October 22, 2008

JUMBO UPDATE! Samurai Peeler, Smooth Away, Sheer Skin and Nine Other New Items

It's been a long time since I published an update, and my inbox is full of new items. To catch up, this week's entry has been "super sized," featuring reviews of a whopping 12 items. I apologize in advance for the length. To make up for it, I'm leading with what I believe are the next three DRTV hits.


1. SAMURAI SPEED PEELER ($9.99) is a high-end peeler that also slices and grates. It's specially design to peel in both directions. The pitch: "Peel it, shred it and shave it in half the time." The offer includes a snap-on attachment that turns the peeler into a Mandolin slicer. The bonus is the Samurai Julienne cutter. This is an SAS Group product pitched by Chef Tony Notaro. www.SamuraiPeeler.com
Product (D7) Score: 7 out of 7!*
Commercial Rating: Excellent!**
Comments:
This is the same item as Tristar's Titan Peeler. It works the same way and does all the same things. So why did I give the Titan Peeler a 5 out of 7 and this a 7 out of 7? The commercial. When I reviewed the Titan Peeler back in August, I admitted that "I'm still not quite sure how it works or what it can do." That was because of the commercial. But now Chef Tony and the producer of this commercial have answered my questions. I get it, and I like it a lot. I also now understand that it solves a real problem. A reader named Kelly did try to explain the Titan Peeler to me. "What it does is peel," Kelly wrote. "What part of that is confusing?" But that's not it at all. Peelers are a commodity item, and at least one is sitting in every person's kitchen drawer. What makes this item different is it peels in both directions and has a handle that's perpendicular to the blades, which dramatically reduces peeling time (hence the "speed peeler" name). As for the commercial, I can't say enough about it. The contrast scene with a regular peeler is excellent. The magic demo (peeling a block of wood) is inspired (albeit by the Titan Peeler commercial). And using slow-motion to reinforce the speed idea, instead of just having Chef Tony peel more slowly, is pure genius. A sure-fire hit.


2. SMOOTH AWAY ($14.99) is a mildly abrasive pad that buffs away body and facial hair. The pitch: "Smooth away unwanted hair in moments and exfoliate at the same time." The offer is for one large Smooth Away (for legs and body hair) with four pads, and one small Smooth Away (for facial hair) with four pads. The bonus is a second set free (just pay S&H). This is an IdeaVillage product and a Mark Olson commercial. www.GetSmoothAway.com

Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
The hair-removal category has always been a hot category and, as the success of Epilady demonstrated years ago, women are willing to try anything to make the process easier. "Painless" also emerged as a key benefit in the early part of this decade, as evidenced by the monster success of IdeaVillage's Finishing Touch. Now IdeaVillage has done it again, introducing the next hit in this category. (Full disclosure: I worked on this campaign.) The only weakness I see is the inability of TV to convey that this is a credible solution. When you see the demo live, you believe. But can a commercial generate the same effect? Of course, at $14.99 women may simply buy it to try it and, once they see that it works for themselves, buy it again. Another definite winner.


3. SHEER SKIN ($14.99) is an abrasive pad that buffs away body and facial hair. The pitch: It's "the all-over body hair removal system that's completely pain free." The offer is for five large exfoliating pads and five "petite" pads with a storage pouch included. The bonus is a second set free (just pay S&H). This is a Tristar product. www.BuySheerSkin.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good/Excellent**
Comments:
It happens all the time: Two smart DRTV marketers discover an item at the same time and launch campaigns within weeks or days of each other. Such is this case with this product. This product and commercial are every bit as good as IdeaVillage's. In fact, I think the commercial is better -- although Smooth Away does a better job of presenting the offer. It will be interesting to see who can make the most of this hot item.


4. SUPER SLIM WALLET ($10) is an ultra-thin wallet for women . The pitch: It's "only half an inch thin," yet it can "hold up to 50 common items that you carry in your current wallet." The offer is for one wallet in classic black and includes an attachable "Sure Safe Strap." The bonus is a second wallet in red, also including a strap (just pay S&H). This is a Telebrands product. www.SuperSlimWallet.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
This product is a female version of Ontel's Slim Clip, a DRTV success story. As perfectly positioned toward men as Slim Clip is, this item is perfectly positioned toward women. (Full disclosure: I helped launch the Slim Clip campaign.) As for the commercial, it borrows heavily from both the Slim Clip and Buxton Bag commercials. But as they say: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."


5. WONDER HANGERS ($9.99) are closet space-saving devices. They hold five hangers and then fold down vertically to save space. The pitch: "Guaranteed to triple your closet space for neat, wrinkle-free clothes." The offer includes five units, or enough to hang 25 garments. The bonuses are two Bend A Hangers (just pay P&H), foam hangers that bend into any shape, and an Ultra Bright Light (stick-up light) with five LEDs (just pay P&H). Then they double the entire offer. This is a Hampton Direct product and a Concepts TV commercial. www.WonderHangers.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
This is an "old is gold" item from 1989. Back then it was called "Magic Hangers," and Telebrands sold 40 million units, according to Response magazine (links to a PDF). Today, the closet space-saving category is much more crowded with solutions, so the item won't do nearly as well. This includes recent TV items, such as Joy Mangano's Huggable Hangers, which are touted as a way to "double, triple, even quadruple your closet space." That said, I like the product and the offer. The addition of the foam hangers (a hot catalog item) and the LED stick-up lights gives this better odds of success. As for the commercial, it does a solid job of setting up the problem, demonstrating the product and showing the end result.


6. PET ZOOM NAIL GROOM ($19.95) is a tool for filing down a pet's nails. It features a stainless steel buffing disc with a protective nail guard. The bonus is a "Comb and Cut" brush with two free blades. This is an Emson product. www.PetZoomNailGroom.com

Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
This is another attempt to capitalize on a red-hot idea first introduced by the Peticure people and now dominated by Telebrands' Pedi-Paws. In July, I predicted Pedi-Paws would take over this category, and it seems my prediction was correct. Good news for Telebrands; bad news for Emson. They will find it difficult to compete with Telebrands on TV, and they will have absolutely no shot at major retail, which means their advertising will simply support Pedi-Paws retail sales. Incidentally, it seems PetZoom is destined to be a "me too" brand. The original PetZoom product, a self-cleaning pet brush, was third to market after IdeaVillage's Pet Groom Pro (which also generated ions) and Billy Mays' Petsy Brush.


7. CLOSER LOOK ($14.99) is a pair of magnifying glasses with one lens that flips from eye to eye. The reason: So you can apply makeup to the uncovered eye while being able to see with the other. The pitch: "Allows you to see clearly for perfect makeup application." The offer
includes a quick-dry hair wrap. The bonus is a lighted compact mirror and a pair of lighted tweezers. This is an IdeaVillage product and a Concepts TV commercial. www.BuyCloserLook.com

Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
This is a great item perfectly targeted toward an aging demographic. (Full disclosure: I worked on this campaign.) Its only weakness is the size of that demographic. DRTV items work best when they have the broadest possible appeal. Restricting the market to older women and/or women with vision problems reduces the odds of success. As for the commercial, it's a little too young and the music a bit too "clubby" for my liking. However, the product demonstrations are solid and you get what this does. Should be a hit.


8. BIG BOSS GRILL (2 pay, $19.95) is a countertop grill with four sets of interchangeable grilling plates. The pitch: "Goes from grill to griddle to waffle iron to sandwich maker quickly and easily." The bonus is a recipe guide. This is an Emson product and a Hot Spots TV commercial. No URL

Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
This is an interesting product that could have a shot on DRTV -- if only it were half the price. I also question whether it solves a real problem. That's the trouble with combination products: They solve the problem of having to buy and store multiple things, but most people already own those multiple things, so they've already spent the money and figured out the storage issues. You have to hope you're catching them at a time when they're in the market for a new thing, and that they will buy your item because it does more.


9. DETECT ($14.95) is a cat litter additive that detects illness. The pitch: Spread it on top of any cat litter and the "color-changing technology" helps you recognize "if your cat has one or more of the most common feline health problems." These problems include bladder,  kidney and liver diseases. The offer is for one bag. The bonus is a second bag free (just pay S&P) and a DVD for cats called the "Couch Potato Kitty DVD." This is a Vertical Branding product. www.BuyDetect.com

Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
The pet category is a double-edged sword for DRTV marketers. On the one hand, it comes with a highly responsive audience that tends to view their pets like their children. That means pet items start with higher-than-average odds of success. On the other hand, the pet category is still a niche category, especially if you target a specific animal (e.g. cats only instead of cats and dogs). That lowers the odds of success because your potential customer base is much smaller than average. This item is also handicapped by the fact that it's trying to sell "early detection," which is just another way of saying "prevention." And prevention doesn't sell, whether it be for humans or for pets. The reason: DRTV items are purchased on impulse, and there is no impulse to buy something that might happen in the future. Impulse items, by definition, must meet an immediate need.


10. SUPER SHEARS ($14.99) are serrated kitchens shears. The pitch: "They cut like a gourmet knife, but are as easy to use as a pair of scissors." The offer is for one pair. The bonus is Handy Shears, a similar item for jobs outside of the kitchen. This is an IdeaVillage product pitched by Chef Tony Notaro, and a Blue Moon Studios commercial. www.GetSuperShears.com

Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
This item is lacking in several key areas. First, it isn't unique enough. To me, it looks like the dozens of other kitchen shears on the market. Second, it doesn't seem to solve a problem that isn't already being solved by other kitchen shears. Third, the claims being made aren't very credible. For example, there is no reason to believe these shears cut better than any other pair of kitchen shears, let alone like a gourmet knife. As for the commercial, it features Blue Moon production quality, which is always a plus. However, I think the creative could have done a much better job of selling the product, despite its flaws. Part of the reason the item looks so ordinary is that the commercial doesn't do much to make it look extraordinary.


11. KID KLEEN SYSTEM ($29.95) is a set of bath toys. The primary items are the Bath Blizzard, a bathtub bubble generator, and "dough" soap, which is soap kids can "squeeze, roll cut and shape." The pitch: "Now getting clean can be as much fun as getting dirty." The offer includes a bottle of bubble bath, and cookie cutter molds and an extruder for the soap. This is a Spin Direct product and a Miller Direct commercial. www.BuyKidKleen.com
Comments:
I'm going to stop rating these products and commercials using my traditional criteria, since I believe the kids' category has its own set of criteria (and, frankly, I'm not completely sure what they are). However, I will continue to monitor these items for research purposes -- and to highlight the excellent work of Spin Direct and Miller Direct. Based on the sheer volume and variety of commercials they are putting out, they have obviously found a DRTV niche here that no one else has been able to exploit as successfully or consistently. Whenever this happens (as it did with BodyRev and men's fitness), I like to shut up, pay attention and learn.


12. FLUBBY ($9.99) is bouncing putty for kids. The pitch: It's the "funny putty you grab, shape and bounce." It also picks up images from paper. The offer is for four buckets in red, blue and glow-in-the-dark green and yellow. The bonus is four additional buckets in purple, white and glow-in-the-dark orange and pink (just pay P&H). This is an SAS Group product. www.BuyFlubby.com
Comments:
Speaking of learning, it seems SAS Group has done exactly that. This is an excellent product for kids, and so well done I expected it to come from Spin Direct. There's even a smart appeal to parents that reminds them of a true "old is gold" item: Silly Putty.


Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 10/3/08,” IMS (1); “New Spots for Week Ending 10/10/08,” IMS (9, 12); “New Spots for Week Ending 10/17/08,” IMS (4, 10); "Vol. XVII, No. 45-B for 9/12/08,” Jordan Whitney (2); "Vol. XVII, No. 48-B for 10/3/08,” Jordan Whitney (5-6, 11); "Vol. XVII, No. 49-B for 10/10/08,” Jordan Whitney (7-8); "Vol. XVII, No. 50-B for 10/17/08,” Jordan Whitney (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.

2 comments:

  1. The SuperSlimWallet is a complete rip-off.
    Did you try it before endorsing it ?
    There is NO way it will hold multiple credit-card type cards. It has a driver's license slot and TWO slot for other cards. I tried - I can NOT get my other gas and grocery store cards to fit in the pouch area behind the card slots at all. So, forget finding room for my insurance cards and 2 pics of my kids. I was ready to believe in this little miracle product, but it is bogus. And I stupidly fell for it. I would put my name on these comments but I only have a work email addr and it is not allowed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Samuri Peeler broke in half peeling potatoes.
    When I called them, too late, only 30 days warranty.
    Xmas present gone down the tubes.

    ReplyDelete