July 27, 2007

New Items: Seal-Tite, MXZ Wrench, The Tornado and more

Here's my report on the latest DRTV items to air. As described in an earlier post, I am adding a D7 Score to each new item I cover. My intention is to check on items 90 days after they debut to see if my score holds up as a predictor of what will succeed.

1. SEAL-TITE ($19.95) is a tire-repair kit under the Simoniz brand. When you get a flat tire, you’re supposed to squeeze this liquid into the air valve, re-inflate the tire and start driving. The liquid rolls around and seals the leak from within. The main claim: “Get back on the road in 10 minutes” without having to use a lug wrench or spare tire. The offer includes a portable air compressor with inflation adaptors and a digital pressure gauge. The bonus is a roadside safety kit with warning triangle, flashlight and safety vest (just pay S&H). This is a Billy Mays commercial. www.BuySealTite.com
D7 Score: 6 out of 7   (What's "D7"?)
Strengths: This item is a unique, mass market product that solves a problem. It's also priced right, easy to explain and appeals to people 50+. Oh, and it has Billy Mays!
Weaknesses: The idea of using a liquid to repair a tire is lacking in believability. Also, tire gauges, air compressors and safety kits aren't very exciting.

2. MXZ POWER WRENCH ($19.95) is an adjustable wrench that firmly grips and turns different-size nuts and bolts. It also features a built-in wire cutter. The main claim: “Locks on to any nut or bolt and never slips.” The offer includes an extra-large, interchangeable jaw for pipe fittings, etc. The bonus is a pipe-cutting jaw and a carrying case. Then they also include a five–piece screwdriver set with LED flashlight and telescopic magnetized retriever attachment (just pay S&H). This is an Emson product. No URL
D7 Score: 5 out of 7
Strengths: This item is a line extension of the MXZ Pocket Saw, a 2006 DRTV hit. It's mass market and priced right. It's also easily explained, credible and could appeal to consumers 50+.
Weaknesses: Unfortunately, this new tool isn’t nearly as unique as its predecessor, and it doesn’t solve a real problem. The commercial doesn't offer a compelling reason to buy this product and use it instead of your wrench of choice.

3. DRIP-TITE ($19.95) is an expandable tray that catches drips from underneath sinks. The idea is that you’re protecting your home from mold. The main claim: “Half of all kitchens have mold even if you can’t see it or smell it.” The offer is buy one, get one free. www.DripTite.com
D7 Score: 4 out of 7
Strengths: This item is unique and mass market. It's also easily explained and credible.
Weaknesses: The problem this product solves can’t be seen, and that's a major challenge. The offer is weak as well: It's hard to sell a piece of plastic for $20 and have people think they're getting a good deal. Lastly, the idea that a plastic tray prevents mold is lacking in credibility.

4. THE TORNADO (Free Trial, Just Pay S&H)) is a device that transfers files between computers. The main claim: “The world’s only pocket-sized data transfer computer.” The offer is to try it free for 30 days, just pay $9.95 S&H. (The actual price is $49.95.) There’s no bonus, but there is a challenge/guarantee: “If you can network two PCs and transfer a file between them faster and easier, [the inventor] will pay you $100,000.” www.TryTheTornado.com
D7 Score: 4 out of 7
Strengths: This is a cool item that won an award for “best gadget.” It's unique and credible, and it appeals to the mass market in the sense that most people have computers these days. They also do a great job of explaining the item.
Weaknesses: Although I can see this selling well in the techie niche market, it is not a DRTV item. Tech items skew younger; DRTV buyers skew older. Second, it solves an infrequent problem for most people. The opening talks about buying a new computer and having to transfer the files. How often does that happen? Third, the ultimate price ($50) is too high for DRTV buyers.

5. DREAM PETS ($29.99) is a lifelike plush pet that looks like it’s sleeping – and breathing. The main claim: “So realistic you might expect them to wake up when you touch them.” There are two versions: a golden retriever puppy and an orange tabby kitten. The offer includes adoption papers as well as a collar, carrying case and brush. The bonus is a fleece bed, just pay S&H. This is a Blue Moon commercial. www.BuyDreamPets.com
D7 Score: 4 out of 7
Strengths: This item is unqiue, easy to explain and it faces no credibility issues. It is positioned as a pet for people or kids who don't want the responsibility of owning a pet. But I think it will appeal to pet owners who like cutesy pet things: the kind of people who put sweaters on their little dogs or have a collection of painted porcelain cat plates. Luckily, the DRTV audience is likely to have a higher percentage of these people than the general population, since it skews older and female.
Weaknesses: Unluckily, the 'cutesy pet' market is a niche market, so the campaign is only likely to work in a limited way. Also, the item doesn't solve a real problem and it's expensive for DRTV.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 7/20/07,” IMS (1-4); "Vol. XVI, No. 39-B, 07/20/07," Jordan Whitney (5)

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