April 30, 2015

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Stream Machine. Marketer: Spark Innovators. Producer: Paddock Productions. Pitch: "Streams your playlist from your phone to your radio for hours of commercial-free music." Comments: Written by yours truly. [ss]
  3. Astro Socks. Marketer: Hampton. Pitch: "Developed by aerospace to keep feet warm in the coldest and most extreme conditions." Comments: This site is already down, so I'm just posting for posterity. Not that I would have predicted success for seasonal socks, anyway. [ss]
  5. Flexy Pop. Marketer: Telebrands. Pitch: "Tiny but powerful universal phone mount keeps your phone safely within reach." Comments: This site is also down. That's probably because the product has a low perceived value. Emson's Clever Grip is a much better-looking product. [ss]
  7. My Boom. Marketer: Telebrands. Pitch: "Instantly upgrades your device's sound from faint to fantastic." Marketer: Telebrands. Comments: While IdeaVillage's Music Bullet was a 2012 hit, subsequent attempts (Boom Cube, Micro Boom) demonstrated it was an outlier and not a category. Incidentally, this site is also down. [ss]
  9. Tomato Patch. Marketer: Spark Innovators. Producer: PB&J. Pitch: "Grow big, juicy, great-tasting tomatoes." Comments: This pitch has worked several times before (Tomato Factory, Topsy Turvy). Like eggs, tomatoes seem to have a special sales magic that other types of food don't have. This one could do well ... Fun fact: Every tomato commercial I linked to above starts with the same opening line. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the original writer ought to be blushing about now! [ss]

SciMark Report from April Response

Allstar's Quick Bright

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

This month I wrote about an Allstar/Telebrands duel involving lamps (Quick Bright vs. Pocket Lamp), Telebrands' Copper Step and Rapid Mac (from the creator of Rapid Ramen).

Coming Soon

In the upcoming May issue, I'll be reviewing these new projects:

April 23, 2015

Jeff Gordon Wall Clock

Description: (Self explanatory)
Main Pitch: "Celebrate the thrill and excitement of Jeff's incredible career"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: None
Marketer: Telebrands (2014's True Top Marketer)
Watch the spot

It's about time someone recognized the huge potential of the NASCAR market for DRTV. I'm serious -- and not for the reason you may think. I know people love to repeat that old cliché about our core customer living in a trailer park, but anyone who has studied the demographics knows that isn't true. Just look at the number of up-market campaigns rolling out these days ... and the rarity of projects like this, come to think of it.

In any case, I think there is something to be said for thinking about what your typical Wal-Mart customer might be into and then trying something outside of the comfort zone for the affluent, East Coast executives who run this business. This item fits the bill, and Telebrands is the right marketer, having had success with clocks (1998's Singing Bird Clock) and commemorative collectibles (2008's Obama Plate, 2011's Royal Ring) in the past.

Actually, Emson has had more success with clocks. One of them was even a NASCAR clock: 2001's Dale Earnhardt Clock (No. 89 on the JW Annual that year). The other was 1999-2000's Lionel Train Clock (Nos. 12 and 15, respectively). So I guess I should have written: "It's about time someone, other than Emson, recognized the potential of the NASCAR market for DRTV."

S7 Analysis: Clocks, coins and other collectibles obviously fail the SciMark Seven because they don't solve a problem. Collectors are also in the minority, so it's hard to guess if the target market will be big enough to sustain a campaign -- although the huge number of NASCAR fans makes me think that won't be an issue here.

Secret Gloves

Description: Liquid 'gloves'
Main Pitch: "Repels dirt and grime, keeping hands clean and protected"
Main Offer: $9.99 for one tube
Bonus: 2nd tube (just pay separate P&H)
Marketer: Hampton
Watch the spot

This concept was tried in the summer of last year under the name Hand Defender (see No. 3 in this Weekly Round-Up). I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now. As I wrote back then: "I don't think anyone besides a mechanic needs a product like this." Plus, I think putting a weird mystery substance on your hands that seals them will seem scary to people.

S7 Analysis: This one fails the targeted criterion. When combined the idea that a DRTV product should solve a problem high on the problem scale, the question becomes: Who has a big enough problem to buy this product? If the correct answer is the one in the commercial -- people who work on cars often or garden a lot -- then the target is a segment of a segment.

Pocket Jump

Description: A car jumpstarter
Main Pitch: "The fastest, easiest way to charge a dead battery in any car"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Starring: Anthony Sullivan
Marketer: Telebrands (2014's True Top Marketer)
Producer: Sullivan
Watch the spot

I have been pitched variations of this item at least a few dozen times over the years. My answer was always "no" for one simple reason: Prevention doesn't sell. Think about something as simple as jumper cables, which you can buy for less than $10 at Wal-Mart (or Pep Boys or AutoZone) and throw in your trunk for the next time your car battery dies. How many people have them in their trunk right now? I've been in the unenviable position of having to ask around the parking lot, and the answer from that unscientific poll is not many. If people won't spend $10 to be prepared for a dead battery, how likely is it they'll spend $20 plus shipping and handling and an extra fee?

S7 Analysis: Preparedness is the opposite impulsiveness. That's my way of saying the core behavior of the DRTV buyer is at odds with the behavior encouraged by products like these. Another way of looking at it: This product isn't truly needed until it's too late to capitalize on the desire to have it. (Caller: "I'm stuck in a parking lot and need a Pocket Jump right away!" Operator: "I'll put in the order right now ... Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.")