Dollar Shave Club has had a reputation for marketing innovation for many years. Now, since its $1 billion acquisition by Unilever and with a vastly expanded range of products, the company has been looking for new ways to market to its audience (source: The Record). And keeping with its start-up, disruptive roots, Dollar Shave Club has been pushing the brand through sponsored video this year. This fresh approach sees it working with major YouTube stars and other influencers to talk to its audience in new ways. And the results are outstanding.
Why is sponsored video a good marketing channel?
This type of placement is a more organic way to reach new audiences. Sponsored videos feel less intrusive and out of place than traditional pre-roll or in-video adverts. They are also more personal. The channel owner is part of the advert so they promote the product in their own style. This is more familiar to the existing audience. It’s also, crucially, a recommendation from a trusted source, which is worth a lot.
It’s particularly effective for Millennials. Chief revenue officer Peter Szabo of Mammoth Media and Science Inc. (whose CEO was one of the first investors in Dollar Shave Club, incidentally), made this comment in Adweek about marketing to Millennials: “Content and ads have to feel valuable and additive to their experience; otherwise, they’ll tune right back out.” (source: Adweek).
There’s another way that sponsored video fits into this. Content creators want these promotions to enhance their output. They do not want to lose their audience’s trust, as the message is coming directly from them. Audiences know that the channel owners have much more control over these adverts than they do over pre-roll adverts. With that freedom they also take on the responsibility and risk of intentionally associating with the chosen advert, product and brand. It’s in the content creator’s interest to choose carefully. So if your offer to work together on a sponsored video is accepted, there’s a much greater chance that it’s going to go in front of a receptive audience.
How has Dollar Shave Club used sponsored video effectively?
Dollar Shave Club has supplemented its existing marketing with sponsored video. It hasn’t replaced its traditional adverts. You will still see its iconically ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek adverts poking fun at the wider shaving industry.
But this new approach goes out to a large and potentially new audience. And what it presents is a very different type of message. It’s often down the funnel direct sales, looking at specific products. These adverts speak in the brand’s tone and style more indirectly. This is done through the choice of creators it associates with. As stated above, the messages are delivered in the content creators’ own style. So that style is important when the influencer is chosen, as that choice itself reflect the brand’s values.
In some cases, the output is a full piece of specifically tailored content. Check out this video from Blossom (which, as an aside, is home of the most shared Facebook video ever – Dollar Shave Club know how to pick influencers).
In other cases, it’s a little specially made advert at the end of an ostensibly unrelated video. Take a look at this video from Unbox Therapy. The only relevance to the brand here is tone and, I imagine, demographic (skip to the end if you just want to see the advert).
What were the results? Did it work?
Well, these two videos alone have currently 38 million views in total. The Blossom Facebook video by itself has 99k saves, 401k reactions, 416k shares and over 5,000 comments. So that’s pretty good.
And that’s just two videos. As Tubular Insights has pointed out, there were a total of 24 content partners involved in this project as of start of August. They had put out 69 videos between them (source: Tubular Insights). Not bad.
In general, this continues the brand’s success in using social media to drive exceptional growth. In 2016 alone, 3 million subscribers spent $160 million on the brand’s subscription shave products. This success has made it partly responsible for slowing the growth of the established players in the shaving products market (source: Financial Times).
Be smart about using sponsored video and social media in general. These forms of promotion can be a very effective way to promote your video to a large, engaged audience. Do it right and your business could be the next big growth story, like Dollar Shave Club. Get in touch with us to find out more about integrating sponsored video into your marketing strategy.