Razors and the Cost of “Manliness”

RAZORIf you’ve looked at my photo, you can see that I don’t have much need for a personal shaving system. That’s what they call razors and blades these days. Why? Because manufacturers can’t make big profits by selling a stick with a sharp blade to scrape hair off your face.

Because these products are commodities (i.e., the product is pretty much the same no matter who makes it), the marketing wizards have cooked up elaborate schemes to convince you that they are different from each other. They target market segments and position their brands as the system used by men who share certain characteristics.

pg-612_1zTake the Gillette Fusion razor, pictured here. It’s positioned as a macho, TURBO-FIED experience that is sure to make you feel like that sexy stud in the commercial. Use our razors in a steamy bathroom, muscle-bound legs wrapped in a tight white towel and feel your powers of charm and manliness grow! You’re all but guaranteed to make the women swoon and the men go green with envy. I’m exaggerating for emphasis, but I’m sure you see what I mean. From the size of the company and the number of ads they buy, it must be a very successful ploy.

It’s not working for me, though. To me, the design and product are inauthentic. I FEEL LIKE THEY ARE SHOUTING AT ME. You’re paying more for the hi-performance packaging than for the razor. It feels like a company trying to bamboozle me into purchasing a bunch of blather. And please, PLEASE don’t make me buy one more thing that needs a battery. 

Screenshot 2016-05-04 10.46.01There are 2 competing products on the market that take a different tact: Harry’s and Dollar Shave ClubAlthough they both sell on price, WAY less than the big brands like Gillette, it’s the way they communicate their message through packaging design and advertising that speaks to me. For Harry’s, I appreciate the elegance and style achieved through simplicity. And DSC combines economy of design and humor throughout the customer experience. For example, every razor refill package they send me has a different, clever phrase on the box (e.g. “Leave the CUTS to movie directors. “). Funny. 

Screenshot 2016-05-04 10.48.24

I suspect there are many guys like me who not only don’t want to pay 20 bucks for a personal shaving system, but who also don’t care to pin their identity to this relatively unimportant product. For us, these alternatives are perfect. They might not say I’m a sports-loving tough guy; just that I’m smart enough not to spend my lunch money on a razor.

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P.S. You guys going to see Tough Guy 3 this weekend?

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