December 28, 2011

Review: French Tip Dip

Description: A nail decorating kit
Main Pitch: "A beautiful French manicure at home at a fraction of the cost"
Main Offer: $19.95 for the complete kit
Bonus: Pedicure kit (only pay processing)
Marketer: TV Goods
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

There's only room for one -- and this kit does a fraction of what that "one" can do.

Review: Clip Shot

Description: A compact digital camera with a clip
Main Pitch: "Never miss another precious moment"
Main Offer: $19.99 with USB cable
Bonus: 2nd one with cable (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Telebrands
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is a cool product that would probably do well as an impulse item at retail. But on DRTV? There are so many other solutions available, including the phone cameras mentioned in the spot, that I just can't see anyone getting off the couch to order this.

I also think this is more of a vacation/outdoor item rather than an everyday camera. Maybe those guys who carry a big ring of keys clipped to their belt loop would walk around with this as well, but that's a fairly small market.

Review: Better Bagger

Description: A holder for storage bags
Main Pitch: "Fill and store all kinds of food and leftovers quickly and easily without making a mess"
Main Offer: $10 for one with two Better Spouts
Bonus: Bonus set (just pay S&P)
Marketer: SAS Group
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

My prediction is based on some market research I did on this exact item. The research found that, while some people love this idea, most people do not see the need for it. It's also more of a bonus item to my mind, and I have used it as such. Interestingly, even as a freebie it fell flat. Only about a third of people said it positively affected their interest in buying the main product. More than half said it had no impact whatsoever.

December 22, 2011

Dueling Hole Punchers

Review: Roto Punch

Description: A hole-punching tool
Main Pitch: "Punch holes, fix snaps and eyelets in seconds"
Main Offer: $10 for one with 75 eyelets & snaps
Bonus: 2nd one with 75 more eyelets & snaps (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Prediction: N/A

Review: Punch Perfect

Main Pitch: "Punch holes for a perfect fit every time"
Main Offer: $10 for one with 150 eyelets, snaps & fasteners
Bonus: 2nd one with 150 more eyelets, snaps & fasteners
(just pay processing)
Marketer: Telebrands
Prediction: N/A

I first learned of Roto Punch in September of this year. I recall being on the fence about the item. On the one hand, it came with strong sales results from another channel, and the success of Perfect Fit Button had demonstrated a solution for expanding waistlines could sell on DRTV. (A featured use for this product is adding an extra hole to a belt.) On the other hand, it seemed like a very crafty tool that only hobbyists would really love.

In any case, by the time the item was public and I could have made my call, it was too late: The campaign was already in rollout, and I was spared the potential embarassment of underestimating what appears to be a solid hit.

Now, a few months later, comes Punch Perfect -- an identical item with a very similar commercial. I think this must clearly be a mistake that will resolve itself. I can't imagine what the play would be, given one strong-at-retail marketer is already so far ahead of the other.

Review: Mizu Pillow

Description: A pillow with a water core
Main Pitch: "Simply fill with water to find your customized comfort level"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: Pillow case
Marketer: National Express
Prediction: On the fence

If there weren't so many DRTV pillows already on the market, I would probably have declared this one 'likely to succeed.' Otherwise, the item and the pitch seem to fit the mold of what works in this category.

Review: Mighty Sealer

Description: A liquid rubber spray
Main Pitch: "Stop those leaks and drafts for good"
Main Offer: $10 for one can
Bonus: 2nd can (just pay P&H)
Prediction: On the fence

This one is second to market behind Phil Swift's Flex Seal, which was No. 2 on my summer True Top 50 and has a huge head start. However, given that it is relatively close in timing, it may have a nice run riding the coattails of that lead campaign.

Positive side note: I loved the scuba diver magic demo in this spot. Very clever.

Negative side note: I heard yet another use of the outdated phrase "space age"(!)

Review: Beat Blaster

Description: A sound transmitter
Main Pitch: "Turns anything into a speaker"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: MP3 Player (just pay processing)
Starring: Jeremy Parker
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Concepts TV
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

I saw this item in Japan a few years ago and loved it. But I never brought it to DRTV for the same reason I don't think this test will do well: You need to try this product and hear it live before you'll want to buy it. It's 100% "wow factor," and you can't really be wowed by the item through your TV.

Meanwhile, as a practical item, this one fails the logic test. Something like a Music Bullet makes much more sense. That said, there may be a way to sell this product to kids, but that is not my area of expertise.

Review: Cat Caller

Description: A pet-finding keychain
Main Pitch: "The ultimate pet locator and training device"
Main Offer: $39.90 for keychain and receiver
Bonus: None
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Amateur hour. I really just posted this one for posterity. As for the item, I don't think there's a strong enough need for it. Besides, Telebrands already tried something similar.

Weekly Round-Up

Although most of these are still live online, all are unlikely to be around for long and are 'posted for posterity.'

  1. Ab Assist. Pitch: "Get a toned, sexy body in minutes a day." Comments: One of the 50 ab items that will be tested in any given year. The lack of originality in the slogan and creative makes this highly unlikely to be the one that hits. [a]
  2. Germ Bloc. Pitch: "The ultimate germ barrier for your hands." Comments: Still more proof that the germaphobe market is not big enough to sustain a DRTV campaign. [a]
  3. Perfect Green. Marketer: NuWave. Pitch: "The only pan you'll ever need." Comments: Fourth to market with a me-too solution. [a]
  4. Pillow Puppets. Marketer: Vermont Teady Bear. Pitch: "The playful puppets you bring to life to create your own show." Comments: I used my Response magazine column this month to express my thoughts about Pillow Pets and "chasing outliers". No need for a rehash. At least Vermont Teddy Bear has experience in the category. If only they weren't 37th to market. [a]
  5. Sole Shapers. Pitch: "Turn any shoe into a toning shoe." Comments: Sneakers. Flip-flops. Insoles. And now "outsoles." Everything has been tried in short-form to replicate the success of Shape-Ups and similar shoes without success. This super-late entry makes even less sense given the bad PR, lawsuits and FTC actions that Skechers, Reebok and others have faced. [a]
  6. Stuffies. Pitch: "Secret pockets keep your child's treasures safe inside." Comments: Definitely the next Pillow Pets. [a]
  7. Twist and Tone. Pitch: "The complete handheld gym." Comments: I'll use this opportunity to confess that most fitness spots bore me. They all pitch the same thing. Making matters worse, this particular one features a lame attempt to one-up Shake Weight with a product that has one-fifth the credibility and usefulness. Prediction: Bomb. [a]

December 21, 2011

Review: Monkey Bags

Description: A bag that keeps bananas fresh
Main Pitch: "You'll never have a banana go bad again"
Main Offer: $10 for one bag
Bonus: 2nd bag (just pay processing)
Marketer: Telebrands
Prediction: Bomb

First, let me say that I'm impressed. I would have thought it impossible to create an entire two-minute commercial just about bananas.

