Every few months, I go back and evaluate my ability to predict DRTV successes and failures. I do it by checking my predictions against the charts. Well, now that I've posted the Summer True Top 50, it's that time again.
A few notes before I do. First, I could run up my tally by talking about all the bombs I successfully predicted. But while that might be good for my ego, it doesn't mean anything. As Andy Khubani, president of IdeaVillage, once said: "It's easy to make predictions in this business. Just predict 'bomb,' and you'll be right nine times out of 10."
Second, this accounting will exclude old items that have been running and successful for several years now, or items I have already featured in a "Keeping Score" update. Examples include Shake Weight, Bender Ball and ShamWow! It will also exclude items I don't normally write about, such as continuity programs (e.g.Proactiv, Nutrisystem), ingestibles (e.g. Alteril), kids' products (e.g. Live Butterfly Garden), educational programs (e.g. Your Baby Can Read), coins (e.g. $50 Gold Buffalo), long-form support (e.g. Bowflex) and brand support (e.g. Space Bags).
I know that's a long list, but the industry has gotten a lot more complicated! As my readers know, I like to focus on "old school" DRTV -- hard goods that fit the traditional, short-form DRTV model.
That leaves 25 campaigns. Here's how I did:
GOT IT WRONG
- Slim Ts (No. 7) - I thought the market was too narrow. I guess I was wrong about that. Men of America, what's going on? You're wearing girdles now?
- Crazy Critters (No. 34) - Technically, a 5 out of 7 isn't getting it wrong. But I re-read my review, and I clearly hated the product and thought it would fail. Since I don't own a dog, I was relying on a few dog owners I know for their opinion -- a classic mistake.
- Belly Burner (No. 36) - I still think the credibility issues and claims will be a problem, but it's obviously working.
- Total Pillow (No. 44) - Totally blew it on this one. I guess consumers didn't see it the way I thought they would see it (e.g. as a travel pillow).
- EZ Cracker (No. 49) - I still hate it. America, what the heck?
GOT IT RIGHT
- iRenew (No. 4) - This was a "back-handed" success prediction, I admit. I liked the creative a lot but thought the product claims were dangerous. We'll see.
- Cami Secret (No. 16) - This one met my criteria, but I hedged on my prediction because it's a fashion item. Still, I'm giving myself credit for this one because in conversations I defended its potential for success.
- Heel Tastic (No. 21) - Telebrands. The 'foot repair' category. A no-brainer, really.
- Sonic Pet Trainer (No. 25) - See Bark Off.
- U-Glu (No. 32) - I always liked the product, although it surprised me in that it was a late bloomer.
- Bark Off (No. 40) - Telebrands. The pet category. Again, a pretty easy call.
- Sobakawa Pillow (No. 42) - I had doubts, but a 5 out of 7 under the old system meant I thought it could succeed. Plus, it had a history and was clearly a bed pillow, so I didn't have the same issues I had with Total Pillow.
DIDN'T REVIEW IT
- Water Jet (No. 10) - I missed it until it was too late and I knew it was doing well.
- Tower 200 (No. 11) - I avoided commenting until it was too late because I was focused on a similar project.
- Depil Silk (No. 14) - I recused myself due to inside information, but liked the item originally.
- Flirty Girl Fitness (No. 17) - I missed it completely. I have no idea what I would have predicted.
- Wonder File (No. 19) - I recused myself, but I hated the item originally. Kudos to Fred Vanore for seeing what few did and making this one a hit.
- Mister Steamy (No. 23) - I missed it until it was too late and I knew it was doing well.
- Solar Animal Repeller (No. 27) - I missed it completely, but I would have deemed it "unlikely to succeed." (I don't get how it's working).
- Pasta Boat (No. 35) - This one is a reincarnation of a campaign I reviewed in 2008 (Pasta 'N More). I guess they finally found a strategy that works.
- Page Brite (No. 39) - One of my own projects, so I didn't review it.
- Kangaroo Keeper (No. 47) - I recused myself due to inside information, but I probably would have been on the fence given I helped launch Purse Brite (No. 70 on the Jordan Whitney Annual for 2005) and know the strengths and weaknesses of the category. Its degree of success did surprise me, though.
- Pillow Pets (No. 48) - I missed it until it was too late and I knew it was doing well. I know very little about predicting kids' items or crazes, so I probably would have avoided making a prediction anyway.