There's a great blog by the NYT called "You're the Boss". We follow it because we love small businesses and what makes them tick. We love that this blog gets the people behind the company are the true heart.
This morning they had an article entitled – Are there lessons to be learned from the Dollar Shave Club's Viral Start-up Video?
It's all about this video with 10 million hits –
Great article about Dollar Shave Club – and here's 5 reasons you shouldn't necessarily try this approach:
1) You're not that guy.
The owner, and president, was once a member of the funniest tv improv comedy troop on TV – Upright Citizens Brigade with Amy Poehler. Were you? Probably not.
2) The idea was 100% the owners.
could push it through with about 0% committee. If this idea had gone to committee it would have been killed in about 1 second. Here's why:
- It has bad words in it – even if they are bleeped out. People would say, why not tone that down a bit. It'll still be funny, he could say something like "We make "fricken" great blades. Yep, no one would catch that little change.
- It has what could be perceived as racial slurs in it against Latinas. I've found a few racial watchdog sites talking about this, but nothing too much. Still, I don't think any committee would even for a second have allowed Ibeza to be "not working" as her state of life before Dollare Shave Club came along. They would have had the boss "working hand in hand with our great operations managers."
3) It looks cheap (but that's why it works for them). Do you REALLY want that?
It makes the operation look cheap, which is the point. But I've yet to come across a customer that thought the type of mise-en-scene that is in Dollar Shave Club is how they want to be represented. Of course it fits perfectly for their brand, but it may not work for yours. .
4) You didn't think of your video before you thought of your pitch, your website, your everything – that guy did.
The boss guy said he'd had the idea for the video before he even had the idea for the company exactly. You can tell that, the website, everything feels just like the video. How exactly is that going to work for you when you've already got all of this more generic collateral? I doubt it will.
5) You could do A LOT better for yourself…hits aren't everything.
What are you likely to make if you try to make a Dollar Shave Club video? A mess. It will feel like a knock off, and it will not feel like YOU. That is the most important thing. This guy wanted a clear representation of himself. His company is that. And his video is that. I'd no sooner make a Dollar Shave Club video for Hand Crank Films than light my building on fire. Do I want a video with over 3 million hits – sure – but I want it on my own terms, and so should you.
If you take one inspirational thing away from the Dollar Shave Club, make it be that you should really dig deep to find out WHO YOU ARE, and then make that video. The one thing you can do that Dollar Shave Club did is TAKE A CHANCE ON YOURSELF!! People will respond to that. They may not come in waves of the millions, but for most of our companies it is not about getting everybody to jump on board, it is about getting the RIGHT people to want our products. Make a few of the RIGHT connections with clients, and you're in.