October 22, 2014

SciMark Report from October Response

Body art is the latest duel

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

The items I reviewed include a duel between Allstar's Hot Jewels [ss] and IdeaVillage's Shimmer Jewelry Tattoos [ss], Ontel's Big Vision [ss] and Telebrands' Security Sleeves [ss].

I experimented with using survey data to inform my opinions in this column. Let me know what you think of the approach.

Coming Soon

In the upcoming November issue, I'll be covering the following new projects:

Check out the upcoming issue to see what I have to say about those projects.

October 16, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

Prediction: Hit!

  1. Janimals. Marketer: Jay At Play. Producer: Hutton-Miller. Pitch: "The wearable stuffed animals." Comments: This is a great product with tons of play value and maximum "pester power" potential. The creative is, of course, excellent and features a super-catchy jingle. Finally, this marketer/distributor is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the opportunity. This one's a layup! [ss]
  3. Air Bead Cushion. Pitch: "Perfectly contours to your bottom for comfort and support." Comments: Air bead cushion? Whoopee cushion is more like it! It's not quite that bad, but the sound this makes is certainly embarrassing and will be a barrier to purchase. Otherwise, this is the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow idea applied to the Forever Comfy concept, which should give it a decent shot. [ss]
  5. Cheese Tease. Pitch: "The exciting new electronic cat toy that makes your kitty jump for joy." Comments: Yet another ill-fated attempt to replicate the success of Cat's Meow. Yet another free data point for the rest of us. [ss]
  7. One Pan. Marketer: Spark Innovators. Producer: Kerrmercials. Pitch: "Three different meals made at the same time with just one pan." Comments: Hearthware tried a variation of this idea with its L'ovenware silicone bakeware back in the spring of 2012. They called it the "twice as nice divider tray." (You can watch the pitch here.) At the time, I thought there might be something to the idea. But upon further consideration, I find it hard to imagine two things people would want to cook together (and that would cook properly at exactly the same temperature and cooking time), let alone three things. [ss]
  9. Under Light. Marketer/Producer: Zoom TV. Pitch: "Motion-activated accent lighting for your home." Comments: Zoom products have higher-than-average odds of success, and this creative does an excellent job selling the product and making it look high quality. That said, the product is an LED light and thus finds itself in one of the worst Siren categories in the industry right now. On a side note, I may have detected a theme ... Zoom's Aqua Rug is based on a product made for yachts. This pitch is all about replicating the kind of accent lighting found in "million-dollar designer homes." Someone has been shopping for ideas at the One Percenter Store! [ss]

October 14, 2014

Plumber's Secret: Old Gold?

New Name: Plumber's Hero
Starring: Marc Gill (and his mom)
Original Hit Years: 1999-2000 (Nos. 52, 60 on JW Annual)
Website: www.PlumbersHero.com
Prediction: On the fence

This product was done years ago with Bob Villa. (You can watch the creative here.) Since then, drain-opening devices have had a great run on live shopping and a poor run on DRTV. The only success I can think of is Ontel's Turbo Snake (No. 42 on the 2009 JW Annual), but that item has little in common with this one.

As for the creative, I think it's as good as it possibly could be. Marc nails all of the magic demos from live shopping and then some, and the added touch of having his mom perform the demo is endearing and effective. I also like the simplicity and memorability of the slogan: "Just press and unclog the mess!" For these reasons, I give this project a 50/50 shot whereas I would otherwise consider it unlikely to succeed.

[Spot is also available here.]

One Touch Can Opener: Old Gold? (2)

New Name: Smart Touch Can Opener
Current Marketer: Telebrands
Original Hit Year: 2006 (No. 13 on the JW Annual)
Original Marketer: Cricket
Website: www.BuySmartTouch.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is a second attempt to discover 'Old Gold.' The first was by Harvest and was called the Tornado Can Opener.

Although the timing is getting better, my general feeling about gimmicky items like these is that it takes a long time for them to rise again -- if that is even possible. A full 10 years may not be long enough for people to forget that last time they (or someone they know) fell for this over-promise. And for those who may be forgetful, it is just too easy to 'Google the past' these days.

[Spot is also available here.]

October 09, 2014

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Chargetastic. Marketer: Eagle Eye. Producer: Paddock Productions. Pitch: "The on-the-go charging solution for today's modern family." Comments: Written by yours truly. [ss]
  3. Dimmit. Marketer: Norman Direct. Producer: Paddock Productions. Pitch: "The easy way to change any lamp into a dimming lamp." Comments: Also written by yours truly, but alas a 'fast fail.' (Link goes to spot.) [ss]
  5. Callus Magic. Producer: Hutton-Miller. Pitch: "The fast, easy way to remove cracked, dry calluses." Comments: This category has a mixed history. Ontel's Miracle Foot Repair was a big success back in 2001-2002. Telebrands' Heel Tastic also made the charts in 2009 and 2010. But there have also been several failures (Callous Clear, 30 Minute Foot Repair & Soothe Sox). Better odds than most categories, I suppose. [ss]
  7. Fresh Shields. Pitch: "Underarm pads ... block odors and stains, keeping you fresh and dry." Marketer: Hampton. Comments: Another 'fast fail.' Spark Innovators tried a similar item in 2009 (Dry Guards) with the same result. [ss]
  9. Shape Cakes. Starring: Connie Willis. Marketer: Spark Innovators. Producer: NexTV. Pitch: "Create incredible looking cakes in just minutes." Comments: Good spot, but this strikes me as something only the 'Martha Stewart minority' would go for. [ss]
  11. SmartyKat Feather Whirl. Pitch: "The fun new way for your cat to play." Comments: The success of Cat's Meow continues to confuse people and cause them to chase products like these (sort of like cats chase a moving toy). On the bright side, lots of data allows savvy players to apply my 'one is an outlier; three is a category' rule and determine if this sort of item is worth focusing on. [ss]
  13. Magic Card. Marketer: Will It Launch. Pitch: "Everything you need to power up and transfer data from device to device." Comments: Attempt #342. Something tells me the data-transfer twist won't make the CPO any better. [ss]
  15. Paper Bling. Pitch: "Paper bead maker lets you create beautiful jewelry in no time." Comments: A 'fast fail.' (Link goes to spot.) I'm guessing 'paper jewelry' sounds like an oxymoron to most people -- even kids. [ss]
  17. Wall Rider. Marketer: Telebrands. Pitch: "The new infrared control car defying the laws of gravity." Comments: Another 'fast fail.' (Link goes to spot.) [ss]
  19. Wonder Wallet. Pitch: "The amazingly flat wallet that's twice as thin as a regular wallet." Comments: A final 'fast fail.' (Link goes to spot.) Slim wallets have a poor track record these days as I detailed here. [ss]