May 18, 2016

New Rollout: Swerve Ball

Description: A specially shaped baseball
Main Pitch: "Fun and wild and lets you pitch like the pros"
Main Offer: $14.99 for 3 balls with “sweet spot” sleeve
Bonus: 3 additional balls, strike zone target (free)
Starring: Bobby Mills
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Watch the spot

IdeaVillage has rolled out with two other sports toys this year: Hamper Hoops and Hover Hockey. Last year, a soccer toy called Hover Ball was also a rollout for the marketer. All three were sold under the Wham-O brand.

For my thoughts on this item, check out my report in the May issue of Response.

April 28, 2016

The Hit Halo Effect

"[P]erformance creates a Halo that shapes the way we perceive strategy, leadership, people, culture, and more," wrote Professor Phil Rosenzweig in his 2007 book, The Halo Effect. In this month's Field Report, I explore how this effect applies to products.

In our industry, it results in a predictable phenomenon: Every hit will inevitably be followed by at least nine failed attempts to replicate that hit. Click here to read the post.

April 21, 2016

SciMark Report from April Response

My SciMark Report in print for April is now available on the Response Website.

This month, I cover three projects that were tried to see if a surprise hit was an outlier or a category. They are: IdeaVillage's Magic Puzzle, Telebrands' Smart Swab and Hampton's Brighter Viewer.

April 14, 2016

Time for Change

I launched this blog almost nine years ago. It has exceeded my expectations in every way. What started with a few dozen readers (leftovers from an internal email I sent to colleagues) has grown to nearly 1,200 subscribers. Along the way, The SciMark Report became one of the industry's most-read publications, earned me accolades, helped me gain clients and served its original purpose in spades. I set out to provide a free public library of DRTV tests, but I (mostly by accident) accomplished much more.

It hasn't been all positive, though. Publishing such a thorough report is a labor of love, and the labor often exceeds the love. I have also seen, on too many occasions now, how my posts can make life difficult for people I care about. It is primarily this latter problem that has led me to decide it's time for change.

Going forward, The SciMark Report will be more occasional and not nearly as comprehensive. I intend to focus less on specific projects and more on trends, categories, case studies and industry developments. I am also going to wait to write about new projects until they appear on the charts. That's the only way to avoid breaking news and inadvertently assisting copycats.

I'm optimistic that the end result will be an even better blog. As always, I welcome your feedback.

April 10, 2016

Blue Hawk & HD Clear Dash

Blue Hawk

Main Pitch: "High-definition dash cam ... records all audio and video like a hawk"
Main Offer: $39.99 for one with window decal
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Watch the spot

HD Clear Dash

Main Pitch: "Dashboard cam gives you instant replay for your car"
Main Offer: $29.99 for one
Bonus: Car charger, 14-hour memory chip (free)
Marketer: Tristar
Watch the spot

These two projects follow InvenTel's DashCam Pro, which was a True Top Spender of 2015.