Second, I am going to avoid mentioning the 800 lb gorilla in the room (get it?) and just say: There's a fine line between good DRTV cheese and bad DRTV cheese (see Magic Thimble), and this commercial crosses that line. It's hard to identify the exact moment the creative went too far, but I'd have to say it was probably when the ape gave a testimonial.

Third, if it were possible to get past the creative and just evaluate the product on its merits (it's not), I would be just as negative because of the "segement of a segment" problem, and the fact this is roughly 1/16 as useful as a Green Bag. No one has been successful at replicating Debbie Meyer's success, and I don't see how narrowing the uses to one was supposed to buck that trend.

Finally, a note to all DRTV creative people: The phrase "space-age" isn't cool or meaningful anymore. It's been more than four decades since we landed on the moon, and we don't even have a space shuttle program these days. The Space Age is clearly over. I only mention this because way too many DRTV scripts come across my desk with that retro phrase in them.

December 18, 2011

SciMark Report from December Response

For my final column of the year, the SciMark Report for December, I had a little fun. Instead of reviews, I shared some of my favorite catch-phrases and used items from the year to illustrate them. [a]

December 16, 2011

SciMark Report from November Response

It seems I neglected to post my SciMark Report for November. In case you missed it, I reviewed: Halo Hands Free, Pushover Plunge and Marble Cookware. [a]

December 10, 2011

Weekly Round-Up

Better Pet Blanket

I'm going to use this feature to do some housekeeping this week. Oftentimes, projects fail and are taken down so quickly, the Web addresses are "dead links" by the time I get around to them. At that point, predictions are unncessary and the only reason to blog about the project at all is what I call, 'posting for posterity.'

It happens all the time. We see an item and think, "I could swear someone tested this, but I can't remember who or when!" So I think it's important to record every item that tests on DRTV, even these 'fast failures,' in order to save marketers (including myself) from repeating the mistakes of the past.

And to show that this feature isn't about embarassing anyone, I'll lead with one of my own recent attempts ...

  1. Better Pet Blanket. Starring: Art Edmonds. Marketer: Allstar/Media Corp. Producer: Producers Direct. Pitch: "Repels liquids and stains" and "prevents odor-causing bacteria, fungus, mold and mildew." Comments: Written by yours truly. Hey, they can't all be winners! [a]
  2. Firenze Bag. Marketer: Allstar. Pitch: "The bag you'll always grab when you're on the go." Comments: This one is important to note because bags on DRTV have had to be pretty special (e.g. Buxton Bag) to be successful. [a]
  3. Leg Glo. Marketer: Telebrands. Pitch: "Rejuvenates even the dullest, dry skin." Comments: If Guthy-Renker couldn't make leg beauty work (see No. 11), it is unlikely anyone else can. [a]

December 07, 2011

Review: Stuff Fit

Description: A bedroom organizer
Main Pitch: "Wraps around any size bed for extra storage space"
Main Offer: $14.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H) plus two Moon Bags
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is similar to a product called Shoe Skirt that Allstar tested in 2008: It's just more narrowly focused toward kids. My concern is that Shoe Skirt didn't go very far, so I don't see how segmenting the market is going to yield better results.

It's true that focusing a rationale can be good in some cases, but this particular focus also creates a problem. Kids have zero interest in organizational items, yet we know it's critical to get kids excited about an item so they'll pester their parents to buy it. Selling items directly to parents for their kids -- with a few notable exceptions (e.g. Gyro Bowl) -- hasn't been a successful strategy.

The demographics of DR further compound the problem. Most of our buyers have grandkids this age. Picking up after them and getting them off to school isn't their problem.

Review: Sneaker Saver

Description: A sneaker cleaner
Main Pitch: "Guaranteed to extend the life and expensive look of your sneakers"
Main Offer: $10 for one bottle
Bonus: 2nd bottle, scrub brush & 2 deodorizers (just pay processing)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Meltzer Media
Prediction: N/A

I'm too late on this one, so I'm just posting for posterity. Similar items have been considered for DRTV before, so it's important to keep track of the ones that were tested.

Review: MicroMaid

Description: A microwave-cleaning gadget
Main Pitch: "Uses the power of steam to get your microwave sparkling clean"
Main Offer: $10 for one with two Micro Chamois
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay S&H)
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is sort of like a Mister Steamy (No. 15 on last year's True Top 50) for microwaves. However, the problem/solution is a lot less compelling. Between the various splatter guards and cleaning sprays available, I just don't think people view this as a problem in need of a new solution. The commercial does a good job trying to manufacture a rationale ("like a pressure washer for your microwave" is especially clever), but it ultimately fails to justify.

December 06, 2011

Review: Blankid Buddy

Description: A(nother) transforming plush toy
Main Pitch: "It's a blanket, a backpack and a pillow!"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one
Bonus: Water-repellent inner bag
Prediction: Bomb

No one will ever accuse the DRTV industry of originality, but this is getting ridiculous. Are there really still people out there who believe that because a plush toy that transforms into a pillow became a hot seller, a plush toy that transforms into other bedroom objects is a potential hit waiting to happen?

Give it up, people! Pillow Pets was an outlier and a craze. There is absolutely no indication that transforming plush toys are a new category capable of producing regular hits. Crazes just don't work that way.

Do you remember that Elmo doll that burst out in insane laughter when you tickeld him? Ever hear of any hot-selling, psychotic Sesame Street dolls after that? Right, because there were none (although I had a great idea for a Big Bird with Tourette's). Or how about those little gerbil things that scoot across the floor and make weird noises? Those are still hot, as evidenced by the fact I keep stepping on them in my house. But have you seen any other vermin -- perhaps a rat that squeals or a cockroach that hisses -- appear on store shelves in a stack-out? No? Well, there's a reason for that, too.

I give the first few people who attempted to ride the Pillow Pet coattails a pass. For all we knew, maybe Infomercials Inc. had discovered a rich mine of pent-up childish desire for Transformers you can hug. But the 50th attempt? It's time for someone to say it: Enough is enough.

Review: Toast-It-All Bags

Description: Toaster bags for sandwiches
Main Pitch: "A piping hot, restaurant-style sandwich in seconds"
Main Offer: $9.99 for four bags
Bonus: Double the order, recipe book (just pay S&H)
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This test gives me a chance to use one of my newer catch-phrases: "In DR, the third time is never the charm." I'm cheating a little here because I don't believe the second attempt made it to a DRTV test -- it was killed in the Web testing phase. But the first time they gave away a toaster and the item still didn't sell. That's telling you something.

Review: Bra Tree

Description: A bra organizer
Main Pitch: "Keeps all your bras in perfect shape by giving them their very own place"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one (pink or black) with bra saver bag
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay P&H)
Starring: Taylor Baldwin
Marketer: Plymouth Direct/Media Enterprises
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Prediction: On the fence

I don't have a good sense on this one because personal experience and DRTV history offer little in the way of clear direction. My handful of attempts at marketing a closet-organizing product have met with failure. Several closet hangers have been successful over the years (Magic Hangers, Huggable Hangers, Wonder Hanger), but the common benefit is that they were all space saving. The only bra-saving item that ever popped up on my radar was Bra Baby. Although it seems to have found some success, it wasn't a big DRTV item.

