Dollar Shave Club: I Guess We Hardly Knew Ye
“Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings.”
You don’t have to be Richard II or even a lapsed student of Shakespeare 101 to be put in mind of that line when confronted by the new ad campaign for Dollar Shave Club.
Get thee behind me, Unilever. (To mix source material.)
The once lean and hungry mark of metrosexual sophistication now shows off its newly flabby girth by showcasing a portly fellow razoring the initial of his team through his chest hair, while we are hectored to subscribe to shampoo, conditioner and whatever else can be coerced into the “male grooming” category. And, then there’s the naughty fun of “bath jerky” touted as something wickedly witty via the ad and hence through social media. Clever, right? Get it? We’re still cool and can have an inside joke with you, bro. Still bad boys, after all these years.
There are good reasons start-ups say they won’t sell out.
There are a billion reasons, of course, they do.
Five years after its founding, Dollar Shave Club sold for a billion. And three years after that, here we are, in the cynical world of mass marketing as mechanism for mean-spirited consumer fun-making. Who among us wouldn’t have signed the deal? Yet who among us doesn’t cringe to see what is happening to the brand? Who among us can’t imagine exactly the strategy? Let’s broaden the base! Doesn’t just have to be good looking guys, right? We’re a club for pudgy, hairy men too with weird ways with a razor, right and obsession with team sports? Let’s leverage our other manufacturing lines and make deodorant and soap and toothpaste and cologne and wipes and skin care products. Yeah! Let’s.
Thus, are businesses brashly built and brands brutally buried.
Michael, when was the moment? Surely not with a bang, but a whimper.
And, well, just to be clear and to switch Shakespearean gears for a moment, “Not all the perfumes of Arabia will wash this (brand’s) blood from your hands,” my friend.