January 31, 2013

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Gym In A Shoe. Marketer: Body By Jake. Pitch: "Turn your walk into a total body transformation." Comments: This is a terrible product idea. It's also disappointing given that it comes from the company that brought us Tower 200, an innovative and credible fitness product that defined a new short-form category (MMA-inspired men's fitness). But there is nothing innovative or credible about this product. [ss]
  3. HydraQuarium. Marketer: Lenfest/Media Corp. Producer: Paddock Productions. Pitch: "The aquarium that cleans itself." Comments: Written by yours truly. [ss]
  5. Luma Stylus. Marketer: Spark Innovators. Pitch: "The sleek LED touch-screen tool that works like a finger but handles like a pen." Comments: I am too close to this one to comment. [ss]
  7. Micro Boom. Marketer: InvenTel. Pitch: "The little bluetooth speaker with big sound." Comments: A me-too project that is very late to follow IdeaVillage's Music Bullet and Boom Cube. [ss]
  9. Snuggle Wings. Pitch: "Keep them safe and snugly swaddled." Comments: Fails just about every criteria for DRTV -- and it also doesn't help that it looks like a straight jacket for babies! [ss]
  11. Toasty Tights. Marketer: Telebrands. Pitch: "Plush, fleece lined tights keep you warm and fashionable." Comments: A fast fail (site is down). [ss]  

January 28, 2013

Brushy Bone

Description: A toothbrush for dogs
Main Pitch: "The dog bone chew toy that lets your dog brush his own teeth"
Main Offer: $10 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Website: www.BrushyBone.com
Prediction: Likely to succeed

This project meets all of my S7 criteria. The only questionable one is whether the category is uncrowded. Many other solutions certainly exist for cleaning a dog's teeth, but this one is unique, reusable and inexpensive. I like it a lot.

Salon Bronze Reach

Description: A sunless tanner
Main Pitch: "The airbrush tanning system that gives you a safe, gorgeous tan any time you want"
Main Offer: $14.99 for one can with 4 face towels
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay S&H)
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Website: www.SalonBronzeReach.com
Prediction: Likely to succeed

The original Salon Bronze was moderately sucessful, coming in at No. 30 on the JW Annual for 2005. What I like about this new-and-improved version is that it is an even better solution than its predecessor. That "sun gun" design (see below) always struck me as more of a gimmick than a practical idea. But this design is the opposite, more function than form -- and that's a good thing.

The only challenge here is that the category has gotten even more crowded than it was in 2005, so I can't give the project a perfect S7 score. However, the high marks it gets for being truly different could offset that disadvantage.

Besides, one good thing about big, crowded categories: You know consumers are interested.

SciMark Report from January Response

My first SciMark Report of the year (print edition) is now available on the Response Website.

In it, I use hits from last year to illustrate and reiterate the SciMark Seven.

January 14, 2013

Perfect Fit Headphones

Description: Memory foam headphones
Main Pitch: "They custom fit to your ears for total comfort that won't fall out"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one pair with carrying case
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay S&H)
Marketer: Ontel
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Website: www.PerfectFitBOGO.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This project has a lot going for it. The product is well conceived, and the pitch is solid. I especially liked the comparison to memory-foam mattresses and the noise-cancelling secondary benefit.

My one concern -- enough to push me off the fence onto the 'unlikely to succeed' side -- is the category. It's way too crowded with options, and there's no chance people are going to believe an unknown brand delivers better sound quality than all of the well-known brands making superiority claims.

Ice Cream Magic

Description: An ice cream maker
Main Pitch: "Now you can make delicious homemade ice cream in three minutes"
Main Offer: $14.99 for one with spoon & recipe book
Bonus: 2nd one with spoon (just pay S&H)
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Kerrmercials
Website: www.IceCreamMagic.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Although not technically a brand extension of Ontel's Slushy Magic (since this one is being done by competitor IdeaVillage), this product will serve as another case study in that marketing strategy because of similarities in name and function. Should be interesting. IdeaVillage is the master of brand extensions, having launched two very successful lines in its history: the Touch (Finishing Touch, MicroTouch) line of hair removers and the HD Vision line of sunglasses.

I used to argue that brand extensions didn't work in DR because, up to that point, there had been no more than two hits under any one brand -- and most extensions failed. But IdeaVillage proved me wrong, and now Allstar is doing the same with its Perfect line of cookware, which is four deep and counting.

This test will also answer my 'outlier or category?' question once again. My guess? Outlier. Slushies are a less common frozen treat you can't buy at the grocery store. But ice cream is more ubiquitous than pizza.

Renu Wrap

Description: Hot & cold foot wraps
Main Pitch: "Surround your feet with soothing heat or therapeutic cooling"
Main Offer: $10 for one pair
Bonus: 2nd pair (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Website: www.RenuWrap.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This Website is already down, so technically this should have appeared in a Weekly Round-Up as another 'fast fail.' But since I started writing about it a few days ago, when the site was still up, I'll finish my thought ...

