April 29, 2012

What DRTV Buyers Like/Don't Like

Below are some more findings from my first DRTV Experiences survey. Before I get into that, however, I want to thank everyone who responded to my last post with thoughtful comments and suggestions. Thanks to one reader in particular (HT: Mark S.), I now know that the margin of error for my survey was 8.73% at a standard 95% confidence level, something to keep in mind as I reveal the results.

Many people wrote me to say that they weren't convinced an opinion survey could yield accurate data about price preferences. Some examples:

  • "Not sure you can accurately test the $10, $9.95 and $9.99 with a preference survey? Purchase behavior could be vastly different than a 'thinking' answer to a survey."
  • "I don't think you can ask someone if they prefer a price point, as much of it happens on a subconscious level. There's a reason we like prices that evoke an 'impulse' buy. In my opinion, a better test would be convincing a marketer to run an A/B split on the two prices."
  • "Survey questions and answers are different from unbiased actual purchasing behavior … The survey bias of the respondents might over shadow their actual impulsive behavior or conservatism. 'I am not going to swayed by a mere nickel.' Or, 'Of course I would want the lowest price possible.' The question of each price point would have to be asked independently over a large sample with an attractive product, as in reality the customer does not get a chance to make a comparative decision."

These readers are right, of course. While asking DRTV buyers for their opinions is much better than believing in 'rules of thumb' or so-called logical arguments, it is not nearly as good as running actual sales tests to measure what people do instead of what they say they do. Perhaps that will be my next step in this learning process. There are many small variables that never get tested because of the cost and their limited impact on a CPO.

For example, no one would ever air an A/B split to determine if $10 is better than $9.99. However, thanks to modern Web-testing platforms like Permission Interactive's Predict-A-Hit, such 'micro-testing' is now cheaper and easier then ever, so it's quite possible I'll be able to validate my findings with sales testing in the near future.

Returning to the DRTV Experiences survey: One of the first things we asked people is what DRTV product(s) they had purchased and what they liked most and least about the experience. Here are the findings:


  • The ease and convenience of buying off TV were, by far, what people liked most about their DRTV buying experience. About 18% of respondents mentioned "ease" specifically, and another 10% mentioned "convenience."
  • The price of the product came in second with about 13% of respondents mentioning this factor.
  • And third? Believe it or not, 10% of respondents liked that the product worked as advertised.
  • Other things people mentioned: being excited by the product's promise (6%), the speed with which the product was delivered (6%) and the uniqueness of the product (4%).

Incidentally, here is a smattering of the most common products respondents purchased: Telebrands' Aluma Wallet, Allstar's Eggies, Allstar's EZ Moves, TriStar's Genie Bra, Telebrands' Lint Lizard, Telebrands' Orgreenic and Allstar's Perfect Meatloaf.


  • The high cost of shipping and handling, especially with regard to BOGO offers that charge double S&H, was the biggest pet peeve of survey respondents. Thirteen percent of respondents mentioned this issue specifically.
  • There was a three-way tie for the second thing people liked least about their DRTV buying experience between: a) upsells, b) shipping delays and c) poor product quality. All three were mentioned by about 7% of respondents.
  • Another 6% of respondents said that the product they received did not work as advertised. This is interesting in light of the fact that 10% said the opposite.

So there you have it. Any DRTV marketer with experience and the ability to be honest already knows people don't like the tactics we use to get our average sale up. This survey just confirms it. However, these problems may not be solvable. As long as media costs continue to rise, and DRTV buyers remain much more willing to buy products at $10 than $20, these issues will remain.

On the bright side, these numbers imply that no one issue is overwhelming. For example, even if we apply the margin of error in an unfavorable way to the least liked aspect of DRTV buying (high S&H costs), we're still talking about less than one-quarter of DRTV buyers. Indeed, a much larger percentage of DRTV buyers (24% vs.13%) said they could think of nothing they disliked about their experience.

April 23, 2012

Free Market Research!

Separating facts from beliefs has always been an obsession of mine. For example, during my first year in the DRTV industry I saw a presentation that stated, "Fact: Only 10 percent of people will buy off TV." (The presentation was meant to convince retailers that DRTV advertising creates pent-up demand for hit products that cannot be satisfied by direct sales alone.) While I had no doubt the general premise was true, I had serious doubts about the specific information (it came with no source) and set about trying to calculate the actual number. Sure enough, it turned out the actual percentage was around nine percent and, as it turned out, shrinking.

