November 20, 2009

Review: EZ Motion

Description: Form-fitting therapeutic gloves with a built-in pouch for a heat pack
Main Pitch: The fabric "provides hand and wrist support" and "increases blood flow" while the heat pack "increases circulation"
Main Offer: $10 for one pair with two reusable heat therapy packs
Bonus: Thera Massage Pen (just pay S&H)
Marketer: Zoom TV Products
Producer: Dynamic TV Marketing
S7 Score: 4 out of 7 (?)

This is an interesting twist on the arthritis gloves that are available at drug stores. (Walgreens sells a pair for $29.99.) That these already exist in some form answers the question of whether they are needed. If the major drug chains are selling them, they're needed. So the important question, at least from a product perspective, is whether these gloves are different enough to compete with what's already out there. I think they are.

This is one case where a "better than" product could work because the improvement is significant and the previous item is rather boring and lacking in credibility. For people who wonder how mere fabric can warm the hands enough to address pain (as I did), this product offers heat packs to address the objection. Smart.

However, I do have a concern about this product, and that is its target. Because of how it looks (not fashionable) and what it does best (address hard-core hand pain), this is clearly a product for seniors. (My apologies to any aging fashionistas who may be reading this.) While a significant portion of DRTV buyers are seniors, it is difficult to sustain a DRTV campaign with seniors alone. This also doesn't target ALL seniors -- just seniors with major hand pain. Any time a target market is a percentage of a percentage, sustaining a rollout will be difficult.

As for the category, it is crowded with solutions for this problem. Marketers tend to view their competition narrowly (e.g. therapeutic gloves), but this product will compete with every pill, cream and heat pad in the broad category of pain relief. This category also happens to be populated with brands that have decades of loyalty behind them. The only mitigating factor here is that no pain relief solution is 100% effective, so pain sufferers -- like dieters -- are always willing to try something new in their never-ending quest for relief.

Moving on to the commercial, I think it sells the product well and is engaging enough to hold the viewer's attention throughout. That's because it makes good use of classic DRTV techniques and does a good job creating demos where none would seem to exist.

The offer isn't as strong. The price-to-value is solid (recall the Walgreens item is thrice the price and doesn't have the heat packs), but people have come to expect TWO for $10 on DRTV, not one. That could hurt response. Also, the bonus comes across as gimmicky because of its name and the limited time there is to explain it. A different bonus, or no bonus if a BOGO is used, would no doubt improve response.

Finally, there is the matter of clarity. This product tries to be a solution for four different problems: coldness/stiffness, "repetitive stress injury," "arthritis" and "carpal tunnel syndrome." Actually, some of that is redundant -- marketing fluff written to make the product sound more useful. But they should have gone the other way. As Telebrands has recently demonstrated with its Windshield Wonder and HeelTastic successes, narrower is better.

Moreover, arthritis sufferers and people with carpal tunnel syndrome should not be lumped together. These groups are different in so many ways that it un-focuses the pitch and creates non-sequitur moments, since the product has certain key features (e.g. heat) that don't apply to both disorders. Better to pick one problem and zero in. Taking a look at how many words it took me to "briefly" describe the main pitch, I submit that it would make the commercial a lot easier to understand.

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