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How One Video turned a One Dollar Product into One Billion Dollars

How One Video turned a One Dollar Product into One Billion Dollars

By - Aaron

In July 2016 personal care giant, Unilever, acquired mens grooming delivery service, Dollar Shave Club, for a phenomenal one billion dollars. But the reason behind the buy out is far more than the fact that their “blades are f*cking great”.

Dollar Shave Club was founded in 2011 by Michael Dublin  and Mark Levine to disrupt the unnecessarily expensive male grooming market, specifically razor blades. In that period they were just one of many disrupter style start-ups looking to make a change (and obviously some money in the process). So how did this, in essence, nuisance small business get the attention of a company that turned over $59.4 billion in 2015?


Obviously, a great business model that clearly works as well. But let’s face it, there are plenty of great small businesses out there that have amazing products or services and great business models; that aren’t going to be acquired for $1 billion.

Let’s go back to 2012 when Gillette razors were pretty much the only razor any man bought. Dollar Shave Club knew they couldn't compete with Gillette’s ad spend of $9 billion for the year. So in stead they decided to spend $4,500 on a roughly 2 minute YouTube video.

Because it was virtually the only marketing they could afford to do (besides some Google AdWords) they knew it had to be good. A lot of planning and preparation went into the video’s script and structure as, again, the budget was low. CEO, Dublin starred in the video himself and used a lot of tongue in cheek humour throughout while still being informative. The result was 12,000 sales within the next 48 hours and a steady growth ever since.

The virility of the video turned the start-up into a business the big guys couldn’t ignore. Shortly after the video was released investors came, firstly at $1 million in funding then $9m, then $12m and in 2015 $75 million. Until finally last month the business was acquired for $1 billion just five years after launching and four years after the f*cking great video.

Ans what is great about video is that it delivers a message the exact way you want it to be delivered, Dollar Shave Club wanted to put the big F you to the big companies and the result was that we all agreed with them. What’s most compelling about their video is not necessarily the humour but rather the realness of it. Consumers appreciate and respect realness which is why their business has gone from strength the strength over the years.

The next time you make a marketing video, implement the same method - take your time, plan it out and be real. You never know, it could result in a $1 billion acquisition.


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