Even more common than baseless factoids are logical arguments that become common wisdom without ever being tested. The most amusing of these is the $9.95 vs. $9.99 vs. $10 debate. Each of these price points has at least one passionate defender. I've heard that $9.95 is best because it sounds like $9.00 to buyers while generating $10.00 for sellers. I've heard that $9.99 is better than $9.95 because buyers see no difference between the two and sellers get an extra four cents per sale (which is a lot of money over a few million units). I've also heard that $10 is best because it is easier for people to understand taking a $10 bill out of their pocket than nine dollars and 95/99 cents. Yet, to my knowledge, no one has ever taken the time to investigate what buyers actually think about these price points ... until now.

Over the next week or so, I will be sharing the results of a recent survey we conducted of DRTV buyers to answer this question and a handful of others. I will post the information here on the blog, free of charge, for the edification of all. Even better, I intend to conduct a survey like this one every six months or so, and I will be soliciting questions from you, my readers.

But first, here is some information from our first survey:

1. We sent the survey to more than 600 people and received 126 responses. In other words, the sample size was large enough to draw conclusions.

2. Of those 126 respondents, 63 percent were women and 37 percent were men. This contradicts another factoid I used to hear all the time, that "80 percent of purchases are made by women." Of course, the gender mix has a lot to do with the products the industry is putting out, but in general it seems men are well represented in DR.

3. The vast majority of respondents were 50 years of age or older (85 percent): 38 percent were in their 50s, 38 percent were in their 60s and 9 percent were 70 or above. This finding actually supports a bit of common wisdom, that Baby Boomers are the center of the bull's-eye for DRTV, which makes sense given current American demographics.

4. All respondents had purchased at least one DRTV product in the last few years: 24 percent in the last month, 36 percent in the last six months and 21 percent in the last year.

In my next post, I will reveal what our 126 respondents said they liked most and what they liked least about their DRTV buying experience.

April 20, 2012

Congratulations to Impact!

Tonight, my friend Bill Quarless will celebrate the 10th anniversary of his company, Impact Products Ltd. (see this press release). Congratulations to Bill and the Impact team!

SciMark Report from April Response

My SciMark Report for April is now available on the Response Website. This month, I took a break from reviews to introduce the "Fabulous Five", an update and revision to my Divine Seven list of product criteria.

April 13, 2012

Dueling Slippers

Review: Stompeez

Description: Plush slippers
Main Pitch: "Walk, stomp or jump and [they] pop to life"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one pair
Bonus: N/A
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Infomercials Inc.
Website: www.Stompeez.com

Review: Silly Slippeez

Main Pitch: "The glow in the dark slippers that pop to life"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one pair
Bonus: N/A
Marketer: Tristar
Website: www.SillySlippeez.com

More evidence than detente is dead. I first posted about Stompeez in September of 2011, so the campaign has a huge headstart -- not to mention much better creative (from the producer that brought you Pillow Pets) and a formidable retail distributor behind it. The 'glow in the dark' angle is not enough to overcome all of that, so I give this one to Stompeez in a landslide.

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Command Collar. Starring: Don Sullivan, "The DogFather." Marketer: Thane. Pitch: "The natural way to change your dog's behavior fast." Comments: Decent idea, bizarre way to pitch it. The picture above says it all! [ss]
  2. Cravey. Pitch: "Turns dry dog food into a gourmet meal." Comments: I'm not sure why anyone would think this is a good item for DRTV -- unless it's a media efficiency play? [ss]
  3. Genie Gripper. Pitch: "Your solution to those worn-out, broken, rusted, grimy or hard to turn water spigot valves." Comments: A (seasonal) solution in search of a problem. [ss]
  4. Miracle Hair. Starring: Beau Rials. Pitch: "A fast, easy and affordable solution to hair loss." Comments: This has been tried before -- twice. In DR, the third time is never the charm, even when you have a great spokesman like Beau. [ss]
  5. Pour to Store. Starring: Cathy Mitchell. Marketer: TV Goods. Pitch: "Get your food back in the container, not on it." Comments: The Web site has "temporarily out of stock" in place of its order form, which I am going to take to mean "bomb." [ss]
  6. Totally Tubular. Marketer: Allstar. Pitch: "Keeps your arm from falling asleep, so you can rest right and sleep tight in any position." Comments: Pillows are hot, but there are a lot of them right now and the focus on the 'arm falling asleep' problem narrows the potential market. [ss]

