See the Spot: Harry's the Latest Online Razor Player Taking to TV

Amid Explosive Growth of Online Contenders, Another Venture-Funded Ad Blitz

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Online razor seller Harry's airs its first TV ad Monday, joining rival Dollar Shave Club on air after years of heavy digital spending in a fast-growing segment of e-commerce.

The new ad from Chandelier Creative, New York, pokes fun at "100-blade" razors from the "old guard," i.e. Procter & Gamble Co.'s Gillette, promising a "close, smooth shave at half the price."

Two-year-old Harry's has been spending handsomely on digital display with a smattering of print -- totalling $63 million last year and another $31 million through June of this year in measured media, according to Kantar Media. But Co-Founder Jeff Raider, who previously co-founded eyewear upstart Warby Parker, said the TV spending will be largely incremental, not replacing digital. Mr. Raider declined to disclose spending, but Harry's closed a nearly $76 million venture-capital funding round in July.

While Chandelier created the TV ad, Harry's continues to work with other agencies, including Droga5 and Partners & Spade, both New York.

Harry's can only hope to have the same experience as Dollar Shave Club, which has doubled sales and subscribers and claims to have unseated Schick as the No. 2 U.S. men's razor cartridge brand by volume since, powered by TV ads launched in November that make it the category's biggest TV spender since then, according to iSpot.tv. Slice Intelligence pegs Dollar Shave Club sales at $132 million for the 12 months ended in July, more than five times the $24 million for Harry's. But the both have roughly tripled sales over the prior year.

Though Harry's advertises its blades as cheaper than alternatives, it also touts its "German engineering" (from the manufacturer the company bought last year).

"Despite changes in the category the past couple of years, guys are still feeling pretty frustrated with their choices -- on the one hand having to pay incredibly high prices or the alternative of cheap and questionable quality," said Harry's Chief Marketing Officer Paul Smailes.

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