May 07, 2007

Weekly Round-Up

  1. TRAX SCOOTER (4 pay, $74.95) is a personal transport vehicle that positions itself as a competitor to the Segway. It has a four-wheel upright design and goes up to 15 mph. Comments: Prediction? Bomb. The Segway, a much cooler vehicle with tons of positive PR, failed. Why would this succeed? The only argument is the price. But $300 might as well be $5,000 to the DRTV buyer -- especially when the item doesn't solve a problem.
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  3. HUGGABLE HANGERS ($19.99) are velvet clothes hangers that increase closet space and prevent "shoulder bumps." Joy Mangano, the inventor and original HSN pitchwoman, is the spokesperson. Comments: This is a proven winner on HSN. But will it translate into a short-form DRTV winner? I don't know the answer, but this is an excellent case study. If anyone can succeed, Joy can. If she doesn't succeed, this should lay to rest, once and for all, the simplistic idea that anything that shows great numbers on home shopping is a guaranteed DRTV winner. Incidentally, the item gets high marks from me. The only potential weakness I see is the uniqueness of the product. It's somewhat different (thin velvet as opposed to thick wood or plastic), but nothing earth-shattering. Plus, hangers aren't very exciting to begin with.
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  5. DR. FOOT ($14.95) is a foot-repair kit consisting of a cream, a spray and a pedicure lotion. The bonus is an electric callus remover. Comments: Unlikely to succeed. Ontel's Miracle Foot Repair, the hit that this product is trying to copy, was a retail hit not a DRTV hit. And this product isn't nearly as good. Plus, it's probably too early to bring the idea back. Also, the offer is confusing. There are three different products with overlapping benefits. Confusion hurts sales.
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  7. FRESHINI ($19.95) is a food-storage container that claims to keep things fresh up to four-times longer than a regular container. The container also has a locking lid. Comments: Prediction? Bomb. Several variations of this idea have been tried. All have failed. I think the problem is that: a) containers have a low perceived value, b) the problem isn't painful enough, c) the solution isn't credible enough, and d) containers are boring!
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  9. SABRR MARK & CUT ($19.95) is a measuring tape, utility knife, straight edge, compass and marker all in one. The offer includes free pencils and extra razor blades. The bonus is a metal extension for the end of the measuring tape. This is an Incredible Discoveries product. Comments: (High pitched whistling sound, growing in intensity) -- Bomb! Some many reasons, so little time! Aside from the fact that the product is awful, the spot is confusing, the offer is weak and the URL is terrible ... I like it.
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  11. BATTLE MAX ($99.99) is a safer paintball product for kids. It includes a gun that shoots soft balls instead of hard pellets, a magazine and a protective facemask. The bonus is a water-soluble paint kids can soak the soft balls in to create a paintball effect. This is an Incredible Discoveries product. Comments: Great idea, wrong channel. It's a niche item that's way too expensive for DRTV. But it could do well in other channels since younger kids always want to mimic what the older kids are doing.
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  13. ONE TOUCH MARINATOR ($19.95) is a manual device that uses vacuum pressure to marinate meat instantly. The vacuum pressure expands the meat and sucks in the marinade. The bonus is a large tap chopper. Comments: Could work. There is only one weakness, and it could be a killer: The product is very difficult to explain. They try, but they don't really succeed. But if people get it, they will buy it. On a side note, I saw an electronic version of this item several years ago at the Chicago Housewares Show and loved it. The "expanding meat" demo was magic. Unfortunately, that demo wasn't captured well in this spot.

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