April 11, 2012

Review: L'ovenware

Description: Silicone bakeware
Main Pitch: "Needs no grease or oil, won't stick no matter what you cook and rinses clean with ease"
Main Offer: $14.99 for pan, divider, 12 cupcake liners, Whip-It whisk and Baking Book
Bonus: 2nd kit (just pay S&P)
Marketer: Hearthware
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Website: www.Lovenware.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

The straight-up 'miracle of silicone' pitch has never worked on DRTV. I don't see why it would suddenly start working now. The divided pan angle might have improved the odds, but it gets swallowed up in the 'kitchen sink' offer the marketer is trying to squeeze into the spot.

Review: Royal Pedi

Description: A foot-care stone
Main Pitch: "Transforms rough, callused feet into smooth, baby soft skin"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one
Bonus: Mini, Ultra Thick Moisturizing Lotion (just pay P&H)
Producer: Concepts TV
Website: www.RoyalPedi.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

BTDT. Smart Inventions' One Step was essentially the same product, and it was less than a modest success.

Review: Dancing Butterflies

Description: Fake butterflies
Main Pitch: "Instantly beautify your home and bring your yard to life"
Main Offer: $14.99 for two plus marigold seeds
Bonus: 3rd one (just pay S&H)
Website: www.GetDancingButterfly.com
Prediction: Bomb

As I recently wrote in an update to the Divine Seven (due out in Response magazine any day now), if your product doesn't solve a problem, "only one thing can save it: Being really cool." Of course, what's considered "cool" is subject to personal taste, and it's risky to bet your money on your ability to guess what America will find cool. My bet is fake butterflies don't hit the bar.

As for the creative, I just had to comment on this line: "Dancing butterflies are solar-powered by the sun." As opposed to what?

10 Worst DR Car Products

A blog called Jalopnik just posted its 10 Worst 'As Seen on TV' Products for Your Car (HT: AdFreak). Included in the list is one of my all-time favorites, the Tiddy Bear (the picture above says it all).

Jalopnik also dug up a great picture of the late, great Billy Mays.

April 10, 2012

Good DR Science

Let me start this post with a statement that should be uncontroversial to any serious-minded industry professional: DRTV marketing is a science. Not exclusively, but mostly. If you disagree, I dare you to launch the next product you like by spending $100,000 on media the first week.

No one with DR experience would take that risk. So, like good marketing scientists, we come up with our hypothesis (America needs our solution to X problem), conduct our experiment (by shooting a spot and testing a small amount of media) and make our decision based on our analysis of the results. We apply this scientific method to most things of significance that we do. However, in doing so it is possible to lull yourself into a false sense of security.

A case in point is an analysis we conducted recently of two call centers. The client started with Call Center A in January and then switched to Call Center B about mid-March. A few weeks later, we tried to answer the client's question of who had done a better job. Now, a properly designed scientific experiment would have pitted the two call centers against each other in an A/B split in real time, but we didn't have that luxury. We had to take the existing data and try to control the variables as best we could.

The first challenge was to decide what metrics were even relevant. We decided that only two metrics were within the call centers' control: The call-to-order conversion rate and average sale/revenue per order. In fact, we further reduced those two metrics to one metric called "revenue per call" (RPC). Like cost per call (CPC), it is calculated by dividing dollars by calls -- except you use sales dollars instead of spending dollars. This appeared to be a pure metric because if you send two call centers an equal amount of calls, all you really want to know is how well they converted those calls into dollar bills.

The result of the RPC analysis showed that Call Center A had outperformed Call Center B by $4. That's huge! It amounted to thousands of dollars over the average week. Both call centers had produced about the same average sale, but Call Center A had done a much better job of converting calls into customers. The right decision appeared to be switching back to Call Center A right away ... until we realized we had not properly controlled all of the variables.

It started when the client casually mentioned he had been out of stock for the last several weeks. As anyone who runs DRTV campaigns for a living knows, the bigger the back-order the more 'Where's my order?' calls you get. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't call the customer-service number to ask this question. They call the number they originally wrote down; i.e., the order number. And those calls, which cannot be converted to sales for obvious reasons, dilute the call-to-order conversion rate and, as a result, the RPC metric. In this case, it put Call Center B at a huge disadvantage.

