Super Bowl 50 became a battle of the razor brands as then-independent Dollar Shave Club showed up with a surprise second-quarter buy that ran ahead of rival Schick's fourth-quarter spot ("Razor Robots").
Dollar Shave Club bought its time months before the big game but kept its decision close to the vest, CEO Michael Dubin told Ad Age during halftime after its spot had appeared. "We weren't sure which ad we wanted to run, and we wanted the flexibility to pull out if we decided to," he said.
Dubin said Dollar Shave Club did $153 million in sales in 2015 and had accumulated some 2.9 million subscribers, with a 16% volume share of men's cartridges. "This is about taking our awareness up another notch," he said.
Early response during the game was "right on forecast," he added.
CMO Adam Weber said he expected the Super Bowl ad to pay off over the whole month of February and into the second quarter. "Most of the light TV viewers throughout the year come and get really engaged in football, and the Super Bowl is the peak of that," Weber said. "It's your one chance a year really to reach all men in America."
Dollar Shave Club wasn't only getting the attention of Super Bowl viewers, though: Unilever agreed to buy the company for $1 billion less than six months later.
Dollar Shave's in-house-created spot featured Zeke "the dirtbag razor," who suggests a menage a trois in the shower with a man and his mate. The message from Dubin himself during a cameo is that guys don't have to keep using dirty razors to save money when they can get Dollar Shave Club delivered for less.
Prohibitive category leader Gillette, whose Super Bowl spots include 1989's iconic "The Best a Man Can Get," was the major razor player not in the game.
BRAND: Dollar Shave Club
QUARTER AIRED: Q2