July 25, 2012

Boom Cube

Description: A keychain speaker
Main Pitch: "Pumpin' bass and quality sound in a one-inch sized speaker"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one in black
Bonus: 2nd one in white (just pay S&H)
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Zoom TV Productions
Website: www.GetBoomCube.com
Prediction: On the fence

Putting aside the derivative creative (see Boom Tunes), I think this product has a shot given the suprising success of Music Bullet. This will be another chance to see if someone has discovered a new category ... or just another outlier.

Cake Cone

Description: A cake pan
Main Pitch: "Make delicious ice cream cones made of cake"
Main Offer: $19.99 for the complete kit
Bonus: 2nd kit (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: The Schwartz Group
Website: www.CakeCone.com
Prediction: Likely to succeed

After Big Top Cupcake, Perfect Brownie, Bake Pop and more, can there be any doubt which production company is the undisputed champion of Dessert DR? I am not even aware of a credible challenger.

[I could easily have expanded the title to 'Food DR' and included Perfect Tortilla, Slice-O-Matic, Perfect Meatloaf and more, but I am a slave to alliteration.]

At this point, I could try to evaluate the product and its market potential, but what do I know? If the champ thought this was good enough to shoot, that's good enough for me. The commercial certainly made my mouth water.

Tap Hooks

Description: Hanging hooks
Main Pitch: "The simplest way to hang anything ... just tap and hook"
Main Offer: $10 for two in white or oak
Bonus: Two more (just pay P&H)
Starring: Steve Harkey
Producer: Dynamic TV Marketing
Website: www.TapHooks.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

The creative hits all the right notes, and it's good to see veteran pitchman Steve Harkey doing his thing, but this type of product has been tried before without success -- several times. For example, IdeaVillage tried a product that looked very similar to this one called Incredible Hooks back in 2008.

What makes this type of item tempting is the success of products in parallel categories. For example, Hampton Direct's Insta Hang, a picture hanging device, is enjoying some success. And years ago the late, great Billy Mays had a good run with Hercules Hook as well.

Weekly Round-Up

UFC star 'Hendo' is pitching Jam Gym

  1. Blossom Up. Pitch: "Grow a gorgeous garden with fresh, delicious produce." Comments: Looks like work and like something only hard-core gardening enthusiasts would buy. [ss]
  3. BluCase. Pitch: "The most amazing Bluetooth headset protective carrying and storage case on earth." Comments: Technology products are tough in general. Technology products that are only for specific devices (e.g. Toku) are even tougher. [ss]
  5. Doodle Dome. Pitch: "A place to draw with light, anytime day or night." Comments: Pop-up tents. Glow-in-the-dark markers. What's not to like? [ss]
  7. Drill Buddy. Pitch: "A laser level, drill guide and dust catcher all in one." Comments: IdeaVillage's Laser Straight had a decent run back in 2005. Not sure if it's time for it come back, or if this item is right for the resurrection. [ss]
  9. Handy Eyes. Pitch: "The ingenious eyeglass case that holds two pairs right in the same place." Comments: Good creative, but I think this is a solution in search of a problem. [ss]
  11. Huggy Pets. Pitch: "Turn your favorite pillow into a new best friend." Comments: 75th to market with a me-too solution. [ss]
  13. Jam Gym. Starring: UFC star Dan "Hendo" Henderson. Producer: Bluewater Media. Pitch: "Get ripped, lean and mean at home with max-intensity body weight resistance training." Comments: Hendo is about to fight for the title, so the timing here is perfect. This test is also noteworthy because it's another example of the MMA trend in short-form fitness. It's official: Every legend of MMA now has a DR fitness product. [ss]
  15. Kleva Catch. Pitch: "The ultimate 'seat gap' trap." Comments: Low on the problem scale. [ss]
  17. Kool Spoon. Pitch: "Keep your food warm and your mouth unscorched with the next generation of spoons." Comments: Another solution in search of a problem. [ss]
  19. Little Blue Elephant. Pitch: "Turn any toilet into a self-cleaning toilet." Comments: As I have remarked before, this category is dominated by entrenched brands. The last failed attempt to overcome that challenge was just this past winter (see item #4). [ss]
  21. MagnaColor. Pitch: "Color and create in real 3D." Comments: This seems pretty involved for your average kid, but the end result (a 3D creation) has good "wow" factor. [ss]
  23. My Pur Mist. Pitch: "The first handheld steam inhaler providing superior comfort naturally and immediately." Comments: The ultimate price for this ($50) puts it outside of the impulse-purchase range, and the market seems fairly narrow. You have to be a hard-core, chronic sufferer to invest in something like this. Also, they should be careful with those claims. [ss]
  25. Spec Secure. Pitch: "Keep your eyewear investment safe when it's not on your face." Comments: As seen on ABC's Shark Tank. I admire the guy's enthusiasm and wish him well, but two similar solutions (e.g. iSpex, Spec Tamer) failed. In DR, the third time is never the charm. [ss]
  27. TheraHeel. Pitch: "Safely peels away rough, dry skin and calluses." Comments: Good category, but this kind of solution has been tried on DRTV before without success. [ss]

