In the upcoming October issue, I'll review the following new projects:
The Blog About Short-Form DRTV
In the upcoming October issue, I'll review the following new projects:
Posted by Jordan Pine at 7:11 PM
Posted by Jordan Pine at 7:59 PM
Charts of hits such as my mid-year True Top Spenders raise inevitable questions. Most are of the sour grapes variety, but one particular question is always worth pondering: Where do the top marketers get their hits?
One might assume the answer to that question is a closely guarded secret, and that every top DRTV company has at least one covert source of inside sales information. But what if the truth is that outside sources are more likely to be responsible for a top marketer’s hits these days?
For instance, if I eliminated 'follower items' (my new euphemism) from the chart , the number of hits for the True Top Marketers of recent years would look like this:
IdeaVillage stills gets the top spot, and Telebrands is still just one campaign behind, but Allstar's placement no longer looks so distant. IdeaVillage loses three because of Copper Fit (Tommie Copper was first), HD Vision Visor (Easy View was first) and Yoshi Grill & Bake Mat (Miracle Grill Mat was first). Telebrands also loses three because of Amish Secret (Dutch Glow was first), Grassology (Cutting Edge was first) and Trusty Cane (HurryCane was first). Allstar doesn't play this particular game, so they don't lose any.
To make this even more interesting, let's also eliminate campaigns that have appeared on previous charts so that we are only evaluating 2014 rollouts. Now the list looks like this:
IdeaVillage loses MicroTouch Max and HD Vision Wraparounds, and Telebrands loses Pocket Hose Ultra. That last one isn't perfectly fair since a 'pro' product is technically 'new,' but it serves my purposes here. In any case, now IdeaVillage and Telebrands tie for first, and Allstar is a strong second.
Now a final question: How many of the remaining 11 hits are from 'inside'? In other words, if we eliminate every (new) campaign from my True Top Spenders that wasn't discovered by the listed marketer, how good do the top dogs look?
I ask because it is common to assume the companies that top a chart have exhibited a talent for identifying hits. But as I will now demonstrate, that isn't necessarily true. Indeed, the greatest talent for picking winners may reside outside of the big companies these days -- a fascinating trend.
Here's the list again, this time minus the ones I know came from outside:
I don't know enough about Telebrands' four campaigns to make this a complete list, but I do know enough about the other seven campaigns to make my point. IdeaVillage loses MicroTouch One, which came from 221 Direct, and Stufz, which came from Zoom TV. Allstar loses Perfect Bacon Bowl, which came from Edison Nation, and Secret Extensions.
I can go on. Emson's campaigns are a mystery to me, but I know Hampton has one old campaign on the list (Chillow) and one from Lenfest (My Spy Birdhouse), which would net them out at one. Even the guys with two on the chart aren't safe: Both Phil Swift and Norman Direct lose one if old items are excluded (Flex Seal and Mr. Lid, respectively). And Mr. Swift would have nothing left if I were as strict with Flex Shot as I was with Pocket Hose Ultra: That brand is well beyond 'pro.'
In the end, it seems the brilliance needed to pick winners is pretty evenly distributed in our industry with no significant difference between a large, veteran firm and a small, emerging one. So in the end, IdeaVillage ties with Infomercials Inc., each with two good picks apiece ... and everyone else is a close second with one.
Posted by Jordan Pine at 11:07 PM
The peer-review period is over. Here are the True Top Spenders for the first six months of 2014.
A handful of producers didn't claim their work, and their clients weren't forthcoming, so the chart still has a few holes. So be it. For the rest, it's time to give credit where credit is due. It's time to reveal the smart, hard-working folks who produced the most hits so far this year. Without further ado ...
True Top Marketer: IdeaVillage Products Corp!
IdeaVillage takes the No. 1 spot with a whopping NINE campaigns on the list. I welcome them back to the top of this chart: It has been a while: The last time they hit No.1 was 2010. This is also a big leap forward from 2013 when IdeaVillage had 'only' four rollouts on the list and didn't even place. Congratulations to the IV team.
