December 27, 2012

Steam 10

Description: A microwave cooker
Main Pitch: "Amazing meals in 10 minutes or less, and all in your microwave"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one with recipe book
Bonus: Casserole steamer (just pay separate S&H)
Starring: Chef Tony Notaro
Marketer: Eagle Eye Marketing
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

There was a time when I believed microwave cooking items could work on DRTV again. But I saw too many items fail this year, and I now believe this is another dead category. I'm not exactly sure why, but my lead theory is that the microwave has lost its cachet.

If we go back in DRTV history, we find that microwave products had their heyday right after microwaves hit 100% market penetration. The latter half of the 90s were the golden age. In 1996, Micro Roast (a cooking dome) and Micro Chip (a potato chip maker) both made the top 30. In 1998, Telebrands' Keep It Hot broke into the top 20. And in 1999, Emson's Quick Minute Dehydrator reached No. 16.

Then came the turn of the century. Since that milestone, I can only find one microwave hit on the charts, Tristar's Egg Wave (No. 11 on the 2000 JW Annual). It seems the microwave lost its cool in the 21st century.

Having waited the requisite decade, many DR marketers are now panning for 'Old Gold' and failing to find it. Even new ideas like this sort of cooker (see here and here, for example) have been tried without success. I report, you decide -- but the facts are pretty compelling.


  1. Think about adding Emson's Bacon Wave, the Blooming Onion and All Star's Eggies.

    1. I forgot about Bacon Wave, but I didn't see it during my research. Any idea of the hit year? The Blooming Onion wasn't a microwave item, unless I missed something. And Eggies cook in a pot of boiling water.