In life, there are followers, and there are leaders, in the world of freelance writing there’s mostly followers. Because when you want an advertorial or explainer you want reliable, you want predictable, you want safe. What’s an explainer or advertorial they’re those short little usually animated films you have to sit through before watching cute cats or cradle of filth or cute cats playing cradle of filth on youtube. Or they’re part of that online training you’ve had to do on avoiding paper cuts in the modern work place. And now and then someone decides let’s make them funny, people like funny, when they’re laughing they’re learning. And it’ll make me the coolest guy in the training/advertising department. After all this guy lets call him Wally probably has the whackiest tie with a knob on it and the keraziest screen saver and a mad desk toy. The most common expression you’ll hear as a freelance comedy writer in the advertorial/explainer genre.
“can you write me dollar shave club?”
Because dollar shave club is the Beatles, the Jesus, the Ronald McDonald of advertorial scripts, it’s the one that everyone follows.
Dollar shave club is an online site that for a dollar will send you horrible cheap razors once a month, for a little more they will send you slightly better razors more often. It’s a pretty good idea and deserves its success What’s amazing is its advertising because it’s one of those rare things an advertorial that went viral all on its own.
How viral. In the millions of views, this is an advert that not only did it boost sales it also recouped its production costs in youtube advertising. Some of them quite possibly from rival razor suppliers. A few have replicated this success, Hello Flo an awesome little tampon delivery company with some wickedly funny adverts springs to mind
. So when asked if I can replicate dollar shave club for a client my answer is always.
But there’s a few caveats.
1 Dollar Shave Club works because it’s the first of its kind you can’t catch lightning in a bottle. Whatever you do will have to be different.
2 It’ll cost, not for my script, fees standard. But Dollar Shave Club has good editing, lighting, direction, production, even if they didn’t hire actors and just use friends and family that will cost you 5-10,000 dollars.
3 It’s simple; the message is “our blades are f’ing great” and we’ll send them to you regularly if you pay us. That is it.
4 It’s a little bit cheeky, there’ s a couple of racist jokes, a near swear word and a joke about tuberculosis.
5 It’s live action; live action if done properly always looks better than animated. Especially if you’re using a horrible kit animation system like Whiteboard or Getty Images.
6 Don’t start with “meet Dave” and launch into a dreary narration about a fictional customer, that the viewer will want to kill after 10 seconds.
The client will usually reply sure no problem. So I send them the script, and they come back a few days later with, great, love the script that’s brilliant…….but.
1 Tell people about our guarantee, founder, loyal members scheme, etc etc.
2 Take out anything cheeky.
3 Can you write it so it could be animated with Whiteboard and Getty images?
4 Could you start with “meet Dave.”
That reply may help explain why dollar shave club is a little bit more unique than most.
Although it only ever sold 12,000 subscriptions for 4,000,000 views. This video went viral simply because its terrible, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lydpAmMMoT0 Maybe some times it’s better to focus on making a great video that appeals to your actual customers as viral doesn’t naturally mean catching.