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What Your Brand Can Learn From Dollar Shave Club’s Ad Performance

It wasn’t easy building the Dollar Shave Club into the Billion Dollar Shave Empire. After Unilever purchased Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion, I was interested to see what was next for the men’s grooming genius.

2017 Digital Marketing Predictions From the Experts

After 18 months of research on their more than 3 million members, Dollar Shave Club announced their development into the pre-shave stage of grooming: the shower experience. What emerged next was Wanderer, a new line of body and face cleansers designed to remedy dry skin.

In October, three 30-second ads appeared for the new line of Wanderer shower gels, differentiating the product in a competitive market.

To understand the performance of the ads online, I began collecting data across social, forums, reviews, and the web, using Simply Measured.


Dollar Shave Club’s mentions showed two major, ad-related peaks in the month of October. On Oct. 4th, the ad was featured in AdWeek’s “Ad of the Day,” which drove the highest volume, just under 400 comments, doubling their average volume.

DSC’s ad was successful in capturing viewer attention with a competitive approach, going directly and humorously after competitors like Old Spice and Axe–a tactic which also prompted AdWeek to cover the ads. DSC’s initial video on YouTube drove real business value, too, leading to 12k subscriptions in its first two days of release.

Research Your Audience and Act Accordingly

Our solution offers advanced filtering, so you can cut away all mentions except those which include the terms, keywords, and/or content that you’re interested in researching. When I used this capability to remove all non-ad-related noise, I found that 97% of mentions around Dollar Shave Club’s Wanderer ads were positive.

Positive Sentiment

This is a clear indication that Dollar Shave Club understands its audience (80% men, according this Bloomberg article) and can tailor engaging content to that audience for a product release: laugh-inducing videos released in a series, with a man’s narrative perspective as the common thread throughout.

Be Direct About the Competition

There’s no doubt that DSC’s ads are differentiating the new shower product in a cluttered shower market. Each of the three ads target a separate competitor: Axe, Old Spice, Gillette, Harry’s, and ShaveFace all found themselves in the mentions of DSC’s ad.

By not shying away from the competition and instead directly messaging their differentiation via humor, DSC expanded their reach into competitive territory. This not only captured more share of voice within the mentions, but also brought out an interesting theme within the data: “Switching.” The ultimate goal of the launch was to switch the “Wanderers” of shower product loyalty into members of the Dollar Shave Club.

Key Takeaways, and Where Social and PR Intersect

It’s important to take away a few points from DSC’s product release:

  • Know your audience
  • Keep your messaging consistent
  • Experiment with directness when building competitive ads

When you create ad (and non-ad) content that adheres to these principles, you’ll gain more than an engaged fan base and greater awareness on social: you’ll also generate PR for the work you’ve done. AdWeek selected this as the Ad of the Day, and this coverage ultimately brought in the most volume of messaging around the ad.

Need some extra inspiration putting together your next digital campaign? Download our 2017 Planning Guide below.

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2017 Social Marketing Planning Guide


Ben Lawrence

Working on Simply Measured's Market Development Team, I research and speak with the biggest brands in the ever-evolving world of social. I am insatiably curious, love stories, and nothing gives me goosebumps like the 4th quarter.

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