Why I dumped Gillette and Chose Harry’s over Dollar Shave Club

Why I dumped Gillette and Chose Harry’s over Dollar Shave Club

I think shaving should be a small pleasure in life rather than a chore.

I realize that view is probably uncommon, but I hold to it.

I’m one of those people who thinks that living well does not necessarily involve spending money on things to live well,  but is instead a state of mind and being.

That is one of the reasons I got tired of Gillette.

There are other reasons of course.

Take for instance Gillette’s impersonal marketing and the price of their razor blades.

Even buying their blades at Costco was a reminder how much I was paying for the pleasure to shave with their products.

I got fed up.

I was also bored with Gillette’s marketing as I said.

It is impersonal in that it is mass market and tends to focus on the technology of a smooth, comfortable shave over the experience and cost.

With Gillette, or any of the other big players in the space, I’m nothing more than a number on a spreadsheet.

I want to be more than that.  I want to be treated like customer, not a number.

I say this because I started to notice Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club (DSC) ads popping up all over the web.

They caused me to question why I was buying Gillette products at all.

But as I said earlier, I am something of a shave nerd.

I make my own shaving soap for example.


Because I like a smooth, soothing shave and I don’t like all the chemicals the big name companies put in their products.

I also use a shave brush of badger hair to lather the soap in the mug and apply to my beard.

Nothing beats how the shave brush loosens the beard and works the soap into a nice, creamy lather.

It also harks back to a by-gone era or shaving mugs and barbers who knew you by name.

You know, old school!

Combine the shave soap, brush and lather with some pre-shave oil (my own recipe), and you have the smoothest, most comfortable shaving experience imaginable.  Nothing beats it.

Yet, I still wanted a better razor option.

So when a friend or two started to mention Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club in conversation, I started to pay more attention.

And there’s nothing like word of mouth marketing.

When checking out the two companies, I noticed I liked how both companies appealed to me emotionally through simple, clean images with direct language.

They even inject some humor into the mix.

Here’s an example of  an ad by each side by side:

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What I like about Dollar Shave Club’s marketing:

Their marketing has a retro, homey, down to earth appeal which is largely emotional.

The wood paneling, the colors of the fonts and the casual but targeted language — all appeal directly to the consumer in a more personal, approachable manner.

They also point out an essential truth: buying razors sucks.  I think many of us can attest to that.

Together, these things make them authentic.

Where the big razor companies talk about the high tech behind the quality of their products, Dollar Shave Club focuses on the economics and making a personal appeal (“Let us send ’em right to you”).

This is a good demonstration of how you can turn a weakness into a strength.

Admit you are a “value” based brand and embrace it.

Don’t worry about it.

Make it a strength and play to it.

Dollar Shave Club takes the hassle out of getting the right shave equipment and make it easy for you by offering to send you the blades in the mail on a regular basis saving you from having to go to the store — meaning I don’t have to remember to pick up those Gillette blade packs at Costco anymore.

One less thing to have to remember.

Their focus is price and convenience.

What’s not to like?

What I like about Harry’s marketing:

Harry’s has a similar approach to Dollar Shave Club (the most similar purchasing model) but with a little twist.

Harry’s realized that it had to appeal differently in order to separate itself from DSC and the shaving big dogs i.e. Gillette, Bic, etc.

They do this by appealing to the style conscious consumer through their razor handle.  The consumer can make a personal statement according to the model they choose.

I’m not going to get into the specifics of the razor market and how Harry’s Razor Marketing campaign but the data and rationale are interesting.

In short, they offer a number of choices for their razor handles.

There is the starter package labeled The Truman ($10), the Winston ($20) and finally an option inspired by mountain climber, Jimmy Chin (sold out), which offers the bright colors of “high visibility of mountain climbing gear.”

Naming the options is a nice touch and I gotta admit, I really like that Jimmy Chin option!  The bright color combinations are very cool.  Quite different for a razor handle.

Each package comes with the razor handle of your choice, foaming shave gel (4.0 oz), three German engineered blade cartridges and one travel blade cover.

I especially like the travel blade cover.

It’s a nice touch.

The Harry’s ads are also a little different.

As you can see from the example above, they are simple, practical and yet inviting and elegant.

They leave the consumer wondering what it is all about.  The ads invite the curious.

For these reasons and that the blades are made in Germany, I chose Harry’s.

I’m sure other people have different reasons of their own, including the social work that Harry’s does as a brand, but these are what swayed me.

In my next post I’ll do a product review of Harry’s so you can learn more about it.







Tom Augenthaler

Influence marketing virtuoso | work @theinfluencemarketer.com | connect brands and marketers to online influencers | Swordsman| All views here are my own!

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2 Responses

  1. Snug says:

    I, like you am old school when it comes to shaving. I use a silver badger brush and soap. My razor however is the old single bladed safety razor. I purchase Feather brand blades. They are sent to me in a plastic bag with no fancy packaging or marketing materials. I am convinced the blade is a premium product, as I have experimented with many, yet there is nothing in the packaging or customer service to support my belief.

  2. Augie says:

    Single blade safety razor? Wow, I don’t imagine there are many folks you use those anymore, but I could be wrong!

    So, my observation is that the Feather brand would benefit by jazzing up the experience their customers (like you) have with them. Why not send the blades in a nice little branded box? Sending a premium product in crappy packaging only undermines their brand.

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