Close behind IdeaVillage is last year's True Top Marketer, Telebrands, with an impressive EIGHT campaigns on the chart. Telebrands has consistently ranked at or near the top of this chart since I started putting it out. That in itself is quite an achievement.
Everyone else trails by a significant gap with two or three hits apiece. However, a few deserve honorable mentions. Congratulations to Norman Direct for joining 'The True Spenders Club' with a respectable two rollouts (Easy View & Mr. Lid) and to Infomercials Inc, the only combination marketer/producer on the list, also with two rollouts (Miracle Grill Mat & Speed Out).
Speaking of producers, here's your other big winner ...
True Top Producer: Hutton-Miller!
Hutton-Miller climbs back into first place with five campaigns on the list. This is their second time taking the top spot, the last time being 2011. I suspect their placement has suffered in recent years because of my focus on 120-second campaigns. The H-M powerhouse is perhaps best known for an unbroken string of successes in the toy category, and those campaigns tend to run 60s. In any case, congratulations to Peter, John and the rest of their talented creative team.
As for the runners' up: Concepts TV, last year's True Top Producer, just missed the top spot again with four campaigns. Meanwhile, Blue Moon and Cole Media tied for third, and both Kerrmercials and Morgan James deserve honorable mentions with a laudable two rollouts each.
As for me, no one should be lauding my track record! Sure, I called three correctly (MicroTouch Switch Blade, Grassology & Chop Magic), but that mild achievement quickly fades next to the 10 I got wrong. I did sit the fence on an additional five, which is pretty positive for me, but no excuses -- I guessed incorrectly far too many times.
Of the ones I underestimated, two of them helped me discover a new category. Combined with Gyro Bowl (a 2011 True Top Spender), Snackeez and Wow Cup complete the three I require to establish 'toddlerware' as a valid DR category. I don't mind being wrong when it's educational!
As for which campaign shocked me the most, that would have to be MicroTouch One. Who could have guessed that a single-blade razor my grandpa used could compete with the 5-blade vibrating wonders of today? Some very smart people, it seems. Regarding one of them: Years ago, I did a panel with Fred Vanore of Blue Moon Studios called "Turning Losers Into Winners." Well, this year Fred once again proved he's an expert on this subject by taking a losing concept that had already failed once on TV (Akira) and turning it into a major winner. Kudos to him and the other marketing geniuses behind this surprise hit!
Posted by Jordan Pine at 9:36 PM
Description: A 3D pen
Main Pitch: "Like a 3D printer in the palm of your hand"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Prediction: Likely to succeed (but)
It's not uncommon for Telebrands to test two, three or more versions of a commercial for an item they decide has potential. I've noted everything from name changes (e.g. Ankle Genie) to whole new creatives by different producers (e.g. Trusty Cane). I got the prediction for Ped Egg wrong largely because I watched an early creative that did not mention a key feature of the product -- or so I tell myself.
I bring this up because the only reason I think this project is likely to succeed is because the product has so much potential: The commercial will need to be completely redone. I'm not sure what went wrong (quite possibly product performance was an issue), but the demos and ideas shown are either lame (the cube), repetitive (the cube and the flower) or way beyond the capability of the average person (copying a photo). That's a shame because this product is awesome and easily has as much potential as Bendaroos or other 'kid craft' items that have been successful.
Speaking of which ... Where are all the kids?
[Note: At press time, the link to this site was working -- and then it stopped working. I'm not sure if that's a technical glitch or if this one crossed over into 'fast fail' territory as I was writing about it! If the site's down when you click, you can read about similar pens and watch a demo of one in this Daily Mail article.]
Posted by Jordan Pine at 11:21 PM
The contents of this blog represent the opinions of its author. Any inaccuracies are unintentional.