How do you make a great explainer video that goes viral? You start with an engaging, script your target audience will love, create a visual message they will respond to and promote the video.
Easier said than done, which is why there are thousands of unseen explainer videos.
Dollar Shave Club managed to make a viral video though.
This post breaks down how a company selling $1 razors made one of the successful explainer videos of our time.
Let’s get into it!
Why is this explainer video good?
What do you want in a razor?
It should be:
- Easy to use
- Sharp enough to shave without leaving your skin a gaping open wound
Your razors already tick those boxes, so why change brands? You wouldn’t. Especially, when it’s a trusted name brand like Gillette.
Chances are you’ve been using the same razor for years and you don’t consider a switch without a personal recommendation.
These are razors after all, how different can another brand really be?
Dollar Shave Club managed to not only break into the market, but grow exponentially. Selling simple razors.
Their explainer video is considered one of the best out there and the reasons why start with their script.
I will never shut up about how important the script is to a video because it’s everything to a video.
BreadnBeyond analysed the data from their YouTube channel and found the ideal for an explainer video is 60 seconds.
That is about 130 words to work with. So, changing a few words or writing 2 different scene descriptions can give you an entirely different video.
The goal of an explainer video is to introduce your target audience to the value you offer them.
That is accomplished through establishing a problem they experience, amplifying it so they feel their problem.That will contextualise why your product or service is their solution.
Round the video off with a description of the transformation your target audience will experience and a strong CTA.
That right there is a recipe for a strong script.
So, what did Dollar Shave Club’s script do right?
They use a problem-solution format
The Dollar Shave club video follows a problem-solution formula that you can relate to.
This works because you have a problem: you pay too much for razors and/or forget to buy them
They have the solution for you: affordable razors mailed to you.
What’s clever is that the target audience probably didn’t realise they had this problem. The video captures your interest through mentioning low cost.
$1 for a razor. Unheard of! So, you’re willing to keep watching and learn more.
They took something mundane and had fun with it.
These are razors after all. How serious can you get?
It’s hard to spark interest for everyday, mundane objects like razors. Dollar Shave Club’s challenge was to draw enough attention to their product in order to compete with Gillette.
They wouldn’t be able to do that with a serious tone because it’s just a razor. Razors don’t evoke strong emotions because the stakes aren’t as high as they are in an industry like finance.
If you don’t use this one specific razor, your life will be fine.
If you don’t use this financial tool, your company can lose millions of dollars.
So, appealing to those fun, cool feelings was a better approach. A lot of companies selling mundane objects have seen the value in using a fun approach to their marketing videos.
They sell you on a transformation.
You can be the person with quality blades AND save a ton of money. You’re even helping to make jobs!
Who doesn’t want to be that person?
Plus, the fun they had with this video makes it seem like being part of Dollar Shave Club is cool. You want to be cool too, right?
Well, it is NOT cool to overpay for razors or forget to buy them monthly.
Dollar Shave Club offers you a practical solution while selling you on a transformation.
You can be that practical cool person with more time and money.
The target audience is clearly men in this video, but even I ( a woman) want to be that person.
The intro to the founder and the company is short.
-No one cared who this guy or his company were, so a long introduction would have worked against them.
People don’t care who you are. They care what you can do for them. The introduction in this script recognizes this.
It established who this guy is and his company to establish some authority and quickly moves on to what they do for you.
Your objections are addressed before you know you have them
When you hear $1 razors, you are skeptical. The script brings up the quality and gentleness and assures you that they aren’t compromised.
All before you have time to raise any objection.
The main point (they repeat throughout the video) is YOU SAVE MONEY
Who would object to that? Again, it’s not cool to overpay for something.
They had a memorable ending with a call to action.
Karate is a catchy song. Every time I think of that song, I think of Dollar Shave Club too.
Their slogan, “Shave Time. Shave Money” is equally catchy. It reinforces the brand and prompts you to save time and money.
You can choose to be the person who wastes time and money, or you can sign up for Dollar Shave club.
I know what I’d choose.
This video is able to appeal to emotions throughout the entire video through simple yet purposeful visuals.
Starting with scene 1, we see a background that’s filled with fun objects which contrast the seemingly serious introduction. You may not realise it, but that sets the tone for a “fun video”.
Scene2 has a visual message to reinforce the message that the blades are great.
A study by the University of Iowa found that people are more likely to recall what they see or touch than what they hear.
So, by having a visual message, Dollar Shave Club increases your chances of taking in and remember that their blades are great.
The next subtle and clever way they convey a message and evoke emotion is in these scenes. Right outside of the door, we see a poster for first aid.
We associate first aid with safely…or danger. And the visuals put your concern to rest by showing a toddler shaving someone’s head.
Toddlers are notoriously reckless. So, if you can trust a toddler with this blade, it must be super safe.
The quickest way to gain exposure is to promote your video.
And when you’re trying to take customers from big names like Gillette, you definitely need to market. Dollar Shave Club released this viral video in 2012 and invested heavily into their ad spend.
And the spending was heavy. They poured about 4.6million dollars into Taboola and $830.10K into Outbrain toward the end of 2016.
A well-made explainer video can do wonders for brand awareness and conversion rate. But, combine that video with a smart marketing strategy, and you hold the key to your success.
How much did it cost to make this explainer video?
Dollar Shave Club spent $4500 to make this video. The average price for a live action explainer video starts at $1,000.
Compared to the returns they’ve seen (including their sale to Unilever for $1billion in 2016), Dollar Shave Club spent practically pennies on the production.
Dollar Shave Club’s video is considered one of the greatest explainer video examples of our time. The video was well-made in every aspect.
It had a fun and clever script with some light-hearted visual messages to match. It’s the kind of video you can’t wait to show your friends.
Also, Dollar Shave Club’s overall marketing strategy set them up for success in the “Razor War”.