October 30, 2008

New This Week: EZ Combs, EZ Roller, E-Zee Wrap and Sensuair

If you wish life could be easier, then this update is for you. Three of this week's products -- count them, three -- have the word "easy" in their name. Who knew everyday life was so hard?

1. EZ COMBS ($10) are hair-styling accessories. They consist of two combs connected by decorative netting. The pitch: "Transform your hairstyle from ordinary to beautiful in just seconds." The offer includes two units, one in Caramel Bronze and one in Dazzling Silver. The bonuses are a third unit in Classic Bermuda Black, a styling guide and a DVD (just pay S&H). This is a Telebrands product and a Concepts TV commercial. www.BuyEZCombs.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
This is an interesting product that really only has one weakness: It's a fashion item. Such items can be tricky because if people don't like your style, you fail. A rare exception is when the product also solves a problem (I'm thinking of the stylish and practical Aqua Globes), which this product does not. As for the commercial, it communicates clearly and has all the right demos.

2. EZ ROLLER ($19.95) is a paint roller that holds paint and dispenses it as you roll. The pitch: It's "the fastest, easiest way to paint anything without the mess, guaranteed." The offer includes a pour jug. The bonuses are an extension pole and a Trim & Edge Kit, which includes an edging tool and four paint rollers. This is an SAS Group product pitched by Billy Mays. www.BuyEZRoller.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
This is an updated version of IdeaVillage's Ready Roller, originally pitched by none other than guest blogger Anthony Sullivan. Ready Roller was successful on HSN, but it never really took off on DRTV. I know because I worked on the campaign. So I can say with some degree of confidence that this won't work, either. It does have a cool new innovation -- a "quick flow valve" that controls how much paints comes out -- but it won't matter. America has voted. Incidentally, the bonus item is also an IdeaVillage product, this one a hit from 2001 called EdgeMaster.

3. E-ZEE WRAP (2 pay, $19.95) is an automatic plastic wrap dispenser. It mounts under a cabinet and works like those paper towel dispensers in public restrooms. When you rip off a piece, the start of a new piece automatically appears. The pitch: It "guarantees easy starting, and a perfect wrap every time." The offer includes a 500-foot roll of plastic wrap. The bonus is a set of two knives that "will not brown lettuce or scratch bakeware." Then they double the entire offer (just pay additional S&H). www.EZeeWrap.com
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
I see this a lot. Product developers get so caught up in how cool something is, they forget to make sure the product is meeting a real need. Does anyone really have "battles" with their plastic wrap, as this commercial suggests? I seriously doubt it. A second weakness is the price: It's $20 too expensive for DRTV. Technically, a "buy one, get one" offer like this can create the perception that the product is priced right. After all, if two units cost two payments of $19.95, then the real price of one unit is $19.95. The trouble is consumers will realize they have no choice but to spend $40, and that will kill the impulse to buy. For some reason, $20 is easy to spend without thinking, but $40 is not. Better to go one for $19.95, get them on the phone and then try for that second unit. As for the commercial, it effectively utilizes many of the DR techniques. But the low-budget production quality and "retro" music hurts the perception of the product.

4. SENSUAIR (Free Trial) is a four-in-one air purifier. The pitch: It "cleans and purifies the air, is a humidifier, gives you mood lighting and provides aromatherapy." (The mood lighting is provided by built-in lights that rotate through six different colors.) The main claim: It's the "No. 1 selling air purifier in Europe." The offer is for a free 30-day trial, just pay $9.95 S&H. If you keep it, you pay three payments of $19.95. This is a Dynamic Response Group product. www.Sensuair.com

Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good/Excellent**
The market is saturated with air purifiers from well-established brands. On DRTV, the category was red hot just a few years ago, but is now post-peak. So why would anyone enter the market at this time? The reason is what I like to call the "Swiss Army Knife strategy." Sure there are dozens of air purifiers out there, the marketer thinks. But none of them can ALSO humidify, create mood lighting and deliver aromatherapy! Too bad the consumer thinks, Why in the heck would I want all those extra features? As branding expert Laura Ries has explained, these all-in-one devices typically fail because "it is a lot cheaper, easier, better and more efficient to buy different devices for different functions." As for the commercial, it is high end.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 10/24/08,” IMS (1-2); "Vol. XVIII, No. 1-B for 10/24/08,” 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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