September 01, 2009

Review: Shake Weight

(E-mail readers click here to see the spot.)

Description: A mechanical dumbbell women "shake" to get an upper-body workout
Main Pitch: "In just six minutes a day, you can get arms you'll be proud to show off"
Main Offer: One for $19.95
Bonus: DVD workout guide
Marketer: Fitness IQ
Producer: Unknown
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7
Commercial Rating: Good/Excellent

Great product. Even better commercial. The only challenge I see here is getting people to understand how this works.

At first glance, it looks like this thing is electrically powered. The spot does explain that it's a "mechanical device" that "requires no batteries or power." The marketers also throw out terms like "dynamic inertia," "EMG activity" and "isometric contraction." But these are just fancy words that don't communicate anything to the average person. There will no doubt be questions and misunderstandings, and that can hurt sales and drive up costs. However, I don't see an easy solution to this problem and, despite it, I think the campaign has real potential.

A major reason is the commercial. It's rare for me to come across a spot that utilizes so many of the tried-and-true DRTV techniques. I don't know who produced it yet (check back), but the longer version on the Web site is a sterling example of everything a great DRTV commercial should be. It:

  • Opens with two relevant problems
  • Features compelling visual demos (insert joke here)
  • Explains the product's "secret" with great animation
  • Establishes credibility with a scientific study and "real people" testimonials
  • And has one of the best examples of what Joe Sugarman called a "satisfaction conviction" I've ever seen

The 120 doesn't have the testimonials, but it's almost as good. In fact, the only reason I couldn't give it an "excellent" rating is a major problem with the end of the commercial above. If this is the version that aired, they are losing a significant percentage of sales. (Ten points if you email me and tell me why.)

Last, I should mention that this is a great example of what I call "respecting the genre". The way you use this item is sexually suggestive. There's no way around it. But rather than turn the spot into an SNL skit (unlike, say, Doc Bottoms' Aspray), the producer took the product seriously.

The result? Tons of buzz, including mentions on The View and the Glamour blog. This is not the kind of buzz that generates mockery and outrage. This is the kind of buzz that sells. After laughing or making the inevitable joke, these opinion-makers say they would try the product. Bravo.

1 comment:

  1. Are you kidding me??? that's pretty disgusting.