The anatomy of an effective guy-ad

Posted & filed under Branding, Social Media.

I do my best to ignore Facebook ads, like many of you probably. And yet, today I encountered one that stopped me. I looked at it. And then, despite my best intentions, I actually clicked on it.

I was thus delivered to the Facebook page of a company called Harry’s, which makes and sells razors. I noticed that someone had commented there: “This is the first Facebook advertisement that has ever yielded my clicking on the link.”

I wasn’t alone. And so why is this ad effective?


My guess would be that it’s like a lot of good ads: 33 percent graphic design, 33 percent message and 33 percent je ne sais quoi.

Design: I appreciate that the graphic designer had the good sense to get the hell out of the way and just let a humbly beautiful product and simple message have the limelight.

Message: Not counting the logo, this ad contains four words. Four! Less is more, as they say — in design, and in copy. Of course, some will argue that “Sharperer” and “Expensiver” are not actually “words” — hence another comment I noticed on the Facebook page: “Fire the copy editor! You lost an educated consumer.” Perhaps he was joking. If not, ah well, you’ll never enchant everyone.

But the best and simplest part of the message is something a lot of guys might relate to: Razor blades are ridiculously expensive — they’re the male equivalent of makeup.

And there’s a feeling that you’re stuck with either one huge corporation or another huge corporation, each of which is trying to be exactly like the other. I don’t have any brand loyalty to either, because it’s hard to tell them apart. In fact, when I buy blades, I have to stop and think a minute about which brand razor I have.

When Schick and Gillette design ads, I think they go find the guy who designed the exploding helmet graphics on Monday Night Football.

gilletteThis ad has way more serious problems than “sharperer.” For instance, why exactly is the razor orbiting the Earth? What, pray tell, is “Fusion POWER”? And if comfort was ever a serious issue, it was before I started shaving – so 30 years ago or something.

Harry’s appears to have seen an opportunity: the fact that my two main “choices” in razor blades offer little choice at all, don’t distinguish themselves, and are priced in a way that builds resentment.

I eventually followed the Facebook page to Harry’s very slick website, where I found this nice bit of copy:

“Like most of you, we’ve long had to choose between over-priced, over-marketed razors that disrespect your intelligence, and low quality, cheap razors that disrespect your face. We knew there had to be a better way, so we created Harry’s as a return to the essential: a great shave at a fair price.”

Nicely done. Of course, we’ll have to see if Harry’s makes it.

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