If this were my project, then, I would have filled the knowledge gap with some kind of market research. Looking at the creative team behind this one, I'm sure that's exactly what happened, so there's a decent shot this project will succeed.

December 05, 2011

Review: GSP Rush Fit

Description: A DVD workout program
Main Pitch: "Ultimate home fitness"
Main Offer: 3 pay of $29.99
Starring: Georges St-Pierre
Prediction: On the fence

Since I don't have a great understanding of what drives sales in this category or how the business model might be different, I can't say one way or the other how this will fare. I am also hopelessly biased toward the positive here because I am a big GSP fan! I wish him well.

On a separate note, this test is noteworthy because it is yet another example of the MMA short-form fitness trend and a UFC legend participating in that trend. Other legends that have tried their hand include Randy Couture (Tower 200, No. 2 on last year's True Top 50), Chuck Lidell (Jack Rack) and Rich Franklin (Iron Arms).

Review: Ready Laces

Description: Colorful shoelaces
Main Pitch: "Cool new laces that never need tying"
Main Offer: $10 for three laces
Bonus: Three more laces (just pay separate P&H)
Marketer: Telebrands
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This product doesn't offer enough "wow factor" for kids to pester their parents about it, and we know that pestering drives sales in this category. That's probably why the site is already down (although, again, I made my call before that happened.)

Review: Sonic Breathe

Description: A compact humidifier
Main Pitch: "Eliminates dry air that causes sore throats, hacking coughs, bloody noses and inflamed sinuses"
Main Offer: $29.95 for one with carrying case
Bonus: 2nd one with carrying case (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Emson under the "Bell + Howell" brand
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This posting has been corrected. A previous version stated that the Website was down, but it had just moved to a different Web address. (HT: Bob K.)

This commercial features a classic "contrived problem." That is, a problem doesn't really exist, so one is made up. In debates, this is sometimes called a "straw man" argument. You set up a superficial problem and attack it to score points. But the "straw man" here -- humidifiers that are big and bulky -- doesn't score (that is, sell anyone) because people who use humidifiers have been to the store and know they come in all kinds of convenient shapes and sizes.

November 28, 2011

Review: Go Booster

Description: An inflatable car seat
Main Pitch: "Weighs less than 2 lbs," "small enough to fit in a handbag or suitcase"
Main Offer: 3 pay of $19.95
Bonus: Free travel tote and cover
Marketer: National Express
Prediction: Bomb

I often talk about "segmenting a segment." This product goes beyond committing that violation. Call it "segmenting a segmented segment." Its primary target seems to be parents (a minority segment of DRTV buyers) of toddlers (getting smaller) who travel enough with their kids to need a temporary booster seat solution (we're down to a few dozen people now). You can always tell a marketer is stretching when they make naked pleas such as, "Your child may be too old for a car seat, but she still needs a boost."

Making things worse, it seems these parents (or their children, apparently) must have good lung capacity and a lot of patience to use this product. Speaking as a father of two toddlers, this narrows the segment to near zero. I can just see it now: "I know we're already late to Disney World, kids, but hang on while daddy blows up this booster seat."

Oh, and did I mention this thing costs $60? I'm sure there was a rationale there somewhere, but I have no idea what it might have been.

Review: Stack Mates

Description: Nesting food storage containers
Main Pitch: "Keeps your cabinets clutter free with no wasted space"
Main Offer: $10 for a set of five
Bonus: 2nd set of five (just pay processing)
Marketer: Telebrands
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Speaking of Smart Spin, here's another solution to the problem of lost lids and crowded cabinets. Actually, this product and spot are more reminiscent of Wow Containers. From what I understand, that campaign had a decent run, but didn't do well enough to warrant a similar attempt so soon. Plus, Wow Containers had a great primary benefit this product does not: They could be mixed and matched to accomodate almost any portion of food.

Review: Can Handler

Description: A spinning can organizer
Main Pitch: "Rotates so you can easily see every can and quickly grab the one you need"
Main Offer: $10 for one
Bonus: 2nd one, spinning Packet Handler (just pay processing)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Blue Moon
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

I continue to stick to my "one is an outlier, three is a category" rule. So far, I've only seen an outlier in the kitchen organization category: Merchant Media's Swivel Store (which was also produced by Blue Moon). Hit #2 has yet to present itself, lending credence to my hypothesis that "spices might be a special case."

(I don't count Smart Spin because it preceded Swivel Store by long enough to suggest it may also have been an outlier. But even if I did count it, we'd only have two, not three.)

Further lowering the odds for this one: Several can organizers have failed on DRTV. I remember a u-shaped one for soda cans that went inside a refrigerator, and a Ferris Wheel-like contraption that bombed for two different marketers.

Incidentally, some day I will do a feature on the best (or worst) double-entendre names in DR. Kitchen Quicky will likely top the list, but Can Handler will definitely make the cut!

November 23, 2011

Ogilvy on DR

I'm a big fan of David Ogilvy (his books have a permanent place on my bookshelf), so I was delighted to receive a link to this video the other day (HT. Bill S.). Enjoy!

November 22, 2011

Review: I.M Rings

Description: Workout rings
Main Pitch: "Use the body you got to get the body you want"
Main Offer: $14.95 for rings and anchoring system
Bonus: 7 Extreme Workout DVDs
Starring: Jake himself
Marketer: Body By Jake
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

I confess to not understanding this category very well. What makes its target audience buy and how the DRTV-to-retail model works appear to be different than with other categories. Based on what I've seen, however, the products that break through tend to present a strong "reason to believe" the system will deliver the promised 'get ripped' results. (It also helps to have an MMA star attached to the product.)

This item doesn't credibly present such a reason. Maybe that's because working out with rings is an unusual behavior you don't see in your local gym -- versus, say, people working out with Tower 200-like cables.

As for the spot, I found it long on motivational platitudes and short on product features. Then again, it's hard to spend a lot of time talking about a pair of rings.

Review: Kitchen Quicky

Description: A colander and cutting board in one
Main Pitch: "The ultimate food prep station that fits right over your sink"
Main Offer: $10 for one
Bonus: Ceramic knife (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Lenfest
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Prediction: On the fence

Putting aside the name (which sounds like the title of a Penthouse letter), this product suffers from the "Swiss Army" problem. It has too many features to cover adequately in the span of a DRTV spot. There are exceptions to the rule (see Chef Basket), but they are few.

Otherwise, I like the product. Perhaps it would do well on live shopping.

