January 04, 2008

Rounding Out the Year

A new year is here, but I still owe everyone an update on the new items that were launched during the last few weeks of the year. Below is a summary report to bring everyone up to date.

My next report will cover the first official new items of 2008.

1. LINT WIZARD PRO ($14.99) is a self-cleaning lint brush. When it gets full, you flick a side lever to clean it. The lint or pet hair goes into an internal reservoir that can be emptied later. The offer includes a mini version of the product. The bonus is the Fuzz Wizard, a battery-powered device for shaving the fuzz off sweaters, etc. This is an Ontel product and a Blue Moon Studios commercial. www.LintWizardPro.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Excellent**

Comments: This item has only one weakness: It doesn’t solve a painful problem. As such, it may be one of those items that people think is neat, but not neat enough to buy. Otherwise, I think it’s great. I give it high marks in every other category, and the commercial is what I have come to expect from Blue Moon Studios: first-rate work.

2. CALTRAP ($29.95) is a powder you put on food to reduce its caloric impact. The main claim: Sprinkle it on the foods you love (pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs), and it removes “up to 25% of the calories" without changing “the taste or texture” of the food. The offer is for a 30-day supply and includes seven “on the go” packets. The bonus is double the offer. www.MyCalTrap.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Excellent**
Comments: Here’s another great commercial featuring a product with one main weakness. In this case, it’s believability. I’m not talking about the diet claims. Akavar is the hottest diet product in the country despite its claim that you can “eat all you want and still lose weight.” Wild claims do not seem to be a problem in this category. What I’m talking about is the claim that the powder won’t change the taste or texture of food. I don’t think people will buy it (figuratively and literally).

3. SIX SHOOTER ($19.99) is a cordless electric screwdriver with a revolving cylinder that holds six different bits. The main claim: It’s like “having a toolbox right at your fingertips.” The offer includes a second cylinder loaded with mini bits. The bonus is the Laser Straight laser leveler, just pay S&H. This is an IdeaVillage product and a Sullivan Productions commercial starring Billy Mays. www.GetSixShooter.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating:
Excellent**
Comments: I won’t write much about this one since it’s my project. To be fair, I should mention that the product has a weakness in the credibility category. Some people are going to doubt that a $20 screwdriver is powerful enough for their needs.

4. DRAIN CLAW (2 pay, $9.99) is a tool for clearing clogged drains. It features a long “snake” and a trigger handle. You feed the snake into the drain, squeeze the trigger to grab the clog and then pull it out. The bonus is a second one free, just pay S&H. This is a Telebrands product and a Sullivan Productions commercial starring Anthony Sullivan. www.DrainClaw.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Excellent**

Comments: This is another well done commercial from Sully, but I question whether the product will sell. In my opinion, it isn’t unique enough (handheld drain snakes are easy to find) and it lacks credibility.

5. HELP NOW BUTTON (Free, $9.99 S&H) is an emergency call button that connects wirelessly to your regular phone. Stick it anywhere, press the button and it connects you to your local 911 emergency service. The offer is for a free 30-day trial (just pay $9.99 S&H). The bonus is a wrist strap. This is a Telebrands product and a Blue Moon Studios commercial. www.HelpNowButton.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
Ever since I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! entered the American lexicon in the 1980s (courtesy of LifeCall), this has been a popular idea. The problem has always been the cost of the service, but with modern technology that cost can now be reduced or eliminated. Still, this product faces some challenges. For one, the actual price is hidden to the consumer, which will hurt sales. People won’t know if it’s actually cheaper than a service. Two, the idea really isn’t mass market, even though Telebrands and Blue Moon worked hard to make it seem like it is. It’s really only for seniors. Putting this in a kid’s room, to pick another example from the spot, is only a good idea if you’re a single mother who wants to see that handsome local cop on your doorstep several times a week!

