February 06, 2008

New This Week: SpiBelt, Perfect Pullup, Power Purify and more

In my last report, I covered two items that I think are upcoming hits. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about this report. Despite some interesting pedigrees, this week’s items just don’t have what it takes to make it big. Now, that’s a pretty bold statement considering one item is a line extension of the biggest item of 2007, and another is a knockoff of a surprise 2008 hit. But I stand by the assessment.After reading about these items, feel free to post a comment and let me know if you agree or disagree.

1. SPIBELT ($19.95) is a nylon belt with a built-in zipper pouch for holding Small Personal Items (aka SPI). The pitch: It “can hold an iPod, Blackberry, cell [or] keys,” and “does not bounce, ride or shift while running or doing other activities.” Comes in three colors and two sizes. The offer is buy one, get one free. The product is under the Overton Fitness brand. www.spibelt.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK/Poor**
Comments: Taking its broadest possible usage (a general-purpose utility belt), this item gets a checkmark in every category except “problem solver.” That’s because it only solves a pressing problem for runners. But here’s the Catch 22: If you were to narrow the pitch to hit that target demographic, you wouldn’t be talking to the mass market or the older DRTV buyer any longer. That’s why I think this item is unlikely to succeed on TV. (It also lacks a magic demo or “wow.”) But run a DR print ad in “Runner’s World” and you’d have a different story.

2. STRIKE TRAINER ($19.95) is a striking panel that suctions to the wall and functions like a punching bag. In other words, you use it to do a Billy Blanks-style martial arts workout. The pitch: “Hit to get fit … It’s time to knock out the pounds.” It comes with a wall chart of exercises and a workout DVD. The bonus is two additional workout DVDs. www.striketrainer.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK/Poor**
Comments: The two big problems I see with this item: It doesn’t appeal to older people, and it lacks credibility. No one is going to believe that hitting a foam panel will “carve fat off your abs and love handles,” as the Web site claims.

3. AB RAIL ($14.95 for trial) is yet another device for sculpting your abs. The pitch: It “targets every inch of your abs in one fluid motion.” The offer is for a 30-day trial and includes a workout DVD, guide and meal plan. The bonus is free shipping. www.abraildirect.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments: This is obviously a short-form version of a long-form show. In this format, there isn’t nearly enough to explain the features and benefits of the product. But I imagine it will work well as support for the infomercial and, hey, it has the advantage of being an ab product!

4. SCRAPE IT ($19.95) is a stainless steel device for removing calluses and corns. www.scrapeittv.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments: This commercial features some truly disgusting demos. This product would only appeal to someone with a severe problem. In other words, it’s a gross bomb – and a transparent attempt to cash in on the success of Telebrands’ Ped Egg. (Yes, folks, I will cover anything that appears on DRTV!)

5. STOP FLASH ($19.95) is an oral spray that supposedly stops hot flashes. There’s a daytime formula and a nighttime (PM) formula aimed at stopping night sweats. The offer is for a 30-day supply of the daytime product. The bonus is a 30-day supply of the PM formula. www.stopflash-usa.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments: This product is too niche to work in a big way, but it may appeal to the target demographic – provided they believe an all-natural oral spray will be effective against a problem of this magnitude. The commercial does feature some credible testimonials.

6. PERFECT PULLUP (3 pay, $33) is a next-generation to the Perfect Pushup, the biggest DRTV item of 2007. Like its predecessor, it features rotating handles, this time designed to work in combination with a pull-up bar that fits in a doorway. Actually, it’s pitched as a 3-in-1 device because you can do pull-ups, standing rows and something called an Australian (upside-down) pull-up on it. This is another BodyRev product invented by a Navy SEAL. www.perfectpullup.com
Product (D7) Score: 3 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good/Excellent**
Comments: This product may seem like a natural after the huge success of the Perfect Pushup. But like its predecessor, it suffers from several weaknesses. One, it only appeals to men. Two, it won’t appeal to older people, male or female. And three, it’s expensive for a DRTV product. These shortcomings didn’t seem to matter in the case of the Perfect Pushup, but I think it will matter here. Why? One reason is that while many men may fool themselves into believing they can do a “perfect pushup,” few will delude themselves about doing pull-ups like they show in this commercial. Another reason is that the price is even further outside the DRTV model. Two payments of $19.99 (the Perfect Pushup’s price) is one thing. At least it puts the magic price point (under $20) on screen. But three payments of $33, or essentially $100, is not going to cut it in short form. Finally, this product has a fourth weakness that its predecessor didn’t have: It’s harder to explain. Handles that you use for push-ups? I get it. Handles that you use for pull-ups OR some sort of standing row for your back OR some strange maneuver called an “Australian pull-up”? Huh?

7. POWER PURIFY ($19.95) is a detoxifying foot pad. Like Kinoki Detox Foot Pads, these self-adhesive wonders are supposed to draw the toxins out of your body that you eat, drink and breath – leaving you feeling more energetic and with less health problems. The offer includes 10 pads. The bonuses are a supplement called “Ultra Power Purify,” three health reports and free rush shipping. www.powerpurify.com
Product (D7) Score: 3 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments: This is a knockoff of a sleeper hit that now sits at #14 on the IMS chart. Full disclosure: I never thought Kinoki Foot Pads would work because I couldn’t see the American mass market buying into the whole Japanese mystical healing aspect of the product. I was wrong. People are buying the pads like crazy, although repurchase rates are bound to be low when they discover what the product really is (a plain white bandage and pad that collects sweat and dirt). In any case, this product suffers from the same weaknesses as the original AND misses the boat on the Japanese positioning (at least as far as I could tell from the 60-second spot I watched). Plus, the offer is weaker than Kinoki’s. So I doubt it will even be a strong second in the category.

8. MICHE BAG (2 pay, $29.95) is a designer handbag with removable shells. The shells are held in place by “credit card-safe magnets” and come in different colors and styles. The pitch: “Have a new designer bag for every outfit you own” without the hassle of actually transferring stuff from one bag to the other. It also organizes better than a traditional bag. The offer includes the base bag plus three shells. The bonus is two sets of straps, long and short. www.4miche.com
Product (D7) Score: 3 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments: This is an interesting novelty item, but I think it’s caught in what blogress Laura Ries calls the “mushy middle.” That is, it’s stuck between two clear positioning ideas. On the one side, there are designer bags that appeal to the sort of fashion-conscious woman who would never be caught dead with this no-name “transformer” bag. On the other side, there are functional bags, such as the recent DRTV hit Buxton Bag (#27 on the Jordan Whitney and #46 on the IMS chart). These bags aren’t designer bags by any stretch, but they serve a purpose as they are highly practical. The Miche Bag tries to be both and fails to be either.

9. PLUG-N-POWER ($19.95) is an instant charger for mobile devices. The pitch: Gives you power in seconds and last for three hours on one AA battery. The offer includes a cell phone and iPod adapter. www.trendtimes.com
Product (D7) Score: 3 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK/Poor**
Comments: This product is old news. Even Energizer got into the game with a version at retail that sold for much less than this product.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 1/18/08 (1-3, 7) and 1/25/08 (4-6, 9),” IMS; "Vol. XVII, No. 14-B for 1/25/08,” Jordan Whitney (8)

* 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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