Review: Broiler Buddy

Description: A personal-size broiling pan
Main Pitch: "Takes the hassle out of cooking single servings"
Main Offer: $10 for one with recipe book
Bonus: 2nd set, non-stick locking tongs (just pay processing)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: The Schwartz Group
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This one fails the motivation test. To get people off the couch, you need an exciting product. It either has to solve a painful problem, possibly for the first time, or have some kind of amazing demo that overwhelms logic with that "gotta have it" feeling. This does neither. It's a small pan. I can't see people getting excited about that.

November 21, 2011

My Complete Track Record

A fan of this blog recently asked about my track record since I started making predictions. I mentioned that I publish an accounting of my track record quarterly, when I announce the True Top 50. He said he wanted to know what my record was to date. I confessed I had never done more than a year's worth of analysis, and then had focused only on hits I had gotten either right or wrong.

Fast-forward a few weeks, and he presented me with a gift: He had actually gone to the trouble of combing through my entire blog and matching up predictions with results!

Long analysis short, here are the results:

  1. Of the 29 times I predicted a test was "likely to succeed," I have been right seven times. That's an accuracy rate of 24% or one in four.

  2. Of the 117 times I predicted a test was "unlikely to succeed," I have been right 104 times. That's an accuracy rate of 89% or getting it right about nine times out of 10.

  3. Of the 36 times I have predicted "bomb," I have been right 34 times. That's an accuracy rate of 94% or getting it right about 19 times out of 20.

For this exercise, my accuracy was determined by a TV spending threshold and a check of retail stores. If a campaign spent at least $500,000 (at rate card) on rated stations and the item made it to retail, it was declared a success.

One other thing: It seems I only predicted "hit" one time in blog history (when Guthy-Renker and IdeaVillage partnered to do Sexy Legs), so they lumped that one in with the "likely to succeed" results and counted it against me (since I was wrong). There is one other time I predicted "hit" (with Allstar's Snap-2-O), but it is too soon to determine the outcome of that campaign.

So there you have it: A full accounting of my track record for anyone who wanted to know. As for my feelings about this record, I don't take much pride in predicting failures accurately. If you think about it, the failure rate for the industry is easily 19 times out of 20, so all you'd have to do is call everything a bomb and you could match my record.

I am a bit more proud of my success at predicting winners.While failing three times out of four might seem like a terrible track record to the uninitiated, any industry insider would love to be wrong that infrequently!

Now if only I had an equity stake in all of those successes ...

November 17, 2011

Review: Doggy Time Treats

Description: Kit for making dog treats
Main Pitch: "The wholesome gourmet doggy treats you bake yourself"
Main Offer: $12.99 for a bag (choice of 5 flavors), 3 treat cutters
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay S&P)
Marketer: SAS Group
Producer: DEG
Prediction: N/A

File this one under "shameless self-promotion." I wrote this one, so of course I expect it to be a huge hit!

By the way, the answer is yes -- that is the ubiquitous voice talent you usually hear in Blue Moon commercials.

Dueling Nail Decorators

Review: Nailtastic

Description: A nail-decorating kit
Main Pitch: "Salon perfect nail designs in seconds"
Main Offer: $19.99 for the kit with six image discs
Bonus: Three bonus discs (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Ontel
Prediction: N/A

Like IdeaVillage did with Sonic Jammers/Music Bullet, Ontel is testing to see if a different name and creative can deliver a different result (the first version being Salon Express.) I applaud those willing to engage in the experiment and will watch which one rolls out with interest.

Review: Chip Wave

Description: A microwave chip maker
Main Pitch: "Fat-free, guilt-free chips ... right in your microwave"
Main Offer: $10 for one with Chip Smart Slicer
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay processing)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Someone outside the industry tried this idea in September. They called it Top Chips. If this is an item, the Blue Moon/Telebrands will easily win in the marketplace -- but I'm not so sure this is an item. My comments are exactly the same as before: "This looks like a lot of work to make one bag of chips, and all for what? Healthier chips are widely available at retail these days. They come in low fat, no fat, baked, air cooked and more, and you can get chips in every type of fruit or vegetable imaginable."

On a side note, I love the opening of this spot. Using sound to get people's attention and hammer home a key selling point is a brilliant idea.

Weekly Round-Up (2)

Yes, another one. I am a little behind, so expect quite a few new posts over the next week or so.

  1. Arch Pumps. Starring: Lee Majors Pitch: "Instant custom arch support." Prediction: Unlikely to succeed. Comments: Not even the Bionic Man can make an insole work on DRTV. Sorry, Lee. Still a big fan! [a]
  2. Bubby My Buddy. Pitch: "Air-inflated plush toys ... from 2 feet high up to 7-foot tall giraffe." Prediction: Unlikely to succeed. Comments: This one is kinda the opposite of a small, huggable pillow you can sleep with. Otherwise, I like the visual appeal but think the timing is off. Everyone and their mother (almost literally) is out with a plush these days. [a]
  3. Get Me Out Pillow. Pitch: "Not just a pillow but a cozy friend awaits you who is saying 'Get Me Out.'" Prediction: Bomb. Comments: Speaking of plush overload ... and this one is third to market with a me-too product. [a]
  4. Gourme Mist. Pitch: "The five-calorie flavor and cooking spray." Comments: So wrong for DRTV, I don't know where to begin. [a]
  5. Pushy Pops. Pitch: "The amazing new push-up snack pop." Prediction: On the fence. Comments: We are also approaching 'baking overload' in DR right now. But I haven't seen enough consistent success to justify the activity. If there is a category here, it's clear no one understands it yet because these items are all over the place in terms of USP, and most are short on a solid problem/solution. [a]
  6. ShockWave. Brand: Gold's Gym. Pitch: "Bigger, heavier and stronger for amplifying muscle contractions." Prediction: Bomb. Comments: "Late" isn't the word for what this me-too product is to market. We'd have to go back in time for this to have a shot against Shake Weight. [a]
  7. Stay Gate. Marketer: IHS. Pitch: "Keep your pet safe and sound." Prediction: On the fence. Comments: I like the product and the commercial is professionally done, but I don't know enough about newcomer IHS to understand what they are trying to accomplish. If it's truly an online mall model, as the site indicates, color me dubious. [a]
  8. Ultra Sorter. Pitch: "Accurate rolls every time." Prediction: Bomb. Comments: If only we had that time machine I mentioned earlier ... [a]

November 16, 2011

Weekly Round-Up

I am making one change to this feature: I am going to start making predictions. My last True Top 50 update had far too many "did not review" items in the score-keeping section. Not making a call during these round-ups was one reason why.

