Description: No-mess pet feeding bowls
Main Pitch: "Virtually eliminates the costly and damaging messes those old pet bowls leave behind"
Main Offer: $19.95 for a small/large set in cranberry or bronze
Bonus: Non-skid leg extensions
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed
I'm immediately favorable toward most pet products because the category is so hot on DRTV. Even in the worst months of the recession, pet products continued to sell well. Of course, that doesn't mean any pet product is a guaranteed hit.
Of the SciMark Seven (S7) criteria, I think different is one of the most critical for pet products. If pet owners think they can just hop over to Petco or PetSmart and get a similar item, they are unlikely to "order now." When I did some quick Web research on this item, I found several solutions that purport to solve the same problems this commercial highlights. None are as good or have all of the features of this product, but they seemed to be "good enough."
Put another way, this is a product that relies on the 'sum of its parts' to convince people to buy. I see this often. In this case, the creator's logic probably went something like this: There are no-mess bowls. There are no-skid bowls. And there are raised bowls. But no one has ever sold a no-mess, no-skid set of raised bowls! I suppose this way of thinking makes sense, but it relies on people recognizing they have all three problems and wanting to do something about each of them.
There is another twist here, and it is the innovative way the product contains wet and dry messes. It may be that this aspect of the product is so cool, it will motivate pet owners off the couch. But the commercial didn't do a good job communicating how it works. It made the item seem complex, which will cause a leading sales killer: confusion.
Finally, I have to mention something I often find difficult to articulate. Most people call it "demonstrability." I've also heard it called "visual excitement." It's the idea that a product must move or do something interesting to sell on TV. I don't include that criteria in any of my lists because I've seen too many static items do well. Besides, whole categories in DR run on invisible effects (e.g. ingestibles). That said, it's true that some products are just too ordinary to generate the excitement necessary for a DRTV purchase, no matter how hard we work to make them seem sexy. Pet bowls may be one of them.