6. BIONIC BLADE ($19.95) is a cordless power knife under the One Touch brand. The main claim: “At the press of a button, the dual blades move back and forth at a rate of 2,000 cycles per minute allowing it to power through the toughest meats, fruits or vegetables.” The bonus is a styling knife. This is an ARM product. www.OneTouchBlade.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
The Sonic Blade has been a successful infomercial despite its high $100 price point. So an inexpensive version of the product marketed using short form is a good idea. However, this approach is also a two-edged sword. If this is a limited market, the Sonic Blade has probably already captured the lion’s share. And there’s also the danger that people will think this is a cheap knockoff, which will cause them to doubt it works as advertised.

7. SNAP-N-SLICE ($19.95) is a handheld kitchen chopper and slicer. The offer includes two blade attachments (thin and thick), plus a recipe guide. The bonus is a six-slice wedger, just pay S&H. www.SnapNSlice.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
This product is essentially a handheld version of the Vidalia Chop Wizard, one of the big DRTV hits of 2007. But it’s unlikely to succeed because it offers few advantages over the competition. It’s the same price, does less and is harder on the hands (a drawback for the older DRTV buyer).

8. X-LITE ($19.95) is a hands-free LED flashlight that fits over the ear like a Bluetooth headset. The pitch: It’s “the fast, easy way to put light exactly where you need it.” The offer is buy one, get one free. The bonus is a keychain light. www.XLiteTVOffer.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
This product is unlikely to succeed because it’s too “techy” for the older DRTV consumer, and most younger consumers will probably think it looks dorky. Some of the proposed uses in the commercial are truly hilarious!

9. VACU-SEAL ($29.99) is a handheld vacuum sealer for food storage bags. It comes with heavy-duty freezer bags that have a built-in valve. You put the food in the bag, close it, attach the sealer to the valve, and suck out all the air. The sealer is battery-powered and rechargeable. The offer includes three medium bags, two large bags and six AA batteries. This is a Pack Mate brand product. www.Vacu-Seal.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
Vacuum sealing was a red hot DRTV category a few years ago, and this product would have been a great idea back then. But now, the market is saturated with similar solutions at every conceivable price point.

10. QUANTUM REACH ($19.95) is a combination broom, mop and duster in one tool with a flexible head and an extra-long handle. The pitch: “Replaces all your brooms, mops and dusters.” The offer includes three microfiber pads. The bonus is an unlimited supply of additional microfiber pads, just pay S&H. No URL
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
This is one of those ‘Swiss Army knife’ products that ends up doing no one job particularly well. It’s also difficult to understand what it does in a two-minute format. Plus, the commercial calls it a “four-in-one” solution, but it only replaces three cleaning tools as far as I can tell.

11. DEVA FUSER ($29.95) is a hair dryer attachment that looks like a giant hand. The pitch: The “360 degree airflow will have you out the door in half the time.” The offer includes two adapters and an instructional DVD. The bonus is a moisture-lock finishing spray. This is a DevaCurl product pitched by Lorraine Massey, the author of Curly Girl. www.BuyDevaFuser.com
Product (D7) Score: 3 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
This campaign faces several challenges, not the least of which is that the product looks silly. With enough explanation, the marketers might be able to get past that, but short form does not allow enough time.

12. MAGIC JACK (Free Trial/$39.95/$19.95) is a device for turning your regular phone into a VOIP phone. The pitch: “Never pay a monthly phone bill again.” The offer is to try it for 30 days, then pay $39.95. The annual service fee is $19.95. www.MagicJack.com
Product (D7) Score: 2 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
I am very familiar with this product since I worked on the marketing strategy when it was in the prototype phase. The relationship with the inventor eventually fell apart, and I had nothing to do with this commercial. But my thoughts on the product remain the same: It’s a tough sell on DRTV. As a lead-gen campaign, it could work (provided they fixed the confusing offer, which mentions three different price points). As a pure-play DRTV campaign, it will likely fail. That’s because the DRTV buyer is older, less tech savvy and less trusting of new technologies in general.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 12/14/07, 12/21/07 and 12/28/07,” IMS (1-2, 6-9, 11-12); "Vol. XVII, No. 9-B and 11-B for 12/14/07 and 12/28/07,” Jordan Whitney (3-5, 10)

* See my July 24, 2007 post for a complete explanation of the D7 product score.
** See my October 22, 2007 post for a complete explanation of my commercial rating system.

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