  1. Easy Sheets. Pitch: "Making your bed has never been easier." Prediction: Bomb. Comments: Amateur hour. It fails almost all of my criteria. [a]
  2. Perfect Tweeze. Pitch: "Optimal lighting every time." Prediction: Unlikely to succeed. Comments: Been there, done that. We called ours Luma Tweeze. The experience taught me that women are very loyal to that one brand of tweezer they love and won't replace it easily, even if presented with an added benefit like a light. [a]
  3. Plant Sorb. Pitch: "Never worry about water damage from your house plants or Christmas tree again." Prediction: Unlikely to succeed. Comments: This is sort of like a ShamWow! specifically for plants. Not a bad idea, in general, but way too narrow for DRTV. [a]
  4. Pouch Painter. Pitch: "The no-spill painting solution." Prediction: Bomb. Comments: It's very difficult to have a hit in this category. The solution has to solve a painful problem in a "wow" way. This product addresses a mild nuisance and does it in a generic way. [a]
  5. Tread Ahead. Pitch: "Never get stuck again." Prediction: Bomb. Comments: I'll say it again -- preparedness is the opposite of impulsiveness. Any pitch that boils down to -- 'You have to act now to be prepared for a possible future problem!' -- is doomed from the start. Plus, this solution is geographically limited and highly seasonal. [a]

November 01, 2011

Summer True Top 50

Since the warm weather is clearly over here in the Northeast (today there is snow on the ground), it's time to take a look back at the true hits from the summer season. The results are in. Here are the True Top 50 ...

First, my standard disclaimer: This listing is based on our unique methodology, which you can always read more about here.

Second, here's an update on my track record. With regard to new items only, my track record is 3-4-9. I got three wrong (two are questionable), four right and nine didn't count for one reason or another.

Ones I got wrong: Sift & Toss, Snap-On Feathers and Slim Away. I think the first two are questionable because the commercials and/or strategies changed before the campaign rolled out. When I reviewed Snap-On Feathers, for example, the commercial did not star Carishma or feature a pitch to download her single. Meanwhile Sift & Toss has gone through several revamps since I reviewed it. But in both cases, I wasn't hot on the core concept, so I'll take my licks. I guess retail sales will be the ultimate judge of my degree of wrongness.

Ones I got right: Perfect Meatloaf, Slice-O-Matic, Shed Pal and Half Time Drill Driver. Three out of four are Schwartz Group productions. More on that later.

I did not review Pivotrim, Thundershirt or Ab Roller Evolution simply because I missed them until it was too late. Meanwhile, I intentionally did not review Eggies or MyZone Headphones because I was too close to them to make any comment. Although I made brief remarks about Magic Mesh, I probably should have skipped that one for the same reason, since I wrote the commercial. As for Flex Seal, Miracle Socks and Plaque Blast, my comments were brief and rode the fence, so I didn't count them either way.

Next, I am announcing that Allstar Products is my True Top Marketer for the summer of 2011, re-taking the top spot with eight hits total, four of them new and four in the top 10. Telebrands is a close second with nine hits total, six of them new. But they only had one in the top 10 (an old hit at that). Allstar also had a total of five hits in the top 25 to Telebrands' four, so I gave the edge to Allstar. IdeaVillage and Media Enterprises tie for third with three hits each, none of them new.

Finally, I am declaring The Schwartz Group my new True Top Producer. Not because of the total number of hits they produced (they have only three to Hutton-Miller's six), but because all three are new to the True Top 50. Perfect Meatloaf is also the highest-ranked new hit (at No. 3) from a producer with more than one appearance on the charts.

I admit this methodology is a bit selective. Looking at the sheer number of hits, old or new, Hutton-Miller would tie Blue Moon Studios for No. 1 with six hits each, and The Schwartz Group would tie Concepts TV for No. 2 with three hits each. But I like to look at new hits, and when it comes to those, The Schwartz Group has clearly emerged as No. 1. They have one new hit in the top 10, two new hits in the top 25 and three new hits in the Top 50.

This is the first time The Schwartz Group has been No. 1, so congratulations to them!

SciMark Report from October Response

My SciMark Report for October is now available on the Response Website. Reviews include: Turbo Pak and Phantom Saucer. [a]

Tug Toner

First there was the Shake Weight ...
Then came Free Flexor ...
And now, the Tug Toner (HT: Dean I.).

October 17, 2011

Weekly Round-Up

Slim pickings these last few weeks, so here are some quick reviews just to keep you up to date:

  1. Edge of Glory. Starring: Anthony Sullivan. Marketer: Telebrands. Producer: Sullivan Productions. Pitch: "Put the 'sharp' back into your old knives." Comments: There would be nothing wrong with this test if it wasn't attempt No. 5 at selling a knife sharpener on TV this year. In fact, this is the third attempt to sell this exact sharpener, following Tristar's Kleva Sharp and SAS Group's Samurai Pro. With the exception of the credit-card demo (new and very cool) and perhaps the Lady Gaga reference, there is nothing in this commercial to suggest this team has discovered something the others missed. [a]
  2. Heel Dock. Pitch: "The first and only solution to scuffed heels and worn floor mats." Comments: Another solution in search of a problem. [a]
  3. Leak-2-O. Pitch: "Stop that leak before it becomes a flood." Marketer: Allstar. Producer: Producers Direct. Comments: Cool item, but it's trying to sell prevention. [a]
  4. Pedi Spin. Pitch: "The ultimate foot-smoothing miracle you've been waiting for." Marketer: IdeaVillage. Producer: Concepts TV. Comments: Thera Spin re-imagined and re-launched. I'm still on the fence, but the timing is getting better. [a]
  5. Perfect Pot. Pitch: "Measures like a measuring cup, steams like a steamer, strains like a colander ... and it pours like a ladle." Starring: Darlene Cahill. Marketer: IdeaVillage. Producer: Hutton-Miller. Comments: This one violates my "Swiss Army knife" rule. Not surprised this site is down. [a]
  6. Rollee Pollee. Pitch: "The only self-containing napping system." Comments: This might be a good idea if Pillow Pets and Happy Nappers didn't exist. Since they do, it's little more than an 'also ran' with much weaker creative, especially that jingle! [a]
  7. Strutz. Pitch: "The human shock absorber that helps alleviate foot pain." Marketer: Ontel. Comments: Although the product tries to be different, it's really just an insole -- and insoles are on my "bad categories for DRTV" list. Simply put, they never work. As for the creative, it also tries to be different by using a jingle and a cartoon character. I don't think such things add value in a (non-kid) DRTV spot. [a]

October 05, 2011

Dueling Mini-Speakers

Review: Sonic Jammers

Description: Portable mini-speakers
Main Pitch: "Gigantic sound and kickin' bass"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay S&H)
Producer: Zoom TV Productions
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Review: Music Bullet

Starring: Tim Goewey
Main Offer: Same as above
Bonus: Same as above
Producer: Same as above
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

IdeaVillage is doing something most marketers don't: Competing against itself. The two spots above, which are for the same product, pit a non-traditional creative style (a music video embedded in a spot) against a more traditional DRTV approach.

Kudos to IdeaVillage for doing it right. Whereas some marketers test a radical new approach without bothering also to test a control, they are practicing good marketing science.

Asked to guess, I would pick the traditional approach to win this duel, but it doesn't much matter. The item is a non-starter. There are just too many competing products at retail for this one to have a real shot.

