Dollar Shave Club – Our Blades Are F***ing Great
We cannot tell you how many times we’ve cursed the razor-and-blade sales racket through the hygiene aisle of the supermarket. The number is too great and so are the expletives.
That’s why this ad from brand-new online service Dollar Shave Club is viral not only for its Old Spice-esque sense of humor, but also for its on-point critique of the current state of shaving services. “Do you think your razor blade needs a vibrating handle, a flashlight, a scratcher and 10 blades? Your handsome-ass grandfather had one blade and polio,” Mike Dubin says in his hilarious matter-of-fact sales pitch. TIME magazine informed us that Dubin has a background in digital marketing and was also a part of the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade. He’s a one-man dream team for viral success.
The spot is filmed in the supposed Dollar Shave Club warehouse where Dubin introduces himself to viewers in front of an entire wall of dollar toys and crap. He catches our attention by telling us their blades aren’t good – (pause for dramatic effect) – they’re f***ing great. From there, Mike’s pitch includes a couple of unsuccessful attempts at using office supplies for effect, a toddler giving a shave, a dancing bear and an endearing female employee who Dubin refers to repeatedly as Alejandro. Oh and let’s not forget the dollar dance party at the end there. Go ahead and laugh for yourself:
Invisible Children – KONY 2012
While the Dollar Shave Club was the funniest viral video this week, its 3 million views are chump change in comparison to the 50 million views on the somber ad KONY 2012 from the non-profit activist group Invisible Children. The video was intended to make Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony infamous worldwide for his criminal activities exploiting and killing Ugandan children. At the rate at which the ad has been seen and spread, the effort was no doubt successful.
Millions of people now know a little bit more about Uganda and its plight, but do they know the whole story? The Invisible Children campaign also generated a fast and forceful backlash, attacking their financial accountability, their over-simplified portrayal of Uganda’s government and struggles as well as their violin-and-heart-string video itself, playing on viewers lack of understanding and leading them to believe that simply spreading the video is doing the cause justice.
It is not a black and white issue … except that it is. Well-intentioned western aid has been known to do more harm than good and it is a huge mistake to see any African country as helpless and in need of saving. On the other hand, as the video spread, so did the discussion of its merits or lack thereof. This article from The Atlantic points out how wonderful that arena for discussion truly is and in that light, it is undeniable that KONY 2012 is a very successful use of social media in advertising.
International OCD Foundation – Case Study
We take you now from a 30-minute effort to enlighten, to quite possibly the most effective 1-second ad ever made. The International OCD Foundation, rather than explaining the effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder at length, used a 1-second text-only ad to demonstrate the frustrations people with OCD experience first hand. The ad is too short to read in one viewing so, as the title explains (and even challenges) “You may have to press play more than once …”
In a culture where obsessive-compulsive disorder is often used in jest, teasing your mother who insists on color-coding her spice rack or used to apologetically explain your need to have every pen in the office cup pointed downward, the OCD Foundation chose to take just one of the more serious symptoms of the disorder and make viewers experience a bit of that frustration themselves. Of course we all pressed pause, but it still took a couple views to do that and, well, you get the point. The ad cost practically nothing to produce but garnered plenty of attention due to its unique, user-focused approach.
GQ – British Comedy Special
Paul Rudd, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Ken Jeong, Robin Williams and … well, we could’ve sworn there were some British comedians somewhere in this funny, little trailer for the upcoming GQ magazine UK Comedy Special.
Regardless (oh! Ricky Gervais! There’s one), the gaggle of funny celebrities combining silly sounds and funny faces into a (pretty darned good) iPad beatbox is fun enough for repeat viewings (and listenings). Combine that with Olivia Wilde shaking her own boobs as though they’re talking and now this video has been seen by men the world over. It’s too bad that Wilde’s boobs are the only female featured in the Comedy Special, but that’s our only gripe with what is otherwise a unique and creative viral commercial.
Converse – Do Ya Thing
Through product placement and beloved brand sentiment, Converse has made their shoes a timeless wardrobe staple that appears will never loose their cool. At this point, the brand barely needs to advertise as it seems like they do just fine putting out a few new styles and prints to covet in the windows of Foot Locker every month.
This ad isn’t even an ad really, it’s well-produced, fun to watch music video for the cartoon hip hop group The Gorillaz, who also seem to do no wrong. There are a couple sightings of the shoe here and there as well as one prominent shoe to the head scene, but there’s also so much going on in the video with the characters, the cameos (Andre 3000 is a main player) and the crap strewn about (including a few monsters and a bowl full of ears) that the brand is not overt. The Gorrilaz are so popular, and their work is so anticipated, that Converse got their name in not only advertising press but music news as well, with thousands of fans enjoying their ad.