June 02, 2012

Products from Pittsburgh

I'm a little bit late with this, but I wanted to give some press to the fine folks over at Invention Home. On Tuesday, May 22, I attended their "DRTV Product Summit" at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Penn. Six companies (see above) from the industry attended the event as well as about 20 inventors representing some two dozen inventions.

This is the third such event I've attended (first and second events here and here), but it's my first event that wasn't organized by a DRTV company. I was impressed by how well structured it was. Each company had a room and the inventors rotated between the rooms, giving their pitches in precise, 15-minute increments from 9 AM until 4:30 PM. I "floated" between the rooms and tried to watch as many pitches as I could.

There were quite a few memorable moments and noteworthy products, including:

  1. A cute solution in search of a problem called the Sip 'n Dip Cookie Dipper. The "sip" part comes from a slot the item has for a straw, so you can sip your milk while your cookie is soaking.
  3. A magnetic wrench that holds a nut like a magnetic screwdriver holds a screw. Why did this one stand out? Because the inventor yelled "boo-yah!" at the end of his demonstrations.
  5. An exercise product called the "Ab Orb," which is an improvement on the old ab wheel. I have no idea if this item would do well on DRTV, but I appreciated the spirit of invention it represented. The inventor got the idea from the Dyson ball. As my colleague Steve Rivkin would say, he looked at that ball and thought, "What else could it be?"
  7. Another exercise product called "Spin Trim." I didn't like the item, but I almost spit out my drink when the presenter told the woman he was pitching it to (in a thick accent) "if you use it for a minute, it makes the chest bigger, especially the breasts. It will definitely make the breasts bigger."
  9. A grout product called Grout Shield. There's only room for one, and Marc Gill's Grout Bully is the one. Sad part is this guy was out years before Grout Bully under a different name (I blogged about it here) and lost the opportunity because of a bad partner. This made me ponder how many items never roll out for reasons other than lack of consumer interest.
  11. Something called the Dirty Dog Paw Spritz, an antibacterial spray for a dog's paws. This is a classic example of the "segment of a segment" problem that plagues so many inventors. As if the germaphobe market wasn't narrow enough, now there's a product for germaphobes with dogs.
  13. And last but not least: A bottle rocket where the rocket is the bottle! (Aqua Pod) This one was so cool, everyone took home a sample. The presentation technique was a big help: At lunch, they invited everyone into the parking lot for a little Cape Canaveral action (see below). It was lots of fun, and I wish them success -- if not on DRTV, then in some other channel.

Thanks again to Invention Home. If any DRTV marketer reading this hasn't been to their event, I strongly recommend attending. More information on the next summit will be available on their Website soon.


  1. Hi I just found this blog today and I find this amazing! I am new to DRTV industry and I learned a lot from you blog.

    -BTW, do you have a review for the Wireless Light Switch by Idea Village?

    1. Do you mean the one from Telebrands? If so, it's here:
      http://scimark.blogspot.com/2011/06/review-switch-brite.html. IdeaVillage had a similar product called "Handy Switch," but it's much older and no longer on the market (as far as I know).

  2. No I am actually thinking about the one from Idea Village- the commercial was by Billy May. And yes, it is no longer in the market. I am just wondering whether you have a review for that product.