November 14, 2008

New This Week: WOW Containers, Miracle Dry Foam, Aeropedic and more

After a few lean weeks around election time, the stream of new items continues. These days, in fact, it seems the DRTV players are testing any new item they can get their hands on. This makes sense. Ours is perhaps the only industry that thrives on economic disaster. That's because our products are at the value end ($19.99 or less), which is exactly where consumers flee when times get tough. Additionally, we buy leftover media at bargain prices. In a down economy, advertising is the first expense to go. In other words, there are lots of leftovers these days!

1. WOW CONTAINERS ($14.99) are interchangeable food storage containers. All the containers are also lids, so you can use each piece as a bottom or a top. The pitch: "You can mix and match, so there's always room to store more." They also nest for easy storage. The offer is for 20 containers of varying sizes. The bonus is a second set free (just pay S&H). This is a Tristar product. www.WowContainers.com
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
This is a great product for DRTV. It meets almost all of my criteria. The only reason I didn't give it a perfect score: There's been a glut of innovative food storage containers in recent years. I've seen containers with locking lids to preserve freshness and prevents spills. I've seen containers infused with a special substance that keeps fruits and vegetables fresh. I've even seen containers that store flat and pop open when you need them. And that's just to name a few. Still, this product solves different problems than those products and is practical enough to sell well. As for the commercial, it gets the demos right but misses a few of the tried-and-true techniques. However, the demos are compelling and probably enough to carry the day.  

2. MIRACLE DRY FOAM (£9.99) is a carpet cleaning solution. The main claim: "Dirt and stains are dissolved and lifted out to dry as crystals," so you can "simply vacuum the crystals away." The offer is for one bottle of the foaming shampoo and includes a special applicator. This is a JML Direct product. www.MiracleDryFoam.com

Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
I was only able to view the British version of this commercial and Web site, but a U.S. version is running here in the States. I'll assume the commercials are similar. If so, the commercial is lacking. The demos look like work and aren't very impressive. In fact, the most amazing demo is how much foam the product produces, but that's just a gimmick that could be replicated with detergent. As for the product, it has quite a few strengths -- enough to get a 5 out of 7 rating. But I doubt it will be successful here because it isn't different enough, and the category is so crowded with name brands.

3. FRIIS COFFEE SAVOR ($24.95) is a canister for keeping coffee fresh. The pitch: It "blocks out light and air to seal in flavor" while the "Freshness Valve vents away trapped CO2 gas created during the roasting process." This is a Friis brand product. www.FriisCoffee.com

Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
This is a quality product that coffee aficionados will appreciate. But it's horribly wrong for DRTV. I suspect Friis is simply using the commercial to support its brand at DR rates. Because if they are hoping for a payout, they aren't going to get one. First, the product doesn't solve a common problem. People get by fine with their sub-optimal coffee. Many even drink instant coffee, a practice that would surely horrify the executives at Friis. Second, the price of the product is $5 too high for DRTV, and there is no bonus. Both problems are fatal. As for the commercial, it's a quality production done by someone who has no idea what DRTV is all about. But again, I doubt Friis is looking for anything other than brand advertising on the cheap.

4. AEROPEDIC (Free Trial) is an adjustable mattress topper. It consists of two inches of memory foam on top of an air-filled chamber that can be made firmer or softer using a control. The pitch: "Now you can get a great night's sleep and wake up refreshed at a fraction of the cost" of "high-end memory foam or adjustable beds." The offer is for a free 14-day trial after which they bill four payments of $49.95 (for a twin size). This is a Dynamic Response Group product. www.Aeropedic.com

Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments:
This is an odd approach to a free-trial offer because they actually reveal how much the product will ultimately cost -- and it ain't cheap! With shipping, the twin size is more than $200. And the queen size is close to $350. Those prices undermine the premise of the product. You're supposed to buy this because you can't afford a fancy adjustable bed or memory foam mattress. But most people can't afford this mattress topper, either. It certainly isn't an impulse purchase. As for the commercial, it communicates well but is ultimately lacking because of the nature of the product. After all, it's hard to make sleeping seem exciting, and how do you demo a mattress product in a visually compelling way? Actually, Tempur-Pedic figured it out. Their wine glass demo is so good, it has become part of the popular culture. You can check it out here. Or see if you can catch Jim Carrey doing it in this trailer for his new movie.

5. BUMPITS ($19.99) are hair-volumizing inserts. The pitch: They "give you instant volume" and make you feel "like you just stepped out of a professional salon." The offer is for two inserts. The bonus is two mini inserts plus a third "Hollywood" insert (just pay S&H). www.Bumpits.com

Product (D7) Score: 3 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments:
Hair products have a mixed history on DRTV. I've seen many more failures than successes. One reason is that style is involved, and it's difficult to create a product that appeals to everyone's tastes. A case in point: This product gives you "high hair." While that might be a popular style in my home state of New Jersey, I'm not sure it's as popular in the rest of the country. Hair products also tend to appeal to a younger demographic, and we know that DRTV buyers tend to skew older. This product also has several other weaknesses. It doesn't really solve a problem (again, unless you come from NJ). It's also expensive as hair clips go. And it has a credibility problem because the hair styles they show are obviously done by a professional. As for the commercial, it does a good job of showcasing the different looks you can get with the product, but misses most of the other DRTV fundamentals.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 11/14/08,” IMS (1-4); "Vol. XVIII, No. 4-B for 11/14/08,” Jordan Whitney (5)

* 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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