May 23, 2013

Beauty Roll

Description: An organizer bag
Main Pitch: "The grab and go convenient new way to organize your things"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one in Rich Black, Purple Orchid or Exotic Leopard
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Starring: Joy Mangano and Patti Reilly
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Sullivan Productions
Prediction: On the fence

Telebrands has colloborated with Ms. Mangano before (see Fresh Sticks, Joy Readers), and this creative team has used shopping-channel stylings before (see Sully's old One Sweep commercial). But this is the first time they have completely followed the live-shopping format, essentially creating a short-form version of something you'd see on HSN or QVC. (In fact, if I'm not mistaken, Ms. Reilly is from the latter shopping channel, so both networks are represented in this spot.) Once again, I have to give credit to Telebrands for taking risks and trying new things.

As for the item, I am swayed toward the middle by the assumption that this is selling well in the channel being imitated. Otherwise, I wouldn't like the item. Although it has elements of the Buxton Bag, it seems to be mainly for travel, which is infrequent for most of America. Actually, the pitch is all over the place, throwing every possible use against the wall in the hope that something will stick -- and that is seldom a winning approach.

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Roomy Roller. Pitch: "The fast, easy space-saving way to put all your clothes away." Comments: This item reminds me of FlipFold, a success from the 'Golden Age' that's still selling online. That pitch was about quickly folding clothes like they do in stores, which is a much better sell. I'm not sure people want to roll their clothes. [ss]
  3. Body Gym. Pitch: "Look great in just eight minutes a day." Comments: Short-form fitness is such a long-shot category these days. The $29.95 price tag and the confusing, 'kitchen sink' offer don't help. [ss]
  5. EZ Yolk. Pitch: "The world's easiest egg yolk separator." Comments: This a bonus item, not a lead item. Besides, the "problem" here has been solved by products like Egg Beaters. [ss]
  7. Grip Eeze. Marketer: National Express. Pitch: "Grip and wrist-assisted glove that gives you extra strength in the hands and wrist." Comments: A bit too senior to find success on DRTV, and you can tell they were struggling to come up with demos. Using a spray bottle? Turning off the water in an emergency? Now that's reaching! [ss]
  9. Pillow Buddy. Pitch: "The protector that gives you and your family peace of mind while you sleep." Comments: The only time this product could solve a real problem is when you have to stay at a low-end hotel. Otherwise, it's just another germaphobe's dream that's destined to fail. [ss]
  11. Power Cooker. Marketer: Tristar. Pitch: "Make healthy and flavorful meals up to 70% faster." Comments: Another Wal-Mart only/KOM project (see Perfect Toaster). [ss]
  13. Purrