July 11, 2008

New This Week: iCan Health, LivPure and Detail Magic

Not as many new products to write about this week, but the ones I did review stood out -- especially the first two. Both are unique in the DRTV industry (for different reasons), and both are worth watching to see what develops.

1. I-CAN HEALTH (N/A) is a low-cost health insurance provider. The pitch: "Insurance choices you can actually afford." The company offers plans with guaranteed acceptance. Plans start as low as $160 per month for individuals and $270 per month for families. This is an iCan Benefit Group product pitched by Billy Mays. www.iCanBenefit.com

Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
I usually don't review commercials of this sort, but the involvement of Billy Mays caught my attention. Billy has pitched many things over the years, but health insurance is quite a departure for him. I was skeptical at first. But after speaking with Billy, I realized just how passionate he is about this campaign. At the beginning of the commercial, Billy says this is "the most important product I have ever endorsed," and he means it! With some 47 million uninsured Americans out there, it's easy to understand why he's so dedicated to this cause. If the insurance options are really as inexpensive and comprehensive as the commercial promises, I wish him and iCan the best of luck.

2. LIV PURE ($19.99) is a water bottle with a built-in filter. The pitch: "Filters tap water as you drink," so you can "save money and save the planet." It's also designed "to inhibit the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria. "Each filter is good for 500 refills.  The offer includes free replacement filters for a year. The bonus is a second one free. Then they double the replacement filters deal to two years. This is a MEDport product under the Fit & Fresh brand. www.LivePureBottle.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
This is a well done commercial for an interesting product. The hottest trend in marketing these days is "green" marketing. Every major brand and company is trying to capitalize on the hype over global warming by promoting earth-friendly products and services. But the question remains: Does "green" sell? My answer: On its own, probably not. But when combined with a strong primary incentive, such as saving money, my answer changes to "quite possibly." I think a "green" message may be the push that turns prospects into buyers in these cases. So I think these guys hit the nail on the head with their "save money and save the planet" message. However, my instincts also say that the primary problem in this specific case -- money spent on bottled water -- isn't painful enough. In any case, I'll be watching this one closely to see if "Green DRTV" holds any promise!

3. DETAIL MAGIC ($19.99) is a spray for dirty and dull cars. The pitch: "The waterless way to clean, shine and restore -- plus a whole lot more -- in 10 minutes or less." The offer starts with one bottle, which is later super-sized to a 24-oz bottle. The bonuses are two MicroFiber mitts, a 4-oz bottle of anti-fog window cleaner and a 4-oz bottle of leather fragrance spray. At the end, they also offer free MicroFiber cloths for life (just pay separate processing and handling). This is a For Life Products item pitched by Joe McDonnell. www.DetailMagic.tv

Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
This commercial features excellent demonstrations, including several magic demos, and a huge offer. But it also has a few weaknesses. The main one is clarity. The product does so much, it's hard to come away with one clear reason to buy. And the offer, while a great value, is also confusing. There are so many things thrown in, you feel overwhelmed and uncertain of what you're getting in the end. I had to watch the spot a few times to understand that the window cleaner is a spray, not a steam-cleaning device. My confusion arose from the fact that they use a steam iron to demonstrate the effectiveness of the spray. As for the product itself, it's competing in a crowded category loaded with "good enough" solutions from major brand names. That always makes the odds of success lower than average. Credibility is also an issue. It's hard to believe, as the commercial implies, that this can replace washing your car.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 7/4/08,” IMS (3); "Vol. XVII, No. 35-B for 6/27/08,” Jordan Whitney (2)

* 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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