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Gillette Attempt to Ignite Flame-War with Dollar Shave Club on Twitter

Just about the only time I'm ever exposed to American advertising is when I'm watching the NFL, and I'm always surprised at how directly companies will reference their competitors. Here in the UK it's virtually unheard of for companies to talk about how they are better than their rivals in ads, at least directly, but in the States it seems to be par for the course.

It's a method that Dollar Shave Club have been using for years, poking fun at other, far larger razor companies like Gillette and Schick. The different between this and Apple and Microsoft taking pot-shots at each other is that Dollar Shave Club is a far smaller company that specialise in cheap, affordable alternatives to the more expensive razors sold by the others. For this reason, they don't really get any retaliation for their ads.

At least, they didn't, until recently. For whatever reason, Gillette decided to go on the offensive, and started promoting negative reviews of DSC razors, particularly if the user in question also mentions that they will be going back to Gillette as a result of the bad experience. In some cases DSC had even responded to the tweets, apologising to the customer and offering to improve the subscription service, only for Gillette to reply, welcoming them back to the Mach 3 club. 

Rumours have circulated about the possible involvement of ad agency Vayner Media, as a few months ago one of their staffers posted a negative tweet about DSC razors which Gillette have since promoted. Vayner have since gone on record that they aren't involved and that 'nothing scandalous' is going on. Regardless, this is turning into a PR nightmare for Gillette, as many people are characterising the stunt as bullying behaviour, unnecessarily stepping on a far smaller company.

Ironically, this might end up helping DSC, rather than hindering them. Seeing them being attacked by a larger company seems to be endearing them in the eyes of many twitter users, which might even lead to more people buying their products just to spite Gillette. It's not often you see social media marketing this aggressive, or this overt, and I'm struggling to figure out exactly how anyone at Gillette HQ ever arrived at the conclusion that this was a good strategy. The focus should be on why your product is good, not why somebody else's is bad.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Gillette Attempt to Ignite Flame-War with Dollar Shave Club on Twitter Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, October 15, 2015 Rating: 5

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