Review: Beauty View

Description: A lighted magnifier for mirrors
Main Pitch: "Illuminate and magnify your mirror up to 20x"
Main Offer: $10 for one with carrying case
Bonus: 2nd one with case, micro-trimmer (just pay processing)
Marketer: Telebrands
Prediction: Likely to succeed

My impression is that women are always struggling to get enough light, and a good enough view of themselves, to perfect their look. Granted, that perception is likely skewed by the few women I know well enough to be aware of their bathroom habits. If the women I know are typical, this is a great problem solver that could find a market.

My only cause for doubt is that there are many solutions to this problem already on the market. None work with an existing mirror or cost this little, but if women already have a favorite vanity they are unlikely to buy this.

So there's the case for and against. Taking a guess, I came down on the "for" side. We'll see.

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Blah Blah Bracelets. Pitch: "The customizable bracelet that lets you express yourself and do it with style." Marketer: IdeaVillage. Producer: Hutton-Miller. Comments: From everything I know about marketing to minors (which admittedly isn't much), tweens are the hardest to reach using DRTV. [a]
  2. Comfy Mat. Pitch: "The miracle memory foam mat that cushions and supports you on any surface." Producer: Concepts TV. Comments: The site is already down for this one. [a]
  3. Cool Steam. Pitch: "Remove the toughest wrinkles from your clothes in seconds." Marketer: IdeaVillage. Comments: This seems like an odd product to try when $15 steam solutions such as Steam Buddy are already on the market. [a]
  4. Eva-Dry. Pitch: "Attracts moisture molecules without the use of electricity or chemicals." Starring: Brian Fasulo. Comments: This product has potential, but it is pitched in the most confusing way possible. It's very hard to figure out what the product does or how it works. [a]
  5. ID Blocker. Pitch: "Self-inking stamp that blocks out your personal information so that no one else can see it." Marketer: Telebrands. Comments: A lesser version of SAS Group's Black Out. The pitchman's accent is very odd. When he says the name of the product, it sounds like the audio is going in reverse! [a]
  6. Instabol. Pitch: "Instantly turns any disposable zip storage bag into a serving bowl." Marketer: Lenfest. Producer: Opfer Communications. Comments: A terrible idea for a product. The creative team made the best of a bad situation. [a]
  7. Landi Nails. Pitch: "Chip-resistant protection that lasts and lasts." Comments: I like this one, but if Nails AR New (see No. 4) didn't work ... This also has a bit of the "kitchen sink" problem. More to the point, the UV Lamp is a cool bonus, but it puts the price $10 above impulse. [a]
  8. Oral Armor. Pitch: "Oral spray that kills the common harmful germs found in your mouth before they cause infections that may make you sick." Comments: Another ill-fated attempt to market to germaphobes using DRTV. [a]
  9. Purse-It. Pitch: "The fun, new way to have a brand-new purse every day." Comments: This one strikes me as too young and too "crafty" for short-form DRTV. [a]
  10. Store-Away Ottoman. Pitch: "The ingenious ottoman that folds up and stores right under your couch or chair." Marketer: Allstar. Producer: Blue Moon. Comments: Neat concept, but the site is already down.[a]

October 03, 2011

Don Lapre Found Dead

The FOX news affiliate in Phoenix reports Don Lapre has been found dead in his jail cell.

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Matt Hershey says at first glance, his death appears to be a suicide -- but the investigation is ongoing.

His trial was due to begin Tuesday ...

Lapre was being held in federal jail without bond, awaiting trial on charges of defrauding at least 220,000 people out of nearly $52 million ...

A grand jury indicted the 47-year-old on 41 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and promotional money laundering in connection to his company 'The Greatest Vitamin in the World.'

September 30, 2011

Good Luck with S&P

Courtesy of AdWeek:

By law, strengthening-product demonstrations in infomercials must look like sex acts. There's the Shake Weight, obviously. And now, there's the Free Flexor ... It's not quite as indecent seeming as the Shake Weight, perhaps, but it's still not something you should do around your mother.


September 28, 2011

Stompeez Spot

(Producer: Infomercials Inc.)

Here's another new commercial targeting kids by the folks who brought you Pillow Pets and Wuggle Pets.

As I write in the upcoming issue of Response magazine, a renewed focus on kids' DRTV -- inspired by the success of Infomercials Inc. -- is the latest industry trend.

Weekly Round-Up

Very little going on this week, and nothing that warrants a detailed review, so here's a (very) short update:

  1. Lappers. Pitch: "Specifically designed to hold all your food firmly in place even when tilted or turned." Starring: Anthony Sullivan. Marketer: Masterbuilt. Producer: Sullivan Productions. Comments: This is not really a DRTV product, especially with a $29.99 price tag. But I like the creative and the demos, and I think this could be an OK seller if it were offered for a lower price in another channel of sale. [a]
  2. Reef Case. Pitch: "The waterproof smart phone case that protects your phone and still lets you use it." Marketer: IdeaVillage. Producer: Sullivan Productions. Comments: The site is already down, so I'm just posting this one for posterity. In general, given the older skew of our prospect base, I think smart phone products are highly unlikely to succeed on DRTV. [a]
  3. Ruby Crystal. Pitch: "The only file with thousands of synthetic ruby crystals that embed themselves into the nail." Comments: I doubt this product is different enough or credible enough to get women to switch from their trusty emery board, which is a 'good enough' solution. This creative also features what I call a 'kitchen sink offer.' That's where so much stuff is jammed into one offer (everything but the kitchen sink), the viewer has no idea what she's supposed to be getting. [a]
  4. Shadazzle. Pitch: "Cleans, polishes and protects in one step." Starring: Harry Wilder. Comments: This product flopped in early 2009 under the name Earth Brite. I see no reason why the results would be any different this time around. [a]

September 23, 2011

Weekly Round-Up

Name choices matter. As the above illustrates, "Head Wedgie" (No. 2) doesn't exactly communicate comfort.

Not much going on the last few weeks, so only five quick reviews are needed to bring you up to speed:

  1. Eco EZ Wash. Pitch: "The revolutionary waterless cash wash that does it all." Comments: Attempt No. 96 in a very crowded category. [a]
  2. Head Wedgie. Pitch: "The ultimate head rest solution." Comments: This is a comfort product, but I can't think of a less comfortable-sounding name than "head wedgie." This product is also incorrectly targeted for DRTV. [a]
  3. Quillow. Pitch: "It's a pillow. It's a blanket. It's a Quillow." Comments: I like the Blue Moon version better. [a]
  4. Tie Boss. Pitch: "Better than a bungee. Easier than a ratchet." Comments: This product seems too utilitarian to be successful on DRTV. There's no magic. It's something a guy might pick up at the hardware store for a specific purpose, but not something he'd get off the couch to buy on impulse. [a]
  5. Top Chips. Pitch: "The fat-free, low-calorie, healthy way to snack." Comments: This looks like a lot of work to make one bag of chips, and all for what? Healthier chips are widely available at retail these days. They come in low fat, no fat, baked, air cooked and more, and you can get chips in every type of fruit or vegetable imaginable. [a

White Light: Old Gold?

