September 17, 2008

New This Week: Iron Gym, Shoes Under, Perfect Patty and more

Now is one of the best times of the year to test DRTV items. That's because it's a "goldilocks" media environment: both media rates and response levels are just right. Not too high and not too low. So if an item tests well now, you know it's for real. Perhaps that's why I'm noticing a consistent run of solid products from experienced players. Here are a few more examples.

1. IRON GYM ($29.99) is a multi-functional exercise bar. It can be used to do pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups and dips. As a pull-up bar, it uses friction to lock onto a doorframe, so there's no installation required. The pitch: "It turns any door into your own personal gym in just seconds." The offer includes a workout guide. The bonus is a pair of hanging ab straps. This is an Ontel product and a LoudMouth TV commercial. www.BuyIronGym.com

Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good/Excellent**
Comments:
This product taps into a short-form trend started by BodyRev: fitness items specifically targeted toward younger men. Like BodyRev's products, this item is priced high for TV. But price doesn't seem to matter as much to this new DRTV demographic, as evidenced by the staggering success of Perfect Pushup (it was the only short-form DRTV item of 2007 that made it onto both annual charts). The commercial also follows a newer formula, forgoing some of the  Tried & True DRTV Techniques in favor of "amping up" its audience with lots of ripped muscles and tough-guy talk. LoudMouth TV's Annika Kielland is one of the best in the business when it comes to this format. I've admired some of her earlier work, and she does an excellent job here again.

2. SHOES UNDER ($9.99) is a shoe organizer and storage solution. It's designed like a dresser drawer with a clear cover that zippers closed, and it has 12 compartments. The pitch: "Keeps 12 pairs of shoes neatly separated, so its easy to find just the right shoes when you need them." The offer is buy one, get one free (just pay separate S&H). This is a TeleBrands product. www.ShoesUnder.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
This is a practical problem solver with a lot of DRTV potential. Historically, this has been a good category for TV. TeleBrands should know: It practically pioneered the category with its Shoes Away product in the 1990s. Today, shoe organizers abound, and that's the only problem I can see with this product: It's entering a crowded category. As for the commercial, it utilizes many of the DRTV techniques and flows well from start to finish. Missing are a good value comparison and a strong satisfaction guarantee, two things that are easy to include and too often overlooked. I would also liked to have seen a contrast with other shoe storage solutions, since this is the main challenge the product faces. However, the offer presents a great value, and that might be more than enough to make this a hit.

3. PERFECT PATTY ($19.99) is a device for making hamburger patties. You put chopped meat into a cylinder, press down with a plunger, insert a divider and repeat until the cylinder is loaded with patties. The pitch: "Just load, press and [it] does the rest. Your hands never touch the meat." The offer includes a set of dividers and an airtight lid for storing the patties in the freezer or a cooler. The bonuses are a measuring scoop, a recipe guide and a smaller version for making mini hamburgers. This is an Eagle Eye product and a Miller Direct commercial. www.PerfectPatty.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
It's awfully late in the grilling season to be introducing this product. Perhaps the marketer is just looking for a read, and plans to reintroduce the item next summer. If that's the plan, and I hope it is, the item has a good shot at working. Besides its seasonality, it has only one real weakness: It doesn't solve a painful problem. Making hamburger patties is a minor inconvenience, and you can buy great hamburger patties pre-made at the supermarket. As for the commercial, it hits all the right points and uses most of the proven DRTV techniques. Miller Direct did solid work again.

4. STEP 'N SHINE (2 pay, $19.99) is a floor mat that illuminates when you step on it. It also sends a wireless signal to additional wireless "puck" lights up to 100 feet away. Stepping again turns the lights off. The pitch: "No wires, no cords and no clapping." The offer includes the Activator Mat, two wireless lights and two light hooks. The bonus is a third light and hook free (just pay S&H). www.StepNShine.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
Cut the price in half and go back in time a few years, and this item would be a major hit. But today, at twice the recommended price for a short-form DRTV item, this product doesn't have a chance. That's because the wireless lighting category is saturated with solutions that have been all over DRTV. And I do mean saturated: Of the top five players in the short-form DRTV industry, four have successful lighting solutions on the market! (In case you're wondering, the product names are Handy Switch, Stick Up Bulb, Stick 'N Click and Quik-Brite.) This innovative product tops them all, but it won't matter. "Better than" products seldom work on DRTV. Being perceived as new and unique is much more important. Just ask the half dozen companies who have tried and failed to market wireless lighting solutions since the big boys launched theirs. As for the commercial, it's well produced, easy to understand and makes good use of testimonials. With the exception of the price, the offer is also strong.

5. ECO CANTEEN ($9.99) is a stainless steel water bottle. The pitch: “Save money, save the environment and protect your family’s health” by filling this with tap water instead of buying bottled water. The pitch: Plastic bottles can "leach toxins into the water your drink," and 80% are "never recycled ... lasting over 700 years in landfills." The offer is for one 26-oz bottle. The bonus is a tote that goes over the bottle and keeps beverages cold (just pay P&H). www.EcoCanteen.com

Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
This product isn't unique or right for the mass market, and it doesn't solve a perceived problem. Most people are more than happy with their bottled water, as evidenced by the continued strong sales in the category. As for the commercial, it misses many of the DRTV techniques and starts off with two problems that aren't going to resonate with most viewers. Toxic water bottles? Far fetched and, as the saying goes, "prevention doesn't sell." Saving the environment from discarded bottles? As I explained in an earlier post on "green" marketing, studies show most consumers aren't motivated by environmental concerns. That said, the commercial isn't bad. There just wasn't a lot to work with here.

 

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 9/5/08,” IMS (2); "Vol. XVII, No. 44-B for 9/5/08,” Jordan Whitney (1, 5); "Vol. XVII, No. 45-B for 9/12/08,” Jordan Whitney (3-4)

* 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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