Dollar Shave Club signs ‘chin-fluencer’ to NIL deal for March Madness

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Dollar Shave Club has signed a name, image and likeness (NIL) deal with Gonzaga University star Drew Timme, according to a press release. The deal comes as the Unilever brand has been named the official razor of the NCAA and March Madness.
  • The brand is calling Timme the first and only “chin-fluencer” due to the smooth chin he has had because of a handlebar mustache. Dollar Shave Club is running a sweepstakes on Instagram and Twitter through March 14 that asks consumers to share a picture of their smooth chins for a chance to win tickets to the Men’s Final Four.
  • The “chin-fluencer” effort is part of the brand’s “Noticeably Smooth” campaign, which also includes a new spot that will air during March Madness games. Developed by the brand’s in-house creative team, 30-, 15- and six-second versions of “Mafia” will run across national broadcast and cable throughout 2022, with radio, digital and social extensions.

Dive Insight:

Dollar Shave Club is embracing its new status as the official razor of the NCAA and March Madness with an NIL deal, a relatively new opportunity that cropped up last summer as the NCAA changed its rules about how college athletes can monetize their name, image and likeness. True to its brand and quirky advertising, Dollar Shave Club has teamed with Drew Timme, who took the internet by storm with his handlebar mustache during last year’s March Madness (a look he is not currently wearing, it should be noted).

The “chin-fluencer” effort parodies influencer marketing and taps into interest around March Madness, one of the biggest sporting events of the year that is a frequent occasion for marketing campaigns. Dollar Shave Club’s sister brand Degree is currently running a “Bracket Gap Challenge” campaign to raise awareness around this year’s NCAA Women’s tournament.

Dollar Shave Club’s quirky effort is part of the brand’s “Noticeably Smooth” campaign, which also includes the “Mafia” spot featuring members of the mob gently slapping and caressing the “noticeably smooth” face of an associate. The spot was developed by the brand’s in-house creative team, which has been a driving force ever since the brand was a direct-to-consumer (DTC) challenger.

The March Madness campaign is a simple way for Unilever to boost a brand that it acquired for $1 billion in 2016. That type of major acquisition now looks unlikely for Unilever, after a failed attempt to buy GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s consumer-healthcare business and shrinking profit margins due to a variety of economic pressures.

“Some of our earlier acquisitions have underperformed. We didn’t always get it right. Dollar Shave Club did not deliver as expected, and the economics of the DTC model changed,” Unilever CEO Alan Jope said during the company’s most recent earnings call in February.

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