April 23, 2008

New This Week: The Doorman, Silver Lightning, Kitchen King Pro and more

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! It's my first 7 out of 7 since January, and it’s called The Doorman. More below.

1. THE DOORMAN ($19.95) is a wireless doorbell and intercom system that works like the intercom system in apartment buildings. When someone rings the bell, you can ‘two-way’ them to find out who it is. The main benefit: It “allows you to speak directly to them without having to go to the door, so you can easily find out if the visitor is a welcome guest or an unwelcome solicitor.” There’s even an alarm button for scaring thugs away. The bonus is a generic version of Telebrands’ First Alert magnetic alarms. You get four with your order, just pay S&H. This is a National Express product and a Concepts TV commercial. www.DoorbellTV.com
Product (D7) Score: 7 out of 7!*
Commercial Rating: OK**
This product meets all the criteria for a DRTV hit. It’s a great idea that solves a real problem, especially for older people. I expect it to do well. That said, the creative is just OK, the offer is a bit confusing and the Web site for the product is not optimized for DRTV buyers. If the results are close but not exactly where the marketing team wants them, they should go back and fix these three key areas.

2. SILVER LIGHTNING ($10) is a plate that instantly removes tarnish from silver. You lay it in a sink of hot water and add baking soda. Then, you dump in your tarnished silverware. The pitch: “The electrolytic reaction” removes “even years of tarnish … as quick as lightning with no mess, no chemicals.” The offer includes Jewelry Lightning, a smaller plate for cleaning bracelets and necklaces. The bonus is a second set of both plates free, just pay S&H. This is a Telebrands product. www.SilverLightning.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
This is an “old is gold” item, or in this case an “old is silver” item (I couldn’t resist). It comes from the archives of Telebrands greatest hits, having taken the No. 10 spot on the Jordan Whitney “Top Thirty Direct Response Spots of 1996.” (Historical note: The original spot starred Robin Leach.) So it should be a slam dunk, right? Not necessarily. I see two weaknesses. One, not people many I know use real silver utensils except on special occasions. That means this product doesn’t solve a common, everyday problem (if America is like the people I know). Will people buy this for that rare occasion? That’s the big question. Two, the explanation for how the product works isn’t very credible. Some mention is made of an “electrolytic reaction.” Huh? How does that make a plate that sits in your sink clean tarnish? That said, this product has some great demos, and they may carry the day. As long as people see a need for this, Telebrands will have resurrected another hit.

3. KITCHEN KING PRO ($19.99) is a manual food processor. You load it with ingredients and turn the handle to slice, dice or mince. The pitch: "Prepare food like a master chef." The main offer also includes a non-slip base that suctions to a counter, a whipping/mixing attachment and a salad spinner attachment. The bonuses are a recipe guide and a Mandolin Lid that slices and juliennes (just pay S&H). This is an Ontel product and a Sullivan Productions commercial. www.KitchenKingPro.com
Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
This product is very similar to Billy Mays’ Vidalia Chop It, which I reviewed in March, so my comments are going to be similar. (One point of difference that I like: the suction base.) The main issue I see is that this is a manual device. As I wrote before, I don’t see why consumers would “choose this item over an electric food processor, especially if they’re elderly and have dexterity problems.” This product also has a ton of features, including multiple attachments. Although the Sullivan team did an excellent job of explaining each one, it’s a lot for a 120.

4. BONA HARDWOOD FLOOR MOP ($39.99) is a MicroFiber spray mop for hardwood floors with a built-in floor cleaner cartridge. The main claim: Unlike other floor cleaning products, it "won't streak or leave behind a dulling residue," and it "removes tough, dried on sticky stains quickly and easily." It’s also “environmentally responsible,” featuring something called a “GREENGUARD” certification. This is a Sullivan Productions commercial and a BonaKemi product. BonaKemi is the North American subsidiary of Bona, a Swedish company that specializes in hardwood floors. The spokesman is Lou Manfredini, also known as “Mr. Fix-It.” www.BonaClean.com
Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Excellent!**
This commercial is beautifully done and hits all the right points for DRTV. Kudos to the team at Sullivan Productions. My problems are all with the product. For one, the focus on hardwood floors obviously narrows the market. As I often preach, “DRTV products are advertised using mass media and sold in mass-market retailers, so they must appeal to the broadest demographic possible.” That said, this campaign will likely have a different goal – branding at DR rates – so this probably isn’t a consideration for BonaKemi. Two other problems should be, however. The first is the cost. At $39.99, this product is twice as expensive as most DRTV items. I would have done two payments of $19.99 at a minimum, just to get the lower price point on the screen. The second problem is the number of other hardwood floor solutions on the market. True, this is a much fancier solution with the cleaner built in and a cool Swiffer WetJet spray function. But consumers may just decide the other solutions they’ve purchased are good enough.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 4/18/08,” IMS (1-3); "Vol. XVII, No. 26-B for 4/18/08,” Jordan Whitney (4)

* 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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