March 04, 2013

Power Shower

Description: A shower head
Main Pitch: "Increase water pressure, reduce costs and go green all at the same time"
Main Offer: $29.95 for one
Bonus: Free upgrade to deluxe with 5 adjustable settings
Starring: The ubiquitous Marc Gill
Marketer: Harvest
Producer: Bluewater
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

You can tell Marc and the Bluewater team had a lot of fun making this commercial. It features the sort of over-the-top "magic demo" that helped turn the late, great Billy Mays into a legend and put the Mighty products on the map. But the comparisons end there.

First, a proper magic demo involves the product being pitched. It's usually a torture test of some kind. Mighty Putty was used to pull a tractor trailer. Mighty Mendit was used to repair a tear in a parachute, and then a skydiver took the plunge. In this commercial's magic demo, a water jet pack is used to represent the product. The problem: It's all 'wow' and no proof of performance.

A related issue is how the product is supposed to work. The commercial spends a lot of time explaining it -- with technical language, animation, digital readouts and the aforementioned jet-pack demo -- but none of that gives the viewer a strong reason to believe the product actually works better than other showerheads. In the end, it's just a confusing jumble of razzle dazzle. Worse, the product looks less than spectacular when it is shown in action. Although testimonials tell us how great it is, I didn't see anything worth getting excited about.

Which brings me to my biggest concern: the category. I would never green-light a showerhead for DRTV (especially one that's $10 too expensive), no matter how great it performed on camera. The category is way too crowded with every option under the sun available at the local big box. In this case, even the pitch isn't new. Practically every showerhead on the shelf claims to increase water pressure (although while reducing costs is an interesting new paradox). Unless the play is to try to establish an in-line base business at retail, this project should have been killed in the development phase.

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