July 30, 2015

Mouse Around

Description: A cat toy
Main Pitch: "The amazing new toy that is a real game of cat and mouse"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Watch the spot

Yet another attempt to prove Cat's Meow wasn't an outlier. The Website is already down, so I'm going to guess the attempt failed. Incidentally, this product is very similar to two earlier projects that failed: Mouse Chaser (2010) and Cheese Tease (2014).

S7 Analysis: Pets is an interesting category. It's a segment of segment, but that doesn't seem to matter -- sometimes. Other times, it matters a lot. That is to say, the target can be as elusive as, well, a mouse. These projects also strain the needed criterion. How many times can we solve the problem of cat boredom or clawed drapes? More to the point, how long before that "problem" sounds contrived?

Palm Pro

Description: A can opener
Main Pitch: "Fits perfectly in the palm of your hand ... the fastest, easiest way to open a can"
Main Offer: $10 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H), can strainer (free)
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Concepts TV
Watch the spot

One of the trickiest things about picking products for DRTV is evaluating 'wow' factor. We know that a "wow" reaction can overcome weaknesses in other areas (e.g. lack of problem-solving), but how necessary is it in general? A boring product that solves a painful problem can certainly find success, but how much of a liability is that? What does that lack of luster do to your odds of success?

I don't have the answer, but I do think the question applies to this project -- and can openers in general. In fact, the only can opener with any real 'wow' that I've seen is the One Touch Can Opener, a 2006 hit that Telebrands has now brought back as the TouCan. And that's an even bigger problem for this project. Generally speaking, there's only room for one. When the one is a cool, electric product that requires zero effort to use, and you want to compete with a manual alternative, that rule becomes even more formidable.

S7 Analysis: From a criteria perspective, I pause at different; i.e., Is a palm-sized can opener different enough to generate a strong impulse to buy?

Attached at the Hip

Description: A hip bag
Main Pitch: "Attaches at your hip for hands-free freedom"
Main Offer: $14.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Watch the spot

Can the fanny pack make a comeback? Some would argue that for certain groups, it never went away. But hip bags certainly aren't mass market the way they used to be. In my career, I've been pitched several attempts to bring back the pack -- everything from the fashion forward (which was almost a trend in 2011) to the fitness friendly. The latter idea even made it to TV, where it was never heard from again (see IdeaVillage's Go Belt).

In the best-case scenario, this would be like trying to sell a purse on DRTV. In the worst case, it's like trying to sell a really ugly purse.

S7 Analysis: It's hard to imagine a scenario where you could argue this product is needed. Some quick research reveals those with a concealed-carry permit favor the concept, which makes sense. But for anyone not toting a gun, there are better options for carrying your stuff around.

Wobbly

Description: An LED cat toy
Main Pitch: "The wobbly motion and the lively LED light will keep kitty occupied for hours"
Main Offer: $10 for choice of green, blue or pink
Bonus: 2nd one in same color (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Concepts TV
Watch the spot

This is the DR/value-priced version of a fancy cat toy I always like called FroliCat. The difference is this one is manual, and I think that could hurt the project's odds. Relying on the cat to tip the product seems unlikely. Cats never do what you want them to do. And if you have to tip it yourself, you may as well buy a laser pointer and torture your kitty with that. Not that this sort of logic will kill the sale -- people buy on emotion -- but it may unconsciously lead people to be less than impressed with this toy.

S7 Analysis: As I explain in my Mouse Around review, the elusive target buyer for this type of product and challenges with the needed criterion make this sort of project unpredictable.

KeyNo

Description: A Bluetooth padlock
Main Pitch: "No more combinations, no more keys ... you just click to open it"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Watch the spot

This is a "wow" product at an unbelievable price. If not for everything I know about the DRTV buyer, I'd predict a hit!

S7 Analysis: At the risk of sounding like a broken record these days, the issue here is the target. The typical DRTV buyer is older and fairly technophobic. The target for this type of product is young and tech-savvy. Figuring out how to reach the latter buying group with DR advertising is the next big challenge facing of our industry.