The Dr. Squatch Soap Saver and When “Free of Charge” Works for Your Bottom Line

Chad Hughes
3 min readDec 24, 2020
Credit: Honest Brand Reviews

Last year I got an ad on YouTube for Dr. Squatch all natural, hand-cut soap. The ad was read by talented spokesman, James Shrader, who convinced me that the soap I was using wasn’t ‘up to snuff’ on soap standards.

The whole video was set in a forest and ran for about 2 minutes showcasing their old-fashioned production process and up-to-date humor. It occasionally cut to attractive women turning their nose up at ‘grandma soap’, and then praising the “sexy smell-good” Dr. Squatch bricks. As someone who often looks deeply into my Irish Spring bar in the shower and wonders if there’s anything more to life, I decided to click the link and check out their website.

A waft on confident masculinity blew softly onto my laptop keyboard.

I’m not really one for uber-manly products, but ‘Pine Tar’, ‘Cedar Citrus’, and ‘Bay Rum’ all struck a chord within my subconscious like the Axe scents never had. I perused for a bit and settled on ‘Nautical Sage’.

Less than a week later I was happily scrubbing with my new bar. One thing that bugged me though was that the natural, gummy consistency left a giant residue square on the side of the shower after every use. I remember seeing a soap saver on their website so I logged back in to check it out. $15 dollars… That just seemed steep for a small block of wood.

When my bar ran out a month later, I drove to Walmart and with my regular groceries bought some Yardley activated charcoal soap.

Looking back, I think Dr. Squatch was very close to achieving the marketing holy grail — customer loyalty. Maybe if the soap saver would have been thrown in for free on the first order, I would have subscribed. Having a small tray with a little logo on it would remove a lot of cognitive dissonance associated with the gummy residue their bars leave. It also might create some dissonance the other way if I put another bar on their tray. Regardless I would have had a daily, non-intrusive reminder that Dr. Squatch was there to hold my soap for free.

But I digress, let’s talk numbers.

Last November I purchased a bar of soap for about $10 with tax and shipping. Dr. Squatch received $7 in revenues from my account.

Let’s say I got the free soap saver and chose to buy again after my initial purchase. I’m going to guess they turn a profit of $5 on the $15 soap tray. That’s -$10 on their books. One bar of soap lasted me about a month, so that comes out to an even $7/month revenue for Dr. Squatch on my account. It’s now a year later, so that adds to $84 in revenues by this time this year.

Theoretically, even if you sink the loss on the free soap saver, they could have very well lost out on $77 in revenues. That’s significant, especially for a routinely purchased personal commodity. We also know they bank on the subscription model because their “Subscribe” button appears on the home page of their website 5 separate times.

For full disclosure when I graduate college and find a decent job I’ll consider doling out $10 per month in quality, handmade, natural soap. I like the company and the values they stand on. If anything, I hope they read my story as a user and it helps them grow their business.

Sometimes it’s better to include things for free, especially when it’s a first purchase, and extra-especially when it’s a support product. This might affect whether or not someone adopts you into their buying routine.

At the end of the day, consumers just want to know that you’re on their side.

P.S. Check out Dr. Squatch here. This post is only my opinion on a marketing concept and not meant to damage the reputation of Dr. Squatch.



Chad Hughes

Hey there! I'm a marketing guy who's passionate about everything from design and music, to AI and aerospace.