May 11, 2009

Review: Mighty Blast

Description: Foaming carpet cleaner
Main Pitch: "Lets you blast away stains from up to six feet away"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one 15-oz can
Bonus: Triple the offer plus a Micro Fiber Duster (just pay P&H)
Starring: Taylor Baldwin
Marketer: Plymouth Direct
Producer: Hutton-Miller (formerly Miller Direct)
Website: www.MightyBlast.com

Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7
Commercial Rating: Good

Note: This post has been updated to include missing information and correct unintentional inaccuracies.

This is the fourth product to air on DRTV under the "Mighty" name after Mighty Putty, Mighty Mendit and Mighty Shine. Interestingly, it has the same weaknesses as the other Mighty products. First, it's not unique in the sense of being totally different from what's already on the market. Like epoxy and liquid bonding agents, foaming carpet stain removers already sell in stores. Second, it pushes the credibility envelope once again. Because of their experiences with similar products, people will have trouble believing that this product will instantly remove stains from "six feet away." It's really a Catch 22. When a product isn't unique, it needs to be different and better by a lot. But in trying to stand out and achieve that standard, it often ends up straining credibility.

Then again, this dilemma didn't seem to slow down Mighty Putty or Mighty Mendit very much. I think a big reason was the combined creative genius of the Plymouth marketing team, Hutton-Miller and Billy Mays. Together, they came up with a killer pitch and those great "wow" demos -- stunts, really -- that few will soon forget (pulling a tractor trailer with Mighty Putty, repairing a torn parachute with Mighty Mendit). This commercial does not feature Billy Mays and departs from the style of the commercials that featured him. While the spot does have some well-conceived demos, the impact of those demos is blunted by the fact that B-roll is favored over having the spokesperson perform the demos right before your eyes. When credibility is a potential issue, such "live" demos are critical.

That's not to say the commercial isn't well done otherwise, and the offer is as big and compelling as I've come to expect from this marketing team. In fact, my biggest concern isn't about the product or commercial at all: It's about the name. As I've mentioned before, brand extensions seem to have a higher-than-average failure rate, even when the product itself meets all the criteria for success. I feel so strongly about this that I often refer to it as the "curse of the brand extension" and advise my clients to avoid saddling their products with the burden of a successful name (irony intended).

The huge success of Mighty Mendit caused me to think twice about this, but so far it seems to be an exception to an otherwise sound rule (Mighty Shine does not appear to be joining it). The evidence on the other side (One Touch, Vidalia, Debbie Meyer) is compelling. But who knows? Maybe this product will help break the curse once and for all.

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