July 23, 2012

Happy Back

Description: A back cushion
Main Pitch: "The custom folded-fit back support that's so unique it's patented"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Website: www.OrderHappyBack.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This one is a long shot given the recent history of the back-relief category. Here's a short list of flops from the last five years:

So it has almost been one flop per year. Miyashi, which had a decent run on DRTV, is the only ray of hope. However, this product is much more basic than that one, which vibrated and heated up.

Float It!

Description: A magic trick
Main Pitch: "LED anti-gravity card levitates, spins, hovers and illuminates"
Main Offer: $14.95 for the card, kit and instructional DVD
Bonus: "How to Float Borrowed Objects" kit
Starring: Criss Angel
Website: www.FloatIt.com
Prediction: On the fence

If this works, it will only be because of Criss Angel. On its own, the item would surely fail. That said, this would be a great fourth-quarter item, much like the two previous holiday hits it combines: the Fushigi floating ball and Criss Angel's own Platinum Magic Kit. The latter hit was an entire magic kit, though, and this is just one trick, so the odds of success seem a lot lower.

SciMark Report from July Response

My SciMark Report for July is also now available on the Response Website.

Reviews include: Amazing Arms [ss], Stream Clean [ss] and Zike [ss].

SciMark Report from June Response

My SciMark Report for June is now available on the Response Website.

Reviews include: Grand Victorian Watch [ss], X-Hose [ss] and Tan Secret [ss].

July 05, 2012

Clear Away Tray

Description: A placemat that becomes a tray
Main Pitch: "Magically turns into a sturdy tray the instant you lift it up"
Main Offer: $10 for two in red or classic linen
Bonus: 2 more (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Website: www.ClearAwayTray.com
Prediction: Likely to succeed

At first blush, this item isn't very interesting. The demo is pretty basic and not very magical. The product just sort of sits there. (It's always hard to pitch mundane, everyday items like mats.)

However, the creative sold me. Kudos to Blue Moon. They thought of so many nifty uses for this thing, I found myself moving from "unlikely to succeed" at the start of the spot to "on the fence" to "sold!" by the time the spot was finished.

I suspect this is just the sort of thing moms would buy, and Blue Moon has always had a knack for appealing to that market segment (I am thinking of Wonder File, No. 39 on my True Top 50 for 2011, for example).

I could very well be wrong about this one, but my gut is telling me it will work.

EZ Popcorn

Description: A microwave popcorn maker
Main Pitch: "The coolest new way to cook delicious popcorn"
Main Offer: $9.99 for one with oil and four toppings
Bonus: 2nd complete set (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Website: www.EZPopcornMaker.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This site is already down, so I won't belabor the point -- but I think microwave popcorn (in a bag) has taken over this category for good. It would be very hard, if not impossible, to one-up that kind of ease and convenience.

Wonder Charger

Description: A charger for disposable batteries
Main Pitch: "Re-energizes and recharges dead, disposable alkaline batteries up to 25 times"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: Battery organizer/tester (just pay P&H), 4 battery converters (free)
Marketer: Hampton Direct
Website: www.WonderCharger.com
Prediction: On the fence

This is one of those times when consumer apathy, against all logic, might undermine an otherwise promising selling proposition. Being able to recharge batteries you thought you had to throw away is a great pitch, especially for cost-conscious DR buyers. But will people actually take action? Or is it just easier to toss batteries in the trash when they're done and plug in some fresh ones you picked up at the grocery store?

I equate this to the many 'save your blade' pitches I've seen or tried myself over the years. It seems that no matter how strong of a case you make that razor blades are ridiculously expensive (they are), people don't care enough to do something about it -- at least not in sufficient numbers to sustain a campaign.

Aluma Slide

Description: A hard wallet
Main Pitch: "The revolutionary new smart wallet that keeps you organized"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one in black or red
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a seperate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Sullivan Production
Website: www.AlumaSlide.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

I think this is a solution in search of a problem. Is it really that hard to find the right card in your wallet?

The Telebrands' hit for which this is named, Aluma Wallet (No. 10 on my True Top 50 for 2011), has a much better pitch. It has the 'slim wallet' angle that has worked well before (e.g. with Ontel's Slim Clip). It's indestructible and waterproof. And (perhaps most important) its attractive design makes a unisex positioning plausible for the first time.

This wallet is, well, kinda dorky. I don't see many guys buying it -- let alone many women.