Club announced during its fundraising announcement that it would be expanding its product portfolio in 2014 to include a dozen additional men's products. In June 2015, the company raised $75 million in a series D financing round. Unilever acquired Dollar Shave Club in July 2016 for an estimated $1 billion in cash.

How Dollar Shave Club Achieved Sales Success Through a Viral Video

Dollar Shave Club received its initial boost from a $4,500 YouTube video shot in a single day in 2012. In 72 hours, it went supernova viral. Today the video has more than 27 million views and over 140 000 likes on its youtube channel.

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Through the use of a Youtube link, the video effectively crashed their website within an hour of publication. In comparison to other brands, the company has since been recognized as one of the most entertaining when it comes to content marketing.

Michael Dubin, the company's CEO – who also appeared in the advertisement – had extensive experience in video marketing and creating branded content. He has previously worked for major brands such as Nike, Nintendo, and Gatorade. Experience with improvisational comedy at New York's Upright Citizens Brigade aided in developing Dollar Shave Club's marketing strategy in terms of its distinct sense of humor. Dollar Shave Club has continued to produce amusing, clever, and entertaining advertisements that are well-received by their target audience since their initial video launch.

When it comes to well-known strategies like how commercials or short videos go viral, the Dollar Shave Club spot meets almost all of them. Nothing is left to chance in the video, which appears to be spontaneous and casual. The video's four most significant and striking points are as follows:

  1. Begin with 'The Bond' - Direct To Camera Personal Intro

    That is correct; in our new business world, we place a premium on relationship building. Direct to camera approach because the brain can't tell the difference between the video and a real person. That is why, after seeing someone on the big screen, we go insane when we see them in 'real life'. We have a sense of familiarity with them simply by viewing them on a screen.

  2. Arouse interest

    Mike does it expertly because he employs a time-honored attention-getting technique known as 'Plant The Seed.' He requested something that did not exist a split second ago in your mind. However, he planted it, and now the curiosity grows.

  3. Unbeatable offer

    Solve a specific ongoing problem (monthly razor purchases) by delivering an irresistible offer (high-quality razors for $1) directly to your door.

    This is not a marketing gimmick; this is a marketing phrase worth studying.

  4. Consistent movement

    The constant movement and different actions the protagonist does keeps our attention and makes us want to finish watching the clip.

The Emotional Marketing Activities of Dollar Shave Club's Business Model


The Dollar Shave Club's marketing strategy is based on a comedic setting (which includes sarcasm, a child, a fake bear, cool old men, and a honking train sound, among other things) that is pertinent to the current state of the world. In 2012, there was a critical need for a company that sold affordable razors on a monthly basis (as razors are expensive in the United States and are typically locked up in convenience stores), which created an opportunity for DSC to grow.

Dollar Shave Club billboards in Times Square ©The Drum


Nobody considers shaving to be an exciting topic. We all do, and we don't want to spend any additional time contemplating it. Dollar Shave Club makes no attempt to make shaving and grooming fun. It simply provides you with a solution that simplifies the process. It's intended to be an everyday product that's both practical and cool.

Dollar Shave Club's brilliance is that it approaches the issue with coolness and likeability. The advertisements and website copy are refreshingly candid and occasionally cross the line into satire. This conveys to the consumer that the company "understands us" and establishes instant trust.

DSC Marketing Activities ©Business Model Ideas

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2 of 10 Business Model Patterns behind Dollar Shave Club

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This pattern will work effectively for your firm if your clients can initially choose a basic product, such as a flight from London to Paris, an Audi A4 or Razor blades subscriptions, and then add features that are less price sensitive. Consumer behavior study conducted recently reveals that this is frequently the case for consumer products. Customers initially make reasonable purchasing decisions based on factors such as price, but eventually succumb to emotionally motivated purchasing behaviors. Once squished into that cramped economy seat, you don't care how much the beer and food will cost. 
When numerous decision makers are involved in the B2B context, the Add-on structure may also perform well: Investors frequently attempt to minimize their initial investment in order to maximize their profit when they eventually sell their property; the cheapest air conditioning systems, elevators, and security system will suffice. This leaves facility management responsible for future service cost increases. A other well-known example of a company that uses this pattern is Ryanair.

Subscription / Membership

Rather than selling offerings individually based on a single payment, a subscription based on recurring payments allows to use, access or receive a product or service for a specific period of time. Subscriptions can help yout to increase customer loyalty and generate a steady flow of predictable revenues. However, bear in mind that potential customers might not be willing to commit to an offer for a longer period of time due to several reasons (e.g., automatic recurring billing or demand of offer shorter than subscription period). Businesses often prefer paying 1x 1000 € over of 10 x 100 € due to several reasons (e.g., accounting issues).

In the past ten years the subscription business model has seen tremendous growth. According to the Subscription Trade Association, the industry has a compound annual growth rate of over 17%. The subscription box market alone is expected to reach $15 billion in sales by the end of 2021.

Many business publications claim that the subscription business model will be around for the long haul and will continue to grow. Some proclaim that every business will in some way incorporate this model into their business.

One time sales can turn into recurring sale and build brand loyalty, compounding value of those customer relationships. If they see a value in your product or service, they will continue to be a subscriber. The longer they are a subscriber of your product or service the more valuable they become.

Also read our article: Is A Subscription Business Model in Your Future?

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