Annals of advertising: Dollar Shave Club

I don’t know how, but somehow I missed the ad videos from Dollar Shave Club — until Kim Darnell stumbled across their “Buttery Dunes” video a few days ago. A follow-up to “Butter Safe Than Sorry”. Those were in 2017. Back in 2013, DSC came out with “Let’s Talk About #2”, an ad for its line of butt wipes.

Full of double entendres, raunchy images, puns, and absurdity.

I’ll take them in reverse chronological order.

“Buttery Dunes”. From AdWeek on 11/9/17, “Dollar Shave Club Stays Ridiculous With a Visit to Creamy Shave Butter Dreamworld: A luxurious escape, even if reality is still awkward”, by Gabriel Beltrone:

(#1) In the creamy Shave Butter dreamworld; you can watch the video here

Dollar Shave Club wants you to know it’s [sic] new shave butter product feels so buttery good, it will make you hallucinate.

A 30-second ad opens on a young man shaving in a gym locker room. As he smears the product on his face, he sighs in ecstasy, and trust-falls backwards. The tile floor melts as he strikes it, enveloping him in a buttery dream world, where he slides and slithers around with surprising ease, grace and purpose, on buttery cloud-like dunes of [white] shave butter.

By the way, did the ad mention it’s buttery there, in shave-butter land?

But wait, there’s more — the spot packs it in. First, our hero passes a long-haired white pussy cat (get it?) hanging out on a luxurious silver tree limb. Then, he happens upon what appears to be Colonel Sanders’ younger, slimmer brother — who, you might be forgiven for thinking, clearly opted to become a literal pimp instead of guzzling fried chicken all day — standing towering on top of a buttery mountain, wielding a giant silvery straight razor.

In fact, it turns out this new character is actually some kind of exceptionally well-dressed scientist-wizard, who, based on his look, might also moonlight as the second most interesting man in the actual world … but is definitely the first most interesting man in this buttery dreamworld.

The sage — perhaps Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin in an alternate reality or some utopian future — with a mere breath and flourish of his hand, blows all the hair clean off the young man’s face. Also, off the pussy cat (get it?), and the [two] hairy coconuts (get it?) that you might not have seen dangling in the background, also from silver branches.

The voiceover trumpets, complete with melodramatic pauses, that the stuff “is going to change your life.”

Suddenly, the camera delivers a rude but hilarious cut back to the gym locker room, where a naked middle-aged man has struck an epic pose, one leg up on a bench, waving a blowdryer up the towel wrapped around his waist, his face the picture of perfect bliss.

“Well, the shave part of your life,” adds the voiceover, conceding that you will still probably be uncomfortable all the time, just for other reasons.

Meanwhile, a behind-the-scenes video, shot in 360 degrees for some reason, reveals that the star of the ad did in fact get to wiggle through a trough of buttery goop, albeit in front of a green screen.

Overall, it’s an absurdist, amusing tack that tracks back — in general humorous tone, at least — through the company’s advertising since it burst onto the market some five years ago. It’s also notable for giving a bigger role to the hairless cat, which was part of a larger ensemble in the the brand’s 2015 holiday campaign.

It just goes to show if you stick with it for long enough, you get the cream. Or at least, the butter.

What can I say? The sea of semen, the shaved pussy, the shaved balls, the guy blowdrying his crotch! And those are just the highlights.

The actual product, conventionally presented:


Then, GDoS on butter and cream as sexual slang:

noun butter: 1 semen; thus buttery, semen-filled [implied in a 1594 quote, explicit in cites from 1668 on; Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore, cite from 1928: Set on your butt, get a hold of your nubbin, / If you don’t get butter, just keep on a-rubbing.]

noun cream: 1 semen [1st cite c. 1629, in a ballad; G. Legman, The Limerick: There was a young Jewess named Hannah / Who sucked off her lover’s banana / She swore that the cream / That shot out in a stream / Tasted better than Biblical manna.]

“Butter Safe Than Sorry”. From AdAge on 5/26/17, “Brace yourself for Dollar Shave Club’s cringeworthy ads about grooming ‘down there’: ‘Butter Safe Than Sorry'” by Ann-Christine Diaz:

(#3) You can watch the video on the AdAge site

Dollar Shave Club first grabbed attention with its funny videos starring founder Michael Dubin, but its simpler ideas also pack a powerful punch. In fact, these new out-of-home ads about shaving “down there” will likely make you cringe.

Three posters use fruit and vegetables to suggest the male member — a banana flanked by kiwis, an eggplant standing between a pair of potatoes, a carrot rising from behind two beets. In each, one of the orb-shaped figures has a ghastly slash, as if a peeler dug a little too deeply into the flesh.

The point? To promote Dollar Shave Club’s Shave Butter. Tagline reads: “Butter safe than sorry.”

“Let’s Talk About #2”. You can watch this ad here. And the script for the ad is available on this site (and reproduced below).

(#4) The actual product

Hi. Me again. People ask me, “Mike, when are you gonna do video number 2?”. You want to talk about number 2? Great. Let’s talk, about number 2. Poop. Everyone makes it. And I don’t have time to jump back in the shower after a messy number 6. I’m an executive now. I have papers to sign. Fortunately, there’s a better way to wipe your messy bottom. They’re called One Wipe Charlies, and they’re butt wipes – for men.

Butt wipes, Mike?

Yeah, bitch. Butt wipes.

What’s a bitch?

Why do you need a butt wipe? Because you’re not an animal. And whatever you’re using now, is primitive. You’re leaving buried treasure behind! You want to get all the golden nuggets, don’t you? I’m talking about poop, Alejandra!

I know, Mike. We all know.

Ha ha ha! Plus, toilet paper takes forever. You shouldn’t have to be special forces to expect the bad guy with speed and precision. With One Wipe Charlie, you wipe once and get on with your life. I know what you’re thinking. Is all this fancy butt stuff gonna cost me an arm and a log? Does a bear sh*t in the woods? Not anymore. He sh*ts in the toilet and he pays just a couple bucks for a 40 pack. So clean up your act with the softest, manliest way to wipe your ass. Accept no substitute. It’s One Wipe Charlie!

Yes, “the softest, cleanest, fastest manliest way to handle your business”.

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