April 15, 2008

New This Week: Open It!, LayBack and Insta-Drain Tiles

Despite poor response levels, several people are going for it. Either that, or I’m seeing commercials that launched earlier for the first time. In any case, this week three spots caught my eye.

1. OPEN IT! ($9.99) is a multi-purpose tool for opening packages. It looks like a pair of orange shears and has angular cutting heads designed to open clamshells and other plastic packaging easily. Inside the handle, there’s also a slide-lock utility knife for cutting packaging tape and plastic ties, and a flip-out screwdriver for products that are secured to the package with a screw. The pitch: “You’ll always have the right tool to open any kind of package.” The offer is buy one, get one free. www.BuyOpenIt.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
I guess it’s commonly believed that “the third time’s the charm” because here again is a third-to-market product trying to make it on DRTV. Allstar’s Package Shark, a clamshell opener only, was the first to market and met with some success. A set of five products collectively called Open Smart launched the following year and failed to take off on DRTV. Now comes the Swiss Army Knife version of this idea, which is unlikely to succeed unless people think it’s different enough. That said, I think it has the strongest perceived value of the three, value being a major hurdle the others had to overcome.

2. LAYBACK (2 pay, $9.99) is a curved device for stretching out your back. All you do is place it on the floor and “lay back.” As the commercial says, “gravity does the rest.” The main claim: It “gently restores the natural curvature of your spine,” giving you “back relief in just five minutes.” The offer is buy one, get one free. This is a TeleBrands product and a Sullivan Productions commercial. www.BuyLayBack.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
Several products have enjoyed DRTV success in this category, and back pain is clearly a mass-market problem. But will this product be perceived as a good solution for that problem? I doubt it. Moreover, if this product does solve the back-pain problem, wouldn’t anything that supports the arch of your back do the same thing? As for the commercial, it hits the right points (albeit with audio effects that sound a little like a porn soundtrack), but ultimately it’s difficult to make something that lays on the floor visually exciting.

3. INSTA-DRAIN TILES ($19.95) are no-slip tiles that snap together to create outdoor walkways and patios. The pitch: They “give you the beautiful look of stone” but also “let water drain through them, leaving no puddles.” They’re specifically aimed at areas where mud usually gathers. The offer is for six tiles. There’s no bonus, but the commercial promises that “the more sets you buy, the more you’ll save.” www.InstaDrainTiles.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
This is a good product for DRTV that meets many of the criteria. For one, it’s truly unique – unlike anything people have seen before. It also solves a real problem: Having to walk in mud to get to certain parts of your property. However, I have two issues with this product that I think will ultimately limit its appeal. One is the offer. People who would otherwise want this are going to take pause when they realize six tiles aren’t nearly enough for the job they want to do, and the vague promise of a special discount on additional tiles won’t be enough to get them to call. The other issue is the appearance of the product. Although the commercial does its best, I think people will see through the “beautiful look of stone” claim and realize this is some kind of inexpensive plastic they don’t want on display in their yard. For many, the practical benefits of the product will be sufficient to overcome this barrier. But for others, that will kill the sale.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 4/11/08,” IMS (1); "Vol. XVII, No. 25-B for 4/11/08,” Jordan Whitney (2-3)

* 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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