How does a tiny startup company like Dollar Shave Club compete with titans like P&G and Unilever, and sell millions of razors and “male wipes” to the masses—despite having zero paid media dollars and zero retail presence? And more importantly, what can we all learn from them?


Zag when everyone is zigging.

Instead of paying for placement at major brick-and-mortar retailers across the country, including extremely expensive end-cap displays, Dollar Shave Club ships its personal care and grooming products direct to consumers on a schedule through various membership plans (e.g., five two-blade razors for $1 per month, 40 wipes for $4, etc.).

Stop taking yourself so seriously.

Dollar Shave Club launched their brand a year ago with social media only, which included a brilliantly hilarious 94-second pitch delivered by their CEO Michael Dubin. Besides gaining more than 10 million views, 5,000 people became Dollar Shave Club members the day the video was uploaded to YouTube…with hundreds of thousands of new members following suit in later months.

Tap into a humorous human truth.

Today’s consumer uses a very sophisticated technology to interpret advertising. It’s called a b.s. meter. And the surest way to set it off is by introducing yet another incredibly expensive 5-blade vibrating razor with “revolutionary new technology” endorsed by a pro tennis player. By tapping into this shared sentiment in a funny way, Dollar Shave Club has forged a strong, immediate emotional connection with their audience. After all, as Businessweek recently pointed out, humor makes brands stronger.

Tap into a humorous human truth (even if it’s a little gross).

In other news, more and more guys are using “alternatives to toilet paper,” with recent studies showing 50% of U.S. males admitting to using wipes. T.M.I.? Sorry, did you just have lunch? If so, you might want to hold off from watching Dollar Shave Club’s newest product launch video.

Eww boy. Welcome to a brave new marketing world, One Wipe Charlie. You better hold on to your toilet seats.