May 19, 2008

New This Week: Touch Up & Go, Ora-Brush and Invisible Glass

This week’s three entries have something in common: They each represent an attempt to market a “better than” solution in a category crowded with well-established brands. This is almost always a fool’s errand – in DRTV marketing and marketing in general. Why? Because unless you have a strong point of difference, it’s hard to make a dent. I’ve seen this firsthand. A few years ago, I marketed a shaving product with an innovative twist. The twist was good enough to captivate DRTV buyers, and the product delivered a profitable CPO for a time. But then we entered retail, and it died on the shelf next to some familiar and powerful brands.

1. TOUCH UP & GO ($19.95) is a hair coloring wand specifically for touching up gray or dark roots. The pitch: “It’s like makeup for your hair” and requires “no mixing, no gloves, no water, no mess.” The product comes in six colors and includes a free color refill. The bonus is a 3X magnifying travel mirror. This is a Beauty Quest (division of Fitness Quest) product and a Concepts TV commercial.

Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
I like this product because it solves a real problem in a convenient and innovative way. Looked at in that light, it could do very well on DRTV. But there’s a big “if” here: It will only do well IF women are unaware/unhappy with the current solutions already on the market. As mentioned above, this product is in a crowded category dominated by well-established brands. For example, Clairol sells “Nice 'n Easy Root Touch-Up,” a 10-minute solution, for $7.99 on

2. ORA-BRUSH ($19.95) is an oral-care device for preventing bad breath. You use it to brush your tongue. The main claim: “Tongue scrapers and toothbrushes can’t reach into the pores of the tongue.” This has special bristles that “pull the gunk from your tongue.” The offer includes four brushes. The bonus is two more brushes free, just pay S&H.

Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
This product faces exactly the same challenge as Touch Up & Go. In this case, the dominant brand is Colgate, which now makes a toothbrush with a built-in tongue cleaner ($3.99 on What’s worse, this product doesn’t solve a real problem in my opinion – at least not one that isn’t already being solved by “good enough” solutions (everything from mouthwash to mints). For that reason, it’s unlikely to succeed.

3. INVISIBLE GLASS ($19.95) is an aerosol glass cleaner. The pitch: “Cleans glass so well, you’ll think it’s invisible.” The offer includes three cans. The bonus is three cleaning towels.
Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7*
I think everyone knows the major brand that will eat these guys for lunch: Windex. Moreover, they have no real point of difference against that competitor. Windex has been promoting the “invisible glass” idea for a much longer time with a much bigger ad budget. (A recent ad campaign around that positioning featured talking bird pranksters.) One caveat: I’m not sure I watched the right commercial. The company is also promoting an item identical to Ontel’s Glass Wizard called the Reach & Clean. If that’s the item, they’re second to market with a more expensive solution. Not exactly a recipe for success, either.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 5/16/08,” IMS (1-3)

* 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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