March 24, 2010

Weekly Round-Up

So little time, so many new items! Here are 10 short reviews to catch you (and me) up on the last few weeks. And I still have about a dozen left to review!

  1. Cantastic ($14.99). An rotating organizer for kitchen cabinets (from SAS Group). "Moves all sizes of can and jars from back to front, so you can see what you have."
    Prediction: On the fence
    This item reminds me of a story of poetic justice. Years ago, one of the shadier characters in the business came to us with an item he said a competitor had recently tested. The competitor was allegedly having production issues, and he wanted us to knock them off and beat them to retail. He also said he had seen the results and the CPOs were phenomenal. Our team was strongly against knocking anyone off, so we declined the "opportunity." But a well-known knockoff artist (who had often been a thorn in our side in the past) did not. He took the project and proceeded to have one of the worst bombs of his career. Unsurprisingly, the shady character was pedaling false information. In any case, the item was very similar to this one. However, it took up a lot of space, and this item seems to save space. After watching the commercial, I like it a lot better than that other item, but the past history of the idea raises doubts for me.

  3. Cami Secret ($19.99). A partial undergarment for covering cleavage (from Ontel). Pitch: "Looks just like a camisole ... adjusts up or down, so you can decide just how much cleavage to show."
    Prediction: On the fence
    This one meets many of my criteria, so normally I would predict success. The problem is it falls under the category of "fashion accessory," which makes it subject to taste and trends -- and therefore highly unpredictable.

  5. Comfort Curve ($19.99). A device for stretching and relaxing the back (from SAS Group). Pitch: "Now relieving back pain is as easy as lying down."
    Prediction: Unlikely to succeed
    A noble attempt to use marketing skill to overcome an inherent product flaw: This item is boring. It doesn't demo or do anything. Sometimes it's possible to overcome this challenge (see Crispy Magic). But seeing as how this product has been tried before with no signs of success, I remain skeptical. That said, this commercial does a good job of overcoming another flaw -- lack of credibility -- with believable testimonials.

  7. EZ Jet ($19.99). A hose attachment with eight different pressure options (from Q Marketing). Pitch: "Combines the power of pressure washer with the convenience of a water hose."
    Prediction: Unlikely to succeed
    It seems I get a chance in every Round-Up to remind people: There's only room for one. In this case, the "one" is National Express's Water Jet.

  9. Uloo Knife ($19.95). An all-purpose knife with a curved blade and the handle on top. Pitch: "Slice, dice, chop and cut anything, anywhere."
    Prediction: Unlikely to succeed
    Maybe it's just me, but using this knife looks more difficult than using a regular knife. Maybe that's because this blade design dates back as far as 2,500 BC, and we've made some progress in knife technology since then. Also, beyond its unique shape, this product has very little going for it. That may be why the pitch sounds like the pitch for every other knife and chopper ever marketed on DRTV.

  11. Cyber Clean (Various). A sticky gel for cleaning and disinfecting technology items. Pitch: "Penetrates the toughest areas, pulling out dirt, dust and killing germs in seconds."
    Prediction: Unlikely to succeed
    If industry interest is any gauge of success, this should be a major hit. Every player I know has taken a hard look at this item. But I've never liked it. Tech items have a poor track record in DR, and this looks more like a boy's gross-out toy than a serious product.

  13. EZ Shopper ($10). A handle for carrying multiple plastic shopping bags at once. Pitch: "Carry up to six bags at a time, making it easy to carry all your groceries in just one trip."
    Prediction: Unlikely to succeed
    This is a simple solution to a common problem, but it's more of a bonus item than a product that can carry an entire campaign.

  15. Pump It Fresh (2 pay of $19.95). Food storage containers with a pump for removing air (starring Joe Fowler). Pitch: "Don't dump it ... pump it."
    Prediction: Bomb
    This category and these benefits are played out. Time to give this pitch a few years off. Plus, the price is too high.

  17. Couch Commander ($19.95). A drink holder and organizer for a couch. Pitch: "Turn any ordinary couch into a home theater." No URL
    Prediction: Bomb
    I appreciate attempts to cut through the clutter, but this one almost qualified for a "Dangers of DIY DR" posting. Also, I couldn't find the Web site if one exists. The spot is on YouTube.

  19. Fridge It ($19.49). An odor eliminator for the refrigerator (from Innofresh Products). Pitch: "Literally absorbs, traps and neutralizes odor."
    Prediction: Bomb
    Amateur hour. As for items that seek to replace baking soda, you can read what I think of that idea in the March issue of Response magazine.


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