February 02, 2009

Review: Earth Brite

Description: All-purpose "green" cleaner
Main Pitch: "Eco-friendly ... [it] cleans, polishes and protects for a spotless shine"
Main Offer: $14.95 for one tub with sponge
Bonus: Second tub with sponge for just $5
Marketer: National Express
Producer: Unknown
Website: www.EarthBriteTV.com

Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7
Commercial Rating: OK

"Green" products are all the rage these days. But as I've reported in the past, the research indicates there's a trick to making such products sell. In a nutshell: Most people don't care enough about the environment to buy a "lesser than" or "equal to" solution. Rather, the product must be "better than" its non-green alternative in some key way.

This commercial failed to convince me that the product has this essential quality. There are no comparisons in the commercial, and while the spot is full of visually compelling demos, they've all been done before.  

It's possible that this product has what it takes to be successful. However, based on what I saw in the commercial, I can only conclude that it doesn't. Moreover, it comes in an odd form similar to car wax. As a result, it faces the inherent credibility challenges that come along with such new forms. Giving the "wax" a strong reason for being might have helped, but here again the commercial fell short.

The one thing I did find praiseworthy in this creative was the unique approach to the offer. It's commonly believed that a bonus item must be free, or rather "free just pay separate S&H," to be effective. Additional S&H has become the new standard because marketers have upped the ante on offers. Response suffers when the expectation of a huge offer isn't met. But this is a Catch-22 because DRTV marketers have to cover their increased costs. They can't increase the base price because that would hurt response even more than a weak offer, so they take the hit on the back-end with customer dissatisfaction over high S&H charges.

This offer represents a bold attempt at finding another way. If charging a modest price for a bonus instead of additional S&H works, we could see a major shift in the way DRTV marketers structure their offers in the future.   

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