26th March 2012

Putting the Pieces Together: Why Dollar Shave Club’s Video was F***ing Great

In the last two weeks, a video ad by Dollar Shave Club called “Our Blades are F***ing Great” has gone completely viral, with over 3.6 million views on YouTube. The video itself was pretty f***ing great too. Although the toddler with a razor or the big brown bear may have distracted you (what did we tell you? Kids and animals, folks, kids and animals), did you notice that it was also an explainer video? That’s right – a company offers a service and creates a video to explain how it works. So this video is a great example of what we do, and how successful explainer videos can be if approached with creativity, a daring approach, and a sense of humor.

viral video

Using Dollar Shave Club as an example (dear Mike Dubin, you’re welcome) let’s take a little quiz to see if anyone’s actually been reading this blog how well you can dissect the elements of a successful web video. So first watch this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI

  • What hosting platform did Dollar Shave Club use?
    1. YouTube, because it was casual, hilarious, and they wanted to create a viral sensation.
    2. Vimeo, because they had high-quality, artsy graphics.
    3. Wistia, because they wanted to take advantage of great tools and content management.
  • What voice technique did Dollar Shave Club use in their video?
    1. A voice-over to accompany their whiteboard animation.
    2. A real-life presenter for that extra sales push.
  • What were the videos strongest elements of visual design?
    1. A straightforward, clear, and minimalist aesthetic.
    2. Unexpected contrasts, exquisite timing, and strong but coordinated colors.
    3. Silly fonts to show the light and fun character.
  • Which of the following steps did Dollar Shave Club follow to create their video concept?
    1. Outlining the features and quality of the product or service.
    2. Explaining the current situation and why it’s a problem.
    3. Giving the “perfect” solution.
    4. Ending with a call to action.
    5. All of the above.
  • Why did Dollar Shave Club’s video go viral?
    1. Because Mike Dubin is a sexy former comedian.
    2. Because it involved the magic formula of babies, animals, and American flags.
    3. Because it made fun of old, boring presenter ads where used-car salesmen yell at you for five minutes about vacuum cleaners.
    4. Because it touched viewer’s emotions by mentioning your grandfather, polio, and the American Dream.
    5. All of the above.

This is the part where we’d normally give you the answers, but you know what? I don’t think you guys need them. Dollar Shave Club claims they only spent $4,500 making the video, which is an incredible amount of bang for their buck. But hopefully this breakdown has shown you that it’s not that hard to follow their formula for your own website videos.

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About the Author

Anish hails from London and holds a degree in software engineering from the University of Manchester. Following his education, he worked for several years in the financial industry as a platform administrator before founding Revolution Productions in 2008. In addition to over seven years of video production, Anish is seen as an industry professional, adding his insight in publications such as VentureBeat, ReelSEO and Wistia.

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