Current/Original Marketer Telebrands
Original Hit Year: 2005 (No. 20 on the JW Annual)
Prediction: On The Fence

I took the lazy way out on this one. It would require some real research to determine the answer to a key question governing the success or failure of this attempted revival: What was customer satifaction like with the original item? If it was high, then I see no reason why this one couldn't become a Phoenix. That is, unless the jig is up on the light gimmick. Whitening with light was much newer when this oringinally launched.

SciMark Report from August Response

A bit of housekeeping: My SciMark Report for August was never posted on the Response Website, so I went ahead and archived it here. It includes a "dueling products" feature pitting Bake Pops against Tasty Top Cake Pops as well as a review of Yoshi Blue.

September 12, 2011

Weekly Round-Up

Blue Moon's Pillow Puff commercial (No. 2)

Just in time for ERA, here's the latest batch of attempts:

  1. Hug of Love. Pitch: "The all natural way to make your dog feel safe and secure." Marketer: Telebrands. Comments: I like the Allstar/Blue Moon version of this project better (see No. 5). That said, I did like the name and the comparison to "the way a parent tightly swaddles an infant." Both are great analogies. [a]
  2. Pillow Puff. Pitch: "Pillow when you want it, blanket when you need it." Marketer: Telebrands. Producer: Blue Moon Studios (watch the commercial above). Comments: I like this product, and I think it has a decent shot of catching on like Snuggie did. That said, it's one of those items that if you think about too long, you probably won't buy. [a]
  3. Shake Stop. Pitch: "Stop your washer from shaking up the house." Marketer: Telebrands. Comments: Scratching my head again ... How many people can possibly have this problem? [a]
  4. Show Stoppers. Pitch: "Fashion tape that keeps you looking confident and classy in everything you wear." Marketer: Smart Inventions. Producer: Sullivan Productions. Comments: It's still unclear whether Style Snaps is an outlier or a category (based on my "one is an outlier; three is a category" rule), but this would be the next logical test. My only concern is whether fashion tape is widely known and widely available. If it is, then this one will struggle. Otherwise, it has a strong rationale, the same one that drove Cami Secret's success. [a]
  5. Snap Light. Pitch: "Snaps instantly to just about any surface." Marketer: IdeaVillage. Producer: Blue Moon Studios. Comments: Attempt No. 183. This has a cool visual demo and sound effect, but I'm not predicting success for any lighting product these days given the recent history of the category. DRTV marketers seem to have an endless fascination, but there have been too many failures. This may be another Siren, so sailors beware! [a]
  6. Stand Up Styler. Pitch: "Curved design lets you stand it up" and it "has an ingenious wall mount that holds your dryer for super easy, two-handed styling." Marketer: Allstar. Producer: Blue Moon Studios. Comments: Cool product, but $29.95 is a little steep for an impulse purchase these days, and the blowdryer category is pretty crowded.
  7. Tech Talk Sunglasses. Marketer: IdeaVillage. Pitch: "Lets you have hands-free conversations directly through your sunglasses." Comments: This is just a bad product idea, mainly for social risk reasons (the price doesn't help either). While it's true that, once upon a time, talking on the phone using a wireless earpiece looked and felt strange, that isn't a good rationale for this item. After all, it took years for earpieces to catch on and become mainstream -- not exactly the right timeline for a DRTV product. [a]
  8. Whoa Buddy Blanket. Pitch: "Mimics aluminum foil, a well-known pet deterrent." Marketer: Jarden Consumer Solutions. Comments: As I mentioned in my review of Shed Monster, I really like the visual technique the Jarden team is using for testimonials. In this spot, I also liked the steak-in-the-center demo they came up with as proof the product works. The problem is this item has already been tried (by SAS Group and Blue Moon under the name Skedaddle) without success. I see no reason why the outcome this time would be any different. [a]

SciMark Report from September Response

My SciMark Report for September is now available on the Response Website. Reviews include: Strike 'N Set, Clever Cutter and Salon Express. [a]

Review: Sharon's Solution

Description: A stain remover
Main Pitch: "The same secret that museum curators trust to restore vintage clothing and priceless treasures"
Main Offer: $10 for one tub
Bonus: 2nd tub (just pay S&H)
Starring: Lori Leland, Sharon Nitzberg
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Prediction: On the Fence

Even the most well-conceived campaigns for stain removers (see Whip It) seem to struggle these days, so my outlook on the category is generally negative. But I do like the pitch for this one, the credibility of the key demonstrations and the presenters. If this one doesn't work, I'm going to have to officially add stain removers to my "don't bother" list, right after lighting (see No. 10).

On a side note, I noticed and really liked a fresh idea from Hutton-Miller on how to justify the need for the second unit in a BOGO offer. They show a mom handing the product to her daughter on top of a folded stack of bright clothing. Check it out at about 1:49. It's a really nice touch.

September 11, 2011

Tiny Tyrants


Description: Squeaky dog toys
Main Offer: $14.99 for an Osama
Bonus: A Saddam FREE (just pay S&H)
Marketer: Media Enterprises

Word is a significant portion of the proceeds from this campaign will go to the families of our fallen servicemen, so here's hoping this one's a big hit!

September 01, 2011

Dangers of DIY DR (5)

All I can say is: Watch the spot.

Yes, the pitchman is named "E-L" and his co-host is a robot named "i-Lolly-P." Yes, that is a testimonial featuring a blurred-out "special needs" child. And yes, the bonus is a vibrator.

August 31, 2011

The Death of Impulse Buying?

Sometimes consumers take over my reviews and use them to exchange information about a product. This recent comment has become typical:

"I was almost ready to order these and decided to check the review and comments. I no longer have the urge to impulse shop for these ... Thanks for the info. I know better anyway but just needed some backup."

It's worth reflecting on what this behavior, which I think becomes more common every day, will mean for our industry.

August 27, 2011

Review: 7 Second Sparkle

Description: A jewelry cleaner
Main Pitch: "Cleans your jewelry with just a twist of the wrist"
Main Offer: $10 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Concepts TV
Prediction: On the Fence

Despite any supporting evidence, I've always liked jewelry cleaners for DRTV. (As my recent "Blast from the Past" post reminded me, I loved Spin 'N Sparkle, for example.) The pitch just makes good sense to me. Women love their jewelry and spend a lot of money acquiring it. Yet most either put up with dull gems or use messy cleaning methods (e.g. a toothbrush). There has to be an opportunity there if the solution is right.

Whether this is that solution remains to be seen, but I wouldn't be surprised if this one appears on my True Top 50 list.

