Thursday, July 28, 2016

Razor Sharp Wit

The great thing about the universe is how is it strives for balance.

Unseen, unknown forces are hard at work to provide a ying for every yang. A dog for every cat. A new calorie-burning cardio machine for every slice of German Triple Chocolate Forest Cake.

This great movement is also evident in the world of business.

Take Theranos for example. At one time this Silicon Valley wundercompany was valued at more than $9 billion. Today, the maker of medical diagnostic toys that literally wanted your blood, is worth less than the bandaids needed to cover up the pricks.

The ying to this particular yang is the Dollar Shave Club. A start up that had zero valuation in its infancy was just sold to Unilever for $1 billion.

And that's not faux Wall Street wall paper money, that's one billion dollars in greenbacks -- the kind of real cash you can use to buy groceries, purchase dry cleaning services or even hand over to your personal physician for verifiable medical testing.

Clearly I am delighted with the success of Dollar Shave Club.

Why? Because it can be argued the company owes its unprecedented success to marketing.

Look, monthly purchasing clubs have been with us for a while. You can have fruits and cheese delivered to your doorstep. You can have tailored shirts delivered to your doorstep. You can even join a purchasing outfit that will send you a new golf club every month.

Razor blades are just the latest commodity to join the list.

What stood out was the way those shaving utensils were brought to market -- with quirky, breakthrough, hilarious videos. Let me refresh your memory.

Of course my joy for Dollar Shave Club is tinged with a little bitterness. It's like digging into a delicious chopped salad only to find the chef has misguidedly added in some turnips. And beets.

You see I've spent the entirety of my career writing and pitching ideas of a similar nature. Deadpan delivery. Intelligent copy. A nod to the absurd. And for the entirety of my career I have returned from those pitch meetings with weird bromides like:

"We like humor but we're not looking for laughs."

How silly of me.

It may not have worked out in my case, but congratulations DSC. You have proven the maxim -- Funny is Money.


Salty said...

The moral of the story is that micromanaging creativity leads to ruin.


Parvez Sheik Fareed said...

The DSC ad is one of my favourite ads. Always reminds me of a quote by Andy McLeod: The economic value of fun and silliness.