How Dollar Shave Club Built Its Brand with Video Marketing

How Dollar Shave Club Built Its Brand with Video Marketing

Dollar Shave Club is a subscription company that initially became famous for shipping razors to its customers every month.

With the company stocking products in retail stores and expanding its inventory list to include beard oil, shower gel, and shaving cream, most people would assume that the brand was built through Facebook ads or offline methods. 

The latest products by Dollar Shave Club.

The truth, however, is that Dollar Shave Club is a content marketing success story that began with a single viral video. We’ll take a look at that ad while reverse-engineering its success. Then, we’ll discuss how you can apply Dollar Shave Club’s video marketing principles to your business. 

Dollar Shave Club’s Viral Video Made a Rock-Solid Sales Pitch

When watching the viral video that launched Dollar Shave Club’s success, viewers are immediately struck by the humor on display. 

Dollar Shave Club's strong punchline: “Our blades are f**king great!”.

Even though the video’s more surreal elements include the bear mascot, a dance party, and one-liners about a grandfather with polio, the ad relies on well-established marketing best practices to get its point across. 

  • The video presented its flagship one-dollar offer and mentioned the company URL twice within the first ten seconds.
  • It highlighted the benefits of the razors. 
  • There was a strong punchline when the founder said, “Our blades are f**king great!”. 

Many marketers think that promoting products and entertaining viewers are mutually exclusive goals. However, Dollar Shave Club’s video marketing campaign is a real-world example of how brands can craft content that evokes strong emotions without forgetting to sell the product.

Dollar Shave Club’s Video Content Marketing Provided Brand Storytelling

During a program, multiple Stanford students gave short speeches that included three statistics and a story. Roughly 63 percent of listeners remembered the story, while just 5 percent could recall a statistic. When a company can make brand storytelling a part of its overall marketing, it has a better chance of being memorable.

Many marketers don’t think of storytelling as video marketing, but when you review Dollar Shave Club’s content, the company is clearly telling a story to its target audience. It explains that conventional companies like Gilette are over-charging for their product and that most of the money is spent on filling the pockets of influencers.

For many people who were used to picking up razors at the store without looking too closely at the price tag, this observation may have singlehandedly turned them into problem-aware prospects. 

If the audience is the hero of the story, Dollar Shave Club spends the video positioning itself as the straight-shooting ally who will help the viewer save money and time while getting a smooth shave. This narrative, in turn, helped drive the immediate spike in orders that the company received.

As a digital marketer, your ability to tell a story with your content can help you convince prospects to give your company a chance. 

The Company’s Videos Maximized Engagement While Benefitting from YouTube’s Platform

A significant contributor to Dollar Shave Club’s success was YouTube itself. Until October 2012, the video streaming platform tended to favor view counts over time watched. With its one-liners and fast pace, Dollar Shave Club’s video is designed to get the initial view while keeping people engaged in the content.

The company’s methods to highlight the features of its razors are an excellent example of this emphasis on engagement.

One moment, we have the founder telling the audience about how the blades have stainless steel and an aloe vera lubricating strip. The next, we see a toddler sitting behind a man who looks like he’s seated in a barbershop.

The toddler segment of Dollar Shave Club's successful video marketing campaign.

These are just a few of the ways that Dollar Shave Club was able to produce the shares and engagement needed to go viral.

In 2020, over 2.3 billion individuals were visiting YouTube per month. At this stage, there’s no question that people will watch videos for entertainment and education. The issue for many marketers is convincing them to watch and engage with your brand’s content. 

Dollar Shave Club’s video managed to balance the algorithm’s preferences with the desire of YouTube watchers to be entertained. It starts by making people laugh at the outset, and then it keeps people watching to see what will come next.

Whether you’re making social media posts, writing blog content for SEO, or doing social media video marketing in the present, your content will go farther if you can lean into your platform while holding your audience’s attention.

Dollar Shave Club Eventually Went Omnichannel

After the initial splash made by its viral social media video, Dollar Shave Club was hard at work delivering orders. Many companies would have been content to keep riding that success, but Dollar Shave Club instead chose to expand its online reach while developing an omnichannel scaling strategy. Eventually, Unilever bought the company for $1 billion

From search engine algorithms to ad platform changes, the marketing industry is constantly going through changes. To prevent your brand from fizzling out, it’s important to think two steps ahead.

If you’re an e-commerce company that relies on video marketing for sales, the next phase of your marketing efforts could be a text-driven content marketing strategy. Or alternatively, if you sense that you’ve started to saturate your market on one platform, you may want to think about adopting your own omnichannel approach to marketing.


Dollar Shave Club’s rapid success may have looked like it was caused by a funny viral video. However, upon closer examination, the company’s launch video is an example of brand storytelling, video marketing, and marketing fundamentals rolled into one.

Today, content marketing is still helping businesses grow their brands and reach new audiences. Contact me to see how I can help you craft your next marketing campaign.

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