Review: Scoop It

Description: A scoop for food
Main Pitch: "The easy way to get the food, the whole food and nothing but the food from the chopping board into the pan"
Main Offer: $10 for two
Bonus: 4-in-1 Nokes knife (just pay S&H)
Marketer: Smart Inventions
Producer: Sullivan Productions
Prediction: Likely to succeed

This one meets most of my Divine Seven criteria for DRTV products. The only questionable one is "problem solving." I'm not sure how big of a problem this is.

As for the commercial, it's a great example of what the Sullivan team can do. Not only do they nail the demos, they produce some of the best-looking spots in the industry.

Review: Lint Lizard

Description: A vacuum attachment
Main Pitch: "Cleans deep into your dryer making it more energy efficient and saving real money"
Main Offer: $10 for one plus a Dryer Ball
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay processing)
Marketer: Telebrands
Prediction: On the Fence

Ontel had a nice run with Dryer Max back in the day. This product is a better version of the idea, and I think it has been long enough for this sort of solution to make a comeback. I also like the anicillary uses for the product, especially cleaning in between and under the washer and dryer. Finally, the bonus makes perfect sense given the history and huge success of that item at retail.

All in all, I think this one is a good gamble. We'll see.

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Carrie Wrap. Pitch: "Keep hair out of the way and get on with your day." Marketer: Allstar. Producer: Hutton-Miller. Comments: My first impression of this product was that it does half of what Smart Invention's Turbie Twist did, and that item is still available at retail and recently failed a comeback attempt on DRTV. Although a similar item does well on live shopping, I see no reason to doubt my instincts with regard to DRTV. [a]
  2. Clever Canvas. Pitch: "Turn any picture into a professional canvas print." Marketer: Telebrands. Comments: Based on the quality of the commercial, this is one of those "throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks" tests. I think it will slide off. As for the item, I'm on the fence. It doesn't solve a problem, but the end result has certainly proven its appeal in the marketplace. [a]
  3. FabriClear. Pitch: "Kill bedbugs on contact with safe, non-toxic spray." Comments: In general, I don't think it's possible to turn media hype into sales if an item doesn't meet the criteria for DRTV. All attempts to capitalize on the Swine Flu scare, for example, failed. I see bed bug products going the same way. The arguments are either prevention or "selling the invisible" -- that is, trying to convince people they have a problem they can't see. [a]
  4. Floral Imposters. Pitch: "Beautiful flowers in your garden with none of the work." Marketer: Telebrands. Comments: Another flyer. Not quite sure what to make of it, in fact. I don't understand the rationale. [a]
  5. Paw Power. Pitch: "Everything you need to safely walk the dog, all in one." Comments: Too many problems with this one to cover in a short post, but leashes in general are a tough sell on DRTV. I've seen many over the years, but none have ever gone anywhere. I do like the bonus, though. [a]
  6. Slant Pan. Pitch: "Get the fat out, leave the flavor in." Marketer: Telebrands. Comments: P.T. Barnum would have loved this one: It's designed for his favorite type of customer! Going back to my "see if it sticks" comment, I predict this one will slide faster than greasy ground beef in a slanted pan! [a]
  7. Spy Light. Pitch: "The ultimate solution for finding hidden contagions before they find you." Comments: Only hard-core germaphobes or CSI addicts would even consider buying this product. It made sense as a bonus for Urine Gone, but there's no case for making it a lead item. [a]

August 15, 2011

Review: Insta Hang

Description: A peg dispenser
Main Pitch: "Lets you hang any picture, any object big or small, on any wall in seconds"
Main Offer: $14.99 for one with 50-piece accessory kit
Bonus: 2nd accessory kit, six picture frames (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Hampton Direct
Prediction: Likely to succeed

I like this product, and it also happens to meet all of my Divine Seven criteria for DRTV products. A few are questionable, to be sure. Is hammering a nail really that big of a problem? Will people believe this tool is easy on the hands yet powerful enough to drive a tack through a stud? I'm not sure about either one. But all in all, I think there's enough here for this one to have a solid shot at success.

Review: Pet Spread


Description: A pet blanket
Main Pitch: "Designed to let your pets cuddle on the couch with you and still keep your couch like new"
Main Offer: One starting at $19.99
Bonus: 2nd one in same size, just pay processing
Marketer: Telebrands
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

The site for this one is inactive, so my prediction is a little unfair. But I've evaluated similar items in the past and have always shot them down because pet blankets are too easy to find in the marketplace.

On a separate note, this one is noteworthy because of the attempt to employ a "starting at" pricing strategy. It's a rare strategy I have seen used when sizes, and as a result material costs, vary widely. But I don't know of any positive case studies in recent years. Post a comment if you do.

August 13, 2011

Weekly Round-Up

Here are 10 quick reviews to keep you updated ...

  1. Big Skinny. Pitch: "The world's thinnest, lightest and most comfortable wallet." Comments: This is a good DRTV category, but there's only room for one and the one right now is Telebrands' Aluma Wallet. This commercial is also a bit lackluster compared to the competition. [a]
  2. Easy Treat Maker. Pitch: "Make delicious, homemade, heathy treats your pets will love." Comments: I doubt enough people care enough about the ingredients in dog treats to put the time and effort into baking their own. Plus, all natural pre-made treats are widely available. [a]
  3. Eye Beamers. Pitch: "A beam of light to improve your sight." Comments: Another sailor seduced by a Siren (see my iRayz review). [a]
  4. Keeper Sweeper. Pitch: "Don't toss it, keep it." Comments: Too much info too fast. As Ron Popeil once told me: "What is the perception of someone trying to sell you at a machine-gun pace? They are trying too hard, so it’s too good to be true." [a]
  5. Life Lantern. Pitch: "So bright it can fill an entire room with light." Marketer: Allstar. Producer: Producers Direct. Comments: This item is already at retail under different brands as a camping item, but I liked the idea of bringing it indoors and expanding its uses. [a]
  6. Micro Pedi. Pitch: "Leave your feet with baby soft skin." Comments: The $40 Emjoi version of IdeaVillage's Thera-Spin. [a]
  7. Re-scent It. Pitch: "Re-fill your favorite diffuser scents in seconds." Comments: Amateur hour. Plus, pure value plays (almost) never work in DR. [a]
  8. Stage Candle. Marketer: Telebrands. Pitch: "It burns perfectly with no mess, right to the end." Comments: There must be some reason why Telebrands tests these things, but I'm left scratching my head once again. [a]
  9. Twin Brush. Pitch: "Two heads are better than one." Comments: The $30 version of Sylmark's 30 Second Smile. Even though its half the price, I don't think price sensitivity is much of an issue in this category, so these guys are second to market with a "me too" solution. [a]
  10. Work Brite. Pitch: "The wireless work light that's portable and bright." Comments: I'm just about ready to declare lighting a dead category for DRTV -- at least for now. Despite about a dozen attempts in recent history by all the major marketers (this is Telebrands' 4th attempt alone), no one has found success. [a]