It gets worse. Media spending had also varied significantly. It had remained somewhat consistent during Call Center A's tenure, but had jumped from hiatus levels to full roll-out levels during Call Center B's few weeks on the job. Because of issues like drag and media mix, this dramatic change in spending had also distorted the quality of the calls the new call center was receiving. (Significant changes in spending can also distort the average sale metric, which you know is true if you have ever looked at a media report and noted the variations in average sale by station. Apparently, viewers of some networks are more frugal than viewers of other networks. It may even be true that time of day affects frugality as well.)

As you've no doubt realized by now, these uncontrolled variables were fatal to our attempt at an analysis. We decided the only solution was to wait until the product was back in stock and spending had stabilized, give it a few weeks, and then try our analysis again.

The bottom line: Because of our bad science our client almost made a bad decision. It's possible that Call Center B, when the playing field is level, will end up outperforming Call Center A. Or, more likely, the two call centers will end up being about the same in performance. Yet if we hadn't controlled the variables, we would have disrupted a campaign and lost momentum re-issuing tapes for no good reason.

Ask yourself: How many important decisions are you making based on DR science? Is your DR science good DR science? As we discovered, that question needs to be answered carefully.

April 06, 2012

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Adjust-A-Light. Pitch: "Supply lighting at any angle to any area of your home." Comments: This one isn't going to be the exception in the currently dead lighting category. It's a solution in search of a problem and a decor choice on top of that. [ss]
  2. Cool Slumber Pad. Pitch: "The pillow pad that keeps you cool, so you can sleep better." Comments: This one faces a market-size problem since only menopausal women would find this problem painful enough to consider an impulse purchase. It's also $24.95. [ss]
  3. Finishing Touch Smile. Marketer: IdeaVillage. Pitch: "Just paint it on and the stains are gone." Comments: This doesn't have a shot on short-form DRTV, and at retail it enters a super-crowded category. Also, the 10-year-old Finishing Touch brand stands for "hair removal," not "teeth whitening." [ss]
  4. Magical Miracle Garden. Pitch: "Just roll out and water." Comments: This is Roll 'N Grow under a different name. [ss]
  5. Oven Armor. Marketer: Lenfest. Company: Opfer Communications. Pitch: "Turn any pan into non-stick, no mess cookware." Comments: I have inside info on this one, so no comment. Just posting this one for posterity. [ss]
  6. Stove Buddy. Pitch: "Bridge that annoying and unhealthy gap ... between your stove and countertop." Comments: Another solution in search of a problem. [ss]
  7. Titanic $2 Bill. Pitch: "Own a piece of history." Comments: I don't know what makes this sub-genre of DRTV tick. What I do know is the National Park $2 Bills were No. 33 on my True Top 50 of 2011. [ss]

April 05, 2012

Review: Toasty Tootsies

Description: A blanket with a foot pocket
Main Pitch: "Keeps you toasty warm from head to toe"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one blanket and a book light
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay separate P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Website: www.BuyToastyTootsies.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

My feeling is that the Snuggie craze is over. It was a moment in time, it didn't make a lot of logical sense and not even the creators of the craze can make it live beyond its natural life. That's the problem with fad items -- if you consider making millions of dollars on the way toward the edge of a cliff a problem.

Review: Diamond Deception

Description: Wrinkle-hiding makeup
Main Pitch: "Helps you look years younger in seconds"
Main Offer: $20 for one jar
Bonus: 2nd jar (just pay separate P&H)
Starring: Lena Kaptein, celebrity makeup artist
Marketer: Tempo 3000
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Website: www.DiamondDeception.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This a unique product with a compelling twist. My problem is the category: I can't think of a single cosmetic that was a short-form success. There are plenty of examples of long-form success, but two minutes clearly hasn't offered enough time to overcome the credibility barrier a non-brand cosmetic faces.

Review: Cayla's Cami

Description: A camisole and bra in one
Main Pitch: "Combines the support of contour bra with the modesty of a camisole"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one in white, black or nude
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay separate P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Monte-Brooks
Website: www.CaylasCami.com
Prediction: On the fence

This project will test whether Ontel's Cami Secret is an outlier or a category. Actually, if we broaden the definition of category sufficiently, I think Allstar's Trendy Top has shown there is something to garments that hide the 'cracks' women don't want to show. So this one could be the next hit that further establishes the 'hide the cracks' category.

On the other hand, it may be too soon after Cami Secret to find success with an item this similar, and the second half of this pitch puts the product in the bra category, which has really only worked well in long form.

