July 20, 2007

New Items: Awesome Auger, Craft-Lite Cutter, Series V Knife and more

Here’s my new report on the latest DRTV spots to air:

1. AWESOME AUGER ($19.95) is a long power drill attachment used for digging holes in the garden. The main claim: “Takes the hard work out of yard work.” The offer includes the “Ground Auger,” a shorter version for planting bulbs. The bonuses are the “Weed Auger,” which rips up weeds (just pay S&H), and a “power extender” (just pay S&H). Then they throw in the power drill (just pay S&H). This is an SAS Group product. Billy Mays is the spokesperson. www.BuyTheAuger.com
Comments: Might work in a limited way. Items in the gardening category face two major challenges: the category is seasonal and the market is niche. Still, this particular product may catch on among gardening enthusiasts, and the offer is huge – maybe too huge. A free power drill is just too good to be true. Southern Tools tried it as a bonus for their Bit Shooter product, and it shot the credibility of their offer and led to high levels of customer dissatisfaction. After all, what are the chances a DRTV company will ship you a quality power drill for free? Of course, the drill isn’t really free, which is another problem. Notice every bonus item that comes with this product carries a separate S&H charge. That’s going to kill a lot of sales.

2. YOUTHOLOGY ($39.99) is a wrinkle cream. The magic ingredient is “Active Rejuvatin.” The main claim: “Now you can make the visible signs of aging vanish instantly and look 10 years younger in just 90 seconds.” www.TryYouthology.com
Comments: There is nothing to distinguish this product from the other wrinkle creams on the market.

3. PET FLEX (Free Trial) is a dietary supplement for pets. You mix it in with the pet’s food and it improves joint health. The main claim: “Restore your pet’s active life.” No URL
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. People think of their pets as their children. They aren’t going to feed them something unknown without a lot of reassuring information. The commercial doesn’t offer it, and there is no Web site to visit for more information.

4. RACK & ROLL ($21.95) is a paper towel dispenser. It hangs over the back of a door. The bonus is a paper towel holder. www.TheRackAndRoll.com
Comments: This product doesn't solve a painful problem, and the offer is weak.

5. CLOSET DOUBLER ($12.99) is Telebrands’ Tap ‘N Turn, a space-saving device for closets, under a new name. It's a hanging device that connects to the side of a closet and drops down, so clothes hang vertically. It requires installation, but the process is just "tap" (goes into wall) and "turn" (handle screws it in). The offer is buy one, get one free. The bonus is a “rod unit” that’s double-sided and connects to the center of a closet rod (just pay S&H). www.ClosetDoubler.com
Comments: Same challenges as the original. It doesn't look like a quality piece, and it lacks credibility. People won't believe it's strong enough if the installation is so easy.

6. TOILET TUNES ($29.95) is a digital sound machine that automatically plays music or nature sounds the moment you lift your toilet lid. The idea is to conceal embarrassing bathroom noises. The offer includes a peel-and-stick sensor that goes under the toilet lid and the receiver/sound machine. The bonus is a spa pillow for the bathtub. www.GetToiletTunes.com
Comments: This is an interesting twist on Sharper Image’s Sound Soother device. But I don’t see how it’s going to cover bathroom noises. Also, it doesn’t do anything a small radio or CD player couldn’t do except go on automatically.

7. CRAFT-LITE CUTTER ($19.99) is a lighted cutting device for photos and craft projects. It has interchangeable blades for different styles of cuts, and a swing-out ruler. The offer includes three blades: a straight edge, a wave edge and a zig-zag edge. The bonus is three additional blades (scoring, stamp and perforation). This is a Merchant Media product and a Blue Moon Studios commercial. www.CraftLiteCutter.com
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. As a practical item, it doesn’t solve a big enough problem. Scissors have been a “good enough” solution for decades for a reason. As a craft item, it becomes a niche product.

8. SERIES V KNIFE ($19.99) is a 12-piece knife set. The main claim: These are “laser honed” knives so no matter what you cut, “they’ll never lose their edge.” The offer includes a 10-inch serrated slicer, an 8-inch flex chopper, a set of steak knives, an “ultimate kitchen knife,” and a multi-use knife that peels, grates, slices and serves. The bonus is a Japanese Santoku knife. This is a Chef Tony commercial. No URL
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. Kitchen knives are a tried-and-true DRTV category, and they lend themselves to some great demos. Chef Tony has them all down pat, so the spot is visually exciting. The problem is that the category is super-crowded these days. Go to any discount store, and you’ll find knife sets of every nationality and variety. The Ginsu days are long gone. So while this set is a great value and has a few interesting highlights – I especially like the multi-use knife – there’s not enough here to motivate people off the couch.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 7/13/07,” IMS (1-5); "Vol. XVI, No. 38-B, 07/13/07," Jordan Whitney (6-8)

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