January 05, 2011

Rounding Out the Year (2010)

Here are eight quick reviews of the last few campaigns I collected before the end of the year:

  1. Chamease. Pitch: "Stronger than leather ... [it's] a reusable scientific breakthrough in cleaning" and "never use paper towels again." Comments: Microfiber for cleaning is a proven loser. It has never worked in short-form DRTV. In this case, the campaign is also likely to fail because the problem solved is a weak one (the cost of paper towels and Swiffer pads). Value comparisons are good for helping prospects justify a DRTV purchase, but they are rarely strong enough to be the main driver of sales. [a]
     
  2. Convert-A-Classic. Pitch: "Convert classic memories on tape to digital files stored onto your computer." Marketer: Allstar. Producer: Kingstar. Comments: Love the product and the pitch. I expect big things. [a]
     
  3. Fast Attack. Pitch: "Intense bubbling action ... will power through even the toughest clogs." Comments: The only clog removers that have had success in recent years are devices; e.g. Ontel's Turbo Snake. A liquid solution has no shot given the competition in the category. On a related note, any powerful chemical raises safety and environmental concerns that I believe only a trusted brand can overcome. [a]
     
  4. Natural Waves. Pitch: "The ingenious hair-styling clip you just scrunch, apply and let dry for beautiful waves that look perfectly natural without the hassle." Marketer: Allstar. Producer: Blue Moon Studios. Comments: It's possible this one could be a hit, but anything to do with women and style is a big unknown in my book -- and the hair category doesn't have a great track record on DRTV. Many are tried; few are successful. [a]
     
  5. Speed Waver. Pitch: "Creates a variety of waves in half the time of curling irons." Marketer: Helen of Troy. Comments: This is the $40 solution to the problem Natural Waves purports to solve. It also faces the same challenges from a pure direct-response perspective. Of course, this clearly isn't a pure response play, and I don't know enough about the model to predict success or failure. [a]
     
  6. Stash It Basket. Pitch: "The ingenious new slide out basket that gives you the extra kitchen space you need." Marketer: Allstar. Producer: Blue Moon Studios. Comments: Blue Moon has a knack for identifying everyday organizational problems. As I've written previously, organization in general is a tricky category for DRTV because only a small percentage of the population is passionate about it  (the Felix Ungars of the world). Most people are happily messy. But there appears to be specific types of organization everyone is into. The early indication is that organizing the two dozen or so spices we all have (see Swivel Store) is one example. Cleaning up counter clutter and/or unburdening overstuffed drawers would seem to be another likely candidate, so I wouldn't be surprised if this one does well. [a]
     
  7. The Rack. Pitch: "The fitness breakthrough that transforms into three body-sculpting positions." Comments: This one seems to meet all the criteria for the relatively new short-form men's fitness category that products such as Ontel's Iron Gym and Tower 200 tapped into. At 30 pounds, though, the shipping costs must be horrible! No wonder the full price is $150. (Also, am I the only one who thinks this product was inspired by some musclehead's grandmother's walker?) [a]
     
  8. Tush Turner. Pitch: "The swiveling seat cushion that makes getting in and out of any car easier." Marketer: Telebrands. Producer: Blue Moon Studios. Comments: Up until about the halfway point of this commercial, this campaign registered as "likely to fail." This type of solution has been tried at least twice before, and I'm closely familiar with the dismal results. I thought the addition of memory foam was an inspired idea but not enough to turn a loser into a winner. Then the creative mentioned using this swiveling cushion on chairs at home, and suddenly the product doubled its appeal. Nicely done. Of course, I still wonder about any campaign that relies solely on seniors to roll out. Experience shows you need Baby Boomers to have the "legs" for a national campaign. But perhaps the problem this solves is so universal among seniors, it won't matter. (On a side note, I'm surprised to see Bernie M. in a commercial. I didn't know the prisons allowed for this sort of work-release program! More to the point, I'm not sure he's the right choice for a testimonial given all the negative press he has received.) [a]

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