What kind of soap would Steve McQueen use?

Shortly after I discovered Duke Cannon Big Ass Soap Brick, I had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with their intern number 1. The same person graciously agreed to conduct a quick interview for sneezr.ca.

Jenan: Sometimes a remarkable product/service arrives with no story. But for the most part in life, all great things start with a story. What can you tell us about the origins of your brand?

Intern1: We wanted to create a brand that promoted a return to core masculine values: hard work, resourcefulness, and chivalry. It seems like many men today have lost sight of these values. After all, many of us measure our value by our salaries, the cars we drive, and our brand of skinny jeans. We hire contractors to do the simplest things like frame a wall or fix the toilet. And some of us idolize brands like Axe which objectify women and convince us that smelling like a “Phoenix” will get us laid. We wanted to create a brand that called bull**** on these beliefs, so we created Duke Cannon.

Jenan: You brand’s unique personality is reinforced by your web copy. This is a good example of how effective copywriting works: it shifts your messages away from what you want to say toward what people want to hear. When it works like this it can be a magical thing—it can take your business from ordinary to legendary. Do you guys write your own copy or are your working with someone?

Intern1: The two founders write almost all of the copy. Actually, this sounds cliche, but the brand itself writes the copy. They took a long time internally deciding what Duke Cannon stands for, and now we simply check potential copy by asking, “Is this something Duke Cannon would say?” And surprisingly, we find that the decision is quickly made for us.

Jenan: Let’s not forget: the icing is not the cake, and the icing does not make the cake. Said differently, your story is just the icing. Your product must be the cake. How is your soap different from other soaps on the market?

Intern 1: We believe our soap is one of the largest bars on the market. Many men told us they were dissatisfied with how quickly most bars of soap turn into useless slivers that end up slowly disintegrating on the shower floor. At 3/4 lb., our soap is is 3x the size of most mainstream bars and tends to last more than 3x longer. Additionally, its “brick” style is modeled after the 1 lb. bricks of soap that were supplied to the GIs in the Korean War. We have tremendous regard for the men and women in our Armed Forces, so many aspects of our design (from our color, size, packaging, communication, etc.) is meant to honor them.

Jenan: How did you guys chose your niche?

Intern1: We simply do not see many brands in the personal care category targeting mainstream, hard-working men. There are many premium offerings that target wealthier, brand-conscious men, and there are brands like Axe and Old Spice that target high-school boys, but no brands that seem to celebrate and target real guys who work hard for a living. We want to be that brand.

Jenan: Do you guys  have any other exciting products in the pipeline you’d like to tell us about?

Intern1: We’re constantly searching for more categories where real men have been overlooked, and we definitely have some ideas in the hopper. We’re also working very closely with our contacts in Bravo Company 2-135 of the US Army to understand what needs they have, and they will be the inspiration for some ideas in the future.

Thanks and good luck!
Dec 18 2011