Review: HD Vision Cristal

Description: Rose-colored sunglasses
Main Pitch: "Specially tinted, crystal-clear lenses that give you an incredibly brighter view of the world"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd pair absolutely free
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Morgan James
Website: www.HDCristal.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

I think the unprecedented run of HD Vision (four successful SKUs) ends here. I guess it had to end sometime. It seems the marketer has run out of meaningful twists to put on a pair of sunglasses. Wraparounds, Readers and even Aviators I get (although styling alone usually isn't enough), but Cristal? Rose-colored lenses? That's a line extension too far.

Complicating matters is the increased price of these sunglasses relative to the other versions in the line, and the fact that this commercial is very close in positioning and format to most of the spots that came before it. The sunglasses themselves are also very hard to distinguish from the existing Ultras. Perhaps there is a retail play of some sort here, but I don't see this one doing well on DRTV.

Review: Last Lid

Description: A fabric garbage can lid
Main Pitch: "They always fit just right and guarantee you animal proof, weatherproof protection for life"
Main Offer: $10.99 for one with five zip ties
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay a separate fee)
Website: www.LastLid.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This one fails my 'availability' test because there are so many garbage cans on the market that have locking lids. This will result in a weak problem perception for most people. That said, when I had this problem (before I got better garbage cans), I might have considered buying this solution. I just don't think there's enough of a market here to support a DRTV rollout, or enough excitement to motivate an impulse purchase. Seems like it might be a good retail and/or catalog item, though.

Spring Cleaning 2012

As part of an ongoing effort to make this blog the most complete record of DRTV history possible, I present the results of my annual closet cleaning. That is, here are a few tests that I didn't blog about last year for various reasons ...

  • Baggler. Marketer: Lenfest. Producer: Opfer. Pitch: "The incredible grocery-bag carryall that holds it all, so you can transport it all, all at once." Comments: I liked this item when I first heard about it, but then I also liked U-Go Bags, which didn't make it either. [ss]
  • Max Tall. Marketer: IdeaVillage. Pitch: "Ultra-comfortable shoe inserts that give you inches in height, so you can look taller instantly." Comments: I still think there is a large niche that would be interested in this product. [a]
  • Minute Mounts. Marketer: Allstar. Pitch: "The fast, easy way to hang any TV like a pro." Comments: Written by yours truly. Would fail again as Raptor Mount with Art Edmonds (and without me). My theory is the credibility barrier was insurmountable (pardon the pun). [a]
  • Perfect Micro Crisper. Marketer: Lenfest. Producer: Hutton-Miller. Pitch: "The amazing crisping pan that transforms your microwave into a gourmet, reheating machine." Comments: This one was around for a while, but never quite made it. [a]
  • Trim Perfect. Starring: Michelle Edmonds. Marketer: Allstar. Producer: Hutton-Miller. Pitch: "The ultimate home hair-trimming solution." Comments: Neat concept, but perhaps too limited. It sells online under the name CreaClip. Spot is here.

April 04, 2012

Telebrands Round-Up

Telebrands has launched so many new tests in the last week or so, I am dedicating an entire round-up just to them!


Review: Angel Straps

Description: Decorative bra straps
Main Pitch: "The ultimate bra accessory to glamorize your bra straps"
Main Offer: $10 for one set
Bonus: Heart Angel Straps (just pay a separate fee)
Producer: Monte-Brooks
Website: www.AngelStraps.com
Prediction: On the fence

Without conducting some market research, I have no idea if this solves a real problem or would appeal to most women. From a practical standpoint, it looks like women would have to use a bra without straps or remove the straps from their bra, and that strikes me as a potential sales-killing negative.


Review: Doggy Pocket

Description: A safety seat for dogs
Main Pitch: "Now your dog can ride in the car safely and comfortably"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Website: www.BuyDoggyPocket.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

There is definitely something to the idea of a car safety device for dogs, and there have been several attempts to market one on DRTV (see here and see here). However, this particular solution 'segments the segment' because it would only work with smaller dogs.


Review: Klever Kups

Description: A refillable 'K cup'
Main Pitch: "Enjoy the convenience of a single serve coffee maker with your own coffee ... for just pennies a cup"
Main Offer: $10 for two with Klever Scoop
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay a separate fee)
Producer: Concepts TV
Website: www.KleverKups.com
Prediction: On the fence

Single-serve coffee machines that use 'K cups' have taken the market by storm, and I've heard that certain retailers are making big bets on the technology. That said, I always recommend that DRTV marketers avoid new trends because it takes quite a while for new solutions to achieve full market penetration. Right now, K-cup users are a segment of a segment -- still a niche and not yet mass. Add to that the fact that solutions like these are already available at certain retailers, and the odds for this are pretty slim. That said, this is the first time the K-cup market has been tested, so I will reserve judgment for now.


