August 14, 2012

Magic Meal

Description: A microwave cooker
Main Pitch: "The revolutionary, all-in-one microwave cooker that prepares an entire meal in minutes"
Main Offer: $19.99 for the 5-piece set with recipe book
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H), Little Red Chef (just pay P&H)
Marketer: InvenTel
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Because I attend a lot of new product meetings, I know this item represents a combination of several ideas (a microwave pressure cooker, a microwave steamer, a colander) that have been kicking around the industry for a while. Some of the ideas made it to TV, where they promptly failed. For example, the colander function of this cooker reminds me of Simple Strainer, a 'fast fail' Allstar tested back in May.

Of course, the marketers of this product are banking on it going the other way, more in the direction of Telebrands' Pasta Boat (No. 24 on my True Top 50 of 2010). However, it seems to me that only items narrowly focused on pasta (Pasta Pot, Pasta Express) seem to resonate with DRTV buyers. This item is the opposite of narrowly focused. It's more of a 'Swiss Army' product, and for that reason I think it will also probably fail.

In general, I think microwave products have lost much of their cachet. Lately, even the best ones I've seen struggle to generate the response necessary to succeed. Maybe the miracle of the microwave is just old news these days?

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