July 01, 2015

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Finishing Touch Freedom. Starring: Anastasia Ashley (pro surfer). Marketer: IdeaVillage. Pitch: "Instant and painless hair removal -- anytime, anywhere." Comments: Yet another line extension of the 13-year-old brand and an apparent 'drive to Wal-Mart' campaign. [ss]
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  3. Dough Genie. Starring: Cathy Mitchell. Marketer: Lenfest. Pitch: "The amazing dough preparation station that eliminates mess and puts the fun back in baking." Comments: Seems like this would only appeal to a segment of a segment. Easy baking (e.g. Perfect Brownie) is all that has really worked, and pie items have had no success on DRTV in general. [ss]
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  5. Stand N' Type. Pitch: "Get off your seat and back on your feet." Comments: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the people who buy products with names like "Ab Lounge" (lounge around and get a six pack!) or those electro-stimulation ab belts aren't going to be interested in standing while they use their computers. [ss]

June 30, 2015

Dueling Bond Wands

Bondtastic

Main Pitch: "Uses liquid plastic and revolutionary UV light technology to bond and repair about anything"
Main Offer: $10 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Lenfest
Watch the spot

Lazer Bond

Main Pitch: "Liquid plastic that creates a rock solid bond on virtually any surface"
Main Offer: $10 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Watch the spot

From what I understand, this product actually works -- and that presents an interesting dilemma. How do you get people to believe that what looks like an obvious gimmick is actually doing something? Especially when you're using a DRTV format? I can read the viewer's mind, and he'll be thinking something like this:

Nice try, TV guys! Trying to get me to buy plain old Super Glue because you put an LED on the end! How stupid do you think I am? Next you'll tell me LEDs can remove hair or whiten my teeth!

And how would you convince them you're not full of it (this time)? By towing a semi? Lifting a bus? Floating in a boat that used to have a giant hole in it? Been there, seen that!

As it turns out, the Telebrands commercial tries most of that. They lift a pallet of cinder blocks and repair a wake board. Meanwhile, the Lenfest spot skips the over-the-top demos altogether, settling for more common fare. In both spots, the product is used to repair weights and seal fish tanks. Etc. But no demo, whether big or small, comes close to being convincing.

The best attempt to solve the dilemma is actually some clever audio work. In the Telebrands commercial, you can hear the product "tap-tap-tap" as it hits the glue its light has allegedly hardened. Smart technique. But it's a big stretch to go from believing an LED can make glue dry faster to believing it turns a $10 pen into an arc welder.

Damp Stopper

Description: A dehumidifier
Main Pitch: "Keeps dark, damp spaces humidity-free"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Watch the spot

Products like these tend to fail on DRTV because they violate one its central tenets: A good product should be demonstrable -- or at least visually interesting in some way. Like air humidifiers (e.g. Aqua Stone) and air purifiers (e.g. Ionic Maxx), this type of product just sits there. Prospects are asked to buy it and then 'wait and see' if it does anything for them -- in other words, to delay gratification for something they bought on impulse. You can see the problem.

S7 Analysis: Demonstrability is not one of the S7 criteria, but it was one of the criteria on my older lists. Perhaps it's time I brought it back?

June 20, 2015

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Key Ninja. Starring: Justin Credible. Marketer: Vante. Pitch: "Modern-day key organizer that holds up to 12 keys of any size and can extend to fit up to 30." Comments: From the quirky creatives who brought you Wallet Ninja and already tried by Spark Innovators (see Clever Key). I applaud their attempt to create a unique DR style -- or mimic one -- but that style will only appeal to young men (i.e. not the typical TV buyer). Then again, that's probably the right target for this sort of gadget. [ss]
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  3. BoPo Nail Polish. Pitch: "The amazing kid-safe nail polish you brush on and peel off." Comments: With the exception of Hot Designs, this has been a low-success category. Going even younger doesn't seem like a winning strategy. That said, I can see young girls and their moms liking this concept. [ss]
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  5. Bunch O Balloons. Marketer: Zuru Toys. Pitch: "Fill and tie 100 water balloons in just 60 seconds." Comments: The brand version of Balloon Bonanza. [ss]
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  7. Catch A Critter. Producer: Cole Media. Pitch: "Keeps pets occupied and eliminates boredom." Comments: Pet boredom has been used to help pet owners rationalize a DRTV purchase, but I don't think it's strong enough to stand alone as a problem. The closest hit to this product, Crazy Critters, solved a different and more pressing problem for pet owners. [ss]
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  9. Hummingbird Cafe. Marketer: Spark Innovators. Pitch: "The amazing hummingbird feeders that lets you get up close and personal." Comments: A lesser, regional version of My Spy Birdhouse (a 2013 True Top Spender) -- and too soon after that Lenfest hit. [ss]
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  11. Magic Pens. Brand: Wham-O. Pitch: "Transform regular drawings into magical works of art." Comments: This strikes me as an analog toy in a digital world. [ss]

June 11, 2015

Posture Fix

Description: A posture belt
Main Pitch: "Aligns your spine to help decompress your lower back and relieve pain"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Tristar
Watch the spot

This product is similar to an item Telebrands tested about this time last year. It's called Royal Posture, and I reviewed it in the July 2014 issue of Response. That either makes this a very delayed 'follower' project or a slow-developing duel. (Or is it a re-positioning of the V-Shape Trainer?) Because of the strange way Telebrands sometimes rolls out projects, it's hard to tell.

S7 Analysis: I have never thought poor posture was a big enough problem for a posture-correction device to be a hit. As for back pain, my review of DRTV history when Royal Posture came out indicated even that common problem may not be as big of a gold mine as previously thought -- although the success of Top Dog's BeActive Brace (a 2014 True Top Spender) calls that analysis into question.