November 08, 2007

Commercial Review: Twin Draft Guard

Today I am posting my first complete review of a DRTV commercial.

Quick recap: I decided to start doing this when I realized my weekly report on new items didn't allow me the time or space to analyze interesting commercials. Now, from time to time, I will write a complete commercial review using my Tried & True (T&T) DRTV Techniques as a framework.

For this inaugural review, I've chosen a product that launched last year and is now back on the air for fourth quarter: Twin Draft Guard.

Click play to watch the Twin Draft Guard commercial.

For the record, I think this product is a DRTV winner. I have no way of verifying that yet, but I'll be watching the charts. Why do I think it's a winner? Because it gets a check mark in every one of the seven categories I use to evaluate products.

Now, because other draft guards appear in catalogs all the time, some people will dispute my check in the first category (uniqueness). But I think the "twin" feature of this particular draft guard makes it unique -- as does the way it clings to a door when it's opened or closed.

Some people will also protest that this item is seasonal, and as a result shouldn't be called a "hit" in the traditional sense. For those people, I have two words: Auto Cool. Moreover, this item will sell year after year -- unlike Auto Cool, which died quickly because of negative word-of-mouth.

Moving on to the creative, which was done by Concepts TV, this commercial gets a solid T&T Score of 7 out of 10. Here's why:

The commercial begins with a compelling problem-solution opening (1). A clever graphic of money literally going out the door from wasted energy is shown in conjunction with a credibility-building quote from the US Department of Energy: "Excess air leakage can increase heating and cooling bills by 30%."

From there the commercial moves immediately to a showcase of unique product features and benefits (2). As they explain, Twin Draft Guard features "double-sided insulation," creates an "airtight seal," is "easy to install," "adjusts to any door" and "moves with the door."

This commercial is also loaded with great demos (3). For example, a child is shown installing the product to emphasize how easy it is. One of the best demos is a setup where one side of a door is rigged with party tassles, and a blow dryer is used on the other side. Without the Twin Draft Guard, the tassles dance to show the air is getting right through. But with the Twin Draft Guard in place, the tassles lay perfectly still. Now that's a magic demo!

This demo is also a great way to explain how the product works (4) as well as prove that it works by comparing and contrasting (5). Another good contrast scene is a negative demo of an older woman adjusting a typical "bean bag" style draft guard. Because it just lays there and doesn't move with the door, she has to bend over to reposition it.

Overall, this commercial ensures the viewer will have no questions or objections (6) that haven't been answered by a convincing demo. It also features a solid satisfaction guarantee (7): If it doesn't "lower your energy bills" and "pay for itself the very first month," you can send it back for a full refund.

The Twin Draft Guard commercial isn't perfect, of course. There is definitely some room for improvement here. For one thing, the offer is weak. You get two Twin Draft Guards for $19.99 plus a bonus rack of ceramic, over-the-door hooks. That's $20 for what amounts to two pieces of foam and a bonus that is barely relevant to the product. Dropping the price to $14.99 and finding a better bonus would certainly improve results.

The same goes for adding testimonials or some other form of third-party endorsement to enhance the credibility of the commercial. A great idea would be to feature some kind of study that compared the energy bills of a house before and after Twin Draft Guards were installed. The specific savings shown would also be an excellent way to establish a true value comparison, which is another key technique from the T&T 10 that I felt was missing from this commercial.

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