June 15, 2010

Review: Touch-Up Topper

Description: A roll-up ironing surface
Main Pitch: "Turn your dryer into an ironing board"
Main Offer: $9.95 for one plus a magnetic drying rack
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay separate P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Website: www.TouchUpTopper.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

In the February issue of Response magazine, I reviewed an item called the Handy Dryer, a magnetic drying rack for laundry and the bonus for this item. Three months later, that brand name is not on the April True Top 50 or even anywhere on the extended list, so I assume the commercial did not perform well. Now the offer has been reversed and the campaign is testing again. I find this commendable for several reasons.

First, there have been several occasions in my career when I've wondered if a unique bonus item might do better as its own item. But wondering and taking a financial risk are two different things.

Second, at Response Expo this May both Fred Vanore (the producer of this commercial) and I told a room full of seminar participants that offer changes are the best way to turn "losers into winners." But while everyone talks about the importance of offer changes, few have truly explored all of the options.

It takes enough temerity just to test a different bonus or price point after you've experienced failure. Now go one step further and imagine committing resources to testing the exact same offer, just in reverse. On paper, the idea is as valid as testing a $5 reduction in price or doubling an offer (giving two when consumers didn't want one). But in practice it seems crazy. Kudos to Allstar for their commitment to principle -- or for being a little crazy.

I will also be paying close attention to what happens here because this will test a hypothesis Fred shared during our seminar. He said that while a bonus cannot make a person buy a product he or she doesn't really want, it can push a person "off the fence." If the assumption underlying this campaign is correct (people want these products), it will be very interesting to see if one product succeeds as a "tipper" where the other one failed.

I doubt it, but I would love to be wrong.

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