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GC of Razor Startup Pens Cutting Demand Letter to Gillette

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on January 20, 2017 1:15 PM

What lawyer brought a razor-sharp wit to, well, a razor fight? Jack Sarno, general counsel of the razor-blades-by-mail startup Harry's.

After Gillette launched a campaign to "welcome back" former Harry's users, Sarno sent off a demand letter to Gillette, part of Procter & Gamble -- a demand letter with plenty of, ahem, edge.

Welcome Back -- or Not

So, what's the back-story? Gillette recently released an ad stating that "most guys leave Harry's after trying it" and welcoming said guys back into the Big Razor fold.

Harry's took issue with the ad's assertions, as might be expected, and their GC went to work. But Sarno didn't send out some boring old boilerplate. He sent out a masterfully written letter that drips with sarcasm from the first sentence.

Shall we begin?

"I am writing on behalf of Harry's, Inc.," the letter starts, "to express our gratitude for the publicity that Gillette is generating for us through its Welcome Back ad campaign." That campaign "further validates" Harry's impact on the industry, Sarno says, but it does have a few mistakes.

Although we appreciate the spirit behind the Welcome Back campaign, we thought we should point out a typo in the ad's central claim that "most guys leave Harry's after trying it." Fortunately, correcting the claim would require only the following minor edit:

"Most guys leave stay with Harry's after trying it."

No Pride of Authorship

Sarno's got jokes, and that wasn't his only one.

We assume that the false claim in Gillette's ad is an innocent mistake and that Gillette would not intentionally mislead consumers. We are happy for Gillette to continue to run the ad campaign with the corrected statement that most guys "stay with" Harry's. We have no pride of authorship -- "re-order from," "stick with," "abandon their old razor after trying" and "swear by" would all work equally well.

Finally, there was this deep-cutting footnote:

By the way, the Welcome Back campaign refers consumers to retailer.com for alleged substantiation for one of Gillette's claims regarding Harry's products. Unfortunately, none of us at Harry's could access the site, apparently because the site is classified as malware by Cisco's OpenDNS services. Gillette might want to look into this.

The letter made nice, though, saying that Harry's wasn't threatening litigation. "Our practice," Sarno wrote, "is to compete on the merits and not by filing lawsuits."

He even sent along a holiday gift set to Gillette, though we're not sure how much use Procter & Gamble CLO Deborah Majoras would have for it.

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