Mainly, I think this product's design undermines its promise. How can an open-toed foot wrap "surround your feet with ... heat"? Aren't cold toes the biggest complaint people have in the winter? Of course, if these wraps were close-toed, they'd be slippers -- a.k.a. Hot Booties.

The "therapeutic cooling" angle is a little more interesting and unique, and it fits the product better. Perhaps in the summer these will come back as Cool Booties?

January 10, 2013

SciMark Report from December Response

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

For my last column of the year, I featured a 'pizza pitch-off' between IdeaVillage's My Perfect Pizza [ss] and SAS Group's Pizzalicious [ss].

I also reviewed a completely unique and somewhat bizarre new item called Zoom 300. [ss]

Facelift Bungee

Description: Stretchy hair combs
Main Pitch: "The affordable alternative to cosmetic surgery"
Main Offer: $10.99 for one with accessories and 10X mirror
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Hampton
Website: www.FaceliftBungee.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

I may be way off base here, but I can't see women buying this. It seems like such an obvious gimmick, like a throwback to the days of Ronco's hair in a can. Yes, GLH was a big success, but this is a different time and the bar has been raised.

Cami Shaper

Description: A slimming camisole and bra
Main Pitch: "The same lift and suport of the Genie Bra, the super comfort of a camisole, and slimming benefits of shapewear"
Main Offer: 3 pay of $19.99
Bonus: Free shipping
Starring: Stella Riches
Marketer: Tristar
Website: www.CamiShaper.com
Prediction: On the fence

This is a line extension of the Genie Bra, but it could just as easily have been a line extension of Ontel's Cami Secret -- and probably should have been.

That said, shapewear is a little played out these days. I'm not confident the timing is right for a new hit in the category -- even with the added benefits of this product and the red-hot success of Genie Bra at retail. So while this will probably do well as a retail line extension, I don't see it doing well on short-form DRTV.

Supporting my prognosis: A similar concept failed less than a year ago.

Sweep Easy

Description: A sweeper
Main Pitch: "The revolutionary 3-in-1 super sweeper that cleans everyday messes on any floor type"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one with Buffer Ball attachment
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Starring: Beau Rials
Website: www.BuySweepEasy.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Solid creative and pitch, but I don't like the product or the category. The problem the product solves is low on the problem scale, and the category is just so crowded these days. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to come up with a single example of a successful floor-care product in the last few years -- at least from short-form DRTV.

Weekly Round-Up

Pump N Chop

  1. Ab Carver Pro. Pitch: "Carve your core." Comments: From the guy who created the Perfect Pushup, but it's not clear if it's BodyRev. In any case, this is a new and improved version of the old school Ab Wheel, and I can see it doing well. [ss]
  3. Armor Guard. Pitch: "Makes your smart phone screen practically indestructible." Comments: Great problem solver, but similar solutions are widely available at malls and electronics stores such as Best Buy. [ss]
  5. Bake A Bone. Pitch: "The all-natural dog treats you make right at home." Comments: My experience with Doggy Time Treats indicates this isn't a DRTV category. The price of this item is also too high. [ss]
  7. Chiptastic. Marketer: Ronco. Pitch: "The no-guilt microwave potato chip maker." Comments: As I showed recently, the microwave has lost its cachet. This concept was successful in 1996 under the name Micro Chip, but it failed in 2011 as Top Chips and then again as Chip Wave. In DR, the third time is never the charm. [ss]
  9. Go Go Pillow. Marketer: Harvest. Pitch: "The plush, comfortable, multi-function pillow that fits any tablet, anytime, anywhere." Comments: Proof the pillow craze has gone too far. I am still searching for evidence that tablet accessories can work on DR. [ss]
  11. Hipzbag. Pitch: "An infinitely cooler, hipper incarnation of the fanny pack." Comments: Unlike Buxton Bag, this bag is more fashion than function, which is never a good strategy for DR. [ss]
  13. Impress Manicure. Pitch: "The revolutionary way to apply polish." Comments: Strikes me as too retro for the modern marketplace. It's essentially a fancier version of Lee Press-On Nails from the 1980s. [ss]
  15. One Wipe. Pitch: "Instantly restore your car's finish to its original showroom look." Comments: The success of Wipe New (No. 1 on the IMS chart this week) has gotten everyone's attention. But if any product is going to compete at retail, it's going to be IdeaVillage's Detail Doctor (formerly Crazy Coat). [ss]
  17. Pocket Vac. Marketer: Allstar. Pitch: "The amazing handheld table vacuum that cleans up all of life's little messes." Comments: A 'fast fail.' [ss]
  19. Pump N Chop. Marketer: Allstar. Pitch: "The new way to make salads, salsa and more -- all with just two fingers." Comments: Written by yours truly ... but also a 'fast fail.' Oh well! [ss]
  21. Save Your Do. Pitch: "The fashionable way to save your hairstyle while at the gym, exercising outdoors, or living an active lifestyle." Comments: Amateur hour. [ss]
  23. Shoe Flavors. Pitch: "Create shoes unique to your style that no one in the world can own." Comments: Not right for DRTV. In fact, not even close. [ss]