Review: Light My Purse

Description: A purse light
Main Pitch: "Find any item instantly ... no more fumbling through your things"
Main Offer: $10 for one with gold Purse Hook
Bonus: 2nd one with silver Purse Hook (just pay a separate fee)
Producer: TV Winners
Website: www.LightMyPurse.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Both of these items have been tried before without success. IdeaVillage tried its Purse Brite light as a separate item a few years back, and Telebrands itself tested the Hollywood Purse Hook in 2007. (Another marketer tried a similar solution in 2008.) I am not one who believes that combining two losers will result in a winner.


Review: Sweeper Bot

Description: A robotic sweeper
Main Pitch: "Cleans your house so you don't have to"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one with three microfiber pads
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay a separate fee)
Producer: Sullivan Productions
Website: www.GetSweeperBot.com
Prediction: Likely to succeed, but ...

I've loved this pitch since I saw my first Roomba, and at this price the solution is finally afforable for most Americans. That said, the Roomba craze has died down considerably since it first began, and at $20 there is no way this product will deliver on the same promise or meet the high consumer expectations set by its inspiration. In that way, it reminds of another Telebrands: RoboMaid.

April 02, 2012

Review: Soda Magic

Description: A soda maker
Main Pitch: "Turns any drink into super-duper fizzy fun"
Main Offer: $39.99 for the complete kit (25% off online)
Bonus: Fizzy drink guide
Marketer: Ontel
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Website: www.BuySodaMagic.com
Prediction: On the fence

This project seeks to capitalize on the apparent retail success of Soda Stream, a $130 machine that allows people to make healthy sodas at home. This is the 'poor man's version' or, to be more kind, the 'value version.' Actually, that's not entirely fair. The creative team went the extra step here and re-positioned the product to make it more about family and fun than healthy soda. In my opinion, it's a much better approach for DR. More on that later ...

First, a word about Soda Stream: My gut tells me it has people fooled. I've seen this before. Heavy promotion can create a false sense of success, and rumors of high dollar sales need to be tempered with an understanding of relativity. Some successes are narrow and deep, while others are broad and shallow. We live at the shallow end of the pool. Cut the price of a $130 solution to $40 and you give it a 'mass' price, but you also need to sell three times as many units. When you are talking about a niche market (e.g. people who care about healthy soda enough to make their own at home), that can be difficult. There may not be enough prospects to sustain that kind of volume.

That brings me back to this product and the way the creative team has positioned it. On the bright side, making this about family and fun gives the idea mass-market appeal. However, it also plays down the problem this product solves (unhealthy soda), which diminishes its appeal among the core audience. The only shot the product has is what Mr. Miller has called "pester power." If kids pester their parents for this because it's that cool (and my inner child feels it just may be), this one will sell -- and for very different reasons than Soda Stream is selling.

Review: Aqua Rug

Description: A shower mat
Main Pitch: "The world's first carpet uniquely made for your shower"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one free
Starring: Tim Goewey
Marketer: IdeaVillage/Zoom TV
Producer: Zoom TV Productions
Website: www.AquaRug.com
Prediction: N/A

I already know how this test went (and I don't cheat), so I won't make a prediction. I will share my initial thoughts: Highly unlikely to succeed.

Retail stores are filled with no-slip shower mats, so this one fails my 'availability' test. That said, this particular mat does have some unique features. The one that peaked my interest is that it can cover a drain and yet water will still pass through.

Review: Screen Wonder

Description: A patch for screens
Main Pitch: "The screen that sticks for an instant fix"
Main Offer: $10 for one
Bonus: 2nd one, Screen Wonder Brush (pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Kerrmercials
Website: www.GetScreenWonder.com
Prediction: On the fence

I am truly undecided on this one. On the one hand, the product solves a real problem and I have seen it in several catalogs, which means it is already selling somewhere. On the other hand, the fix isn't pretty and the campaign will be seasonal if it rolls out -- with some geographic variability as well.

If I had to make a call, I'd say this one comes close but does not ultimately make it to the roll-out phase.