Rewriting identity expectations around a healthier idea of masculinity



Grooming culture in Japan, much like the popular representation of masculinity, is in a state of flux. Storytelling around traditional shaving is aimed at an older generation of consumers, while younger users are often attracted to newer brands that offer hassle-free, electric products that bring different cultural meanings to the act of shaving.

Re-packaged products with extra blades no longer cut it. Schick were seeking to rewire their communication approach to be more inclusive toward Japanese subcultures, while continuing to appeal to their mainstream customers.



For over 60 years, Schick Japan have promoted the culturally attuned idea of ‘seiketsukan’ – a sense of freshness – by casting clean-shaven faces that speak to the features of their products. For the launch of Schick Hydro Custom, we went beyond functionality, taking the opportunity to recalibrate the position of their global campaign ‘the man I am’.

We repositioned Schick’s digital content around authentic storytelling from people who see facial hair as part of their identity and ability to express themselves. This involved capturing the routines of people from across different lifestyles, careers, and spectrums, including: drag queens, kabuki performers, ikebana artists, musicians, bartenders, and barber cultures across Japan.


The success of this approach, based around stories from real people to enable positive brand affinity among younger consumers, has been a substantial driver to help Schick break away from their legacy of product-led communication.

Our campaign led to a massive jump in awareness, recording over 8.3 million views within days of the launch. This was achieved with a record CPV of 50% lower than the benchmark, validating the shift towards an identity-driven form of storytelling. This has enabled Schick to evolve into an industry thought leader, positively engaging with subcultures with diverse needs, and demonstrating how shaving can be a positive act of expression for all identities and generations.

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