By now you’re probably pretty familiar with Michael Dubin, the CEO of Dollar Shave Club. Maybe you first saw him in their groundbreaking and hilarious first ad that went massively viral (23.3 million views and counting). Or maybe you’re a regular customer and enjoying the fruits of DSC’s game-changing, direct-to-consumer reimagining of the overpriced razor business. Or maybe it was when the LA-based startup recently made national headlines when it was acquired by Unilever for a cool $1 billion. Whether you're a happy customer or a bystander marveling at that massive exit, you probably get that Dubin is a guy that’s redefining what it means to be a CEO, thought-leader, and entrepreneur. We sat down with the man himself and got a chance to dive into some of the details about how his background in comedy helps shape his business and why cursing in a business setting is so damn funny.
You’ve got a background in improv and comedy, how do your work that experience into your day-to-day?
When I was at UCB (Upright Citizen’s Brigade) in New York City, I learned the art and craft of comedy writing and those skills definitely help me in everything from building the brand to advertising campaigns. They’re a major tool I use to deliver great creative on an ongoing basis. I lead our own internal ad agency here at DSC and while you can obviously see the comedy aspects in the major advertising pieces we have created, it also helps our team and I in all the little things like monthly content too.
Let’s talk about how you made the word “fuck” internet-famous; why’d you choose to use it in your now-legendary first ad?
For me, I think the essence of comedy is the unexpected. So with that video, I don’t think it was so much that the use of the “fuck” itself was funny, which it partially was, but more that it was so unexpected for what we are talking about. We used it because it was unexpected and that made it funny. Plus, at a certain point, cursing is just funny, so why not try and do it in an advertising setting?
Speaking of cursing, what’s your go-to?
Dickweed is a pretty good one. I’m bringing that one back. It’s definitely an oldie but it catches people off guard since they probably haven’t heard it since middle school. So yeah, definitely dickweed.
After the internet went apeshit for your first campaign, did you then feel pressure to always be “that funny guy from the razor commercial”?
I think maybe in the early days there was that kind of pressure; you want to show people that you aren’t just a one-hit wonder. But at this point, after 12 or so full-fledged commercial pieces and a ton of regular content, we’ve pretty much proven that it’s something we can do on a regular basis, in addition to creating a very successful and serious business. Ultimately, we have a great time doing what we do but we do also take it very seriously.
So, butt wipes huh?
You got it. Like I said, unexpected.