April 22, 2008

Five Bona-Fide Hits: Buxton Bag, Mighty Putty, Sham Wow and more

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these posts. Technically, I’m supposed to do it every 90 days, but my last post was October of last year! So for this update, I’m going to skip ahead and cover the last 90 days.

That is, I’m about to identify five items that I consider bona-fide hits because they’ve been on one of the short-form charts for the last three months, and have made at least a few appearances on the other chart. (More on this methodology here.)

Here are the verified hits, followed by my predictions for each one:

  1. Buxton Bag
  2. Kinoki Foot Pads
  3. Mighty Putty
  4. Dr. Frank’s Pet Pain Spray
  5. Sham Wow

1. Buxton Bag - I gave this bag for the highly organized a 6 out of 7. “It features a solid problem opening, compelling demos and a classic value comparison,” I wrote. “If women like the product, this one should be a hit.”

2. Kinoki Foot Pads – I didn’t give this product a rating, but I did write some brief comments when it first came out: “They use Japanese reflexology as an explanation in their pitch, something that lacks credibility with the American mass market,” I wrote. I guess I was wrong. Kinoki Foot Pads are selling like crazy. But the credibility problem has hurt them. Try searching the brand name on Google and you’ll see more scam reports than product sites. ABC’s 20/20 even did an expose, although I think it was unfair and unbalanced.

3. Mighty Putty – Ouch. This is a big one that I called incorrectly. I gave it a 4 out of 7. “It’s an interesting product, but the marketing team needs to go back to the drawing board on what will motivate consumers to purchase it,” I wrote. Apparently not. One of my criticisms was that the product was shown solving “unusual and infrequent problems” in the original commercial. The marketing team later fixed this, adding more everyday uses. Another criticism was that the “magic demo” – Mighty Putty pulling a tractor trailer – was “off-the-charts unbelievable.” As I’ve mentioned before, it’s hard to tell what DR viewers will find credible, and I totally misread this one. In fact, the commercial’s producer, John Miller of Miller Direct, has taken the magic demo to the next level. I’ve learned quite a bit from him in recent weeks.

4. Dr. Frank’s Pet Pain Spray ­– I predicted that this item would be a winner, giving it a 6 out of 7. “This product has one major limitation: It's only for people with older dogs & cats,” I wrote. “That said, a Telebrands product targeting the same market ... did very well last year.”

5. Sham Wow - I loved the commercial for this super-absorbent shammy cloth the moment I saw it, and I gave the product a 6 out of 7. “This spot is true to the roots of DRTV,” I wrote. “[T]his product is likely to be a hit and take market share from Zorbeez.”

Several other items popped up on my radar, but they were either too new, appeared and disappeared (Magic Jack, Save-A-Blade) or only appeared on one list (Aqua Globes, Smart Lidz). During the next 90 days, I’ll keep an eye on these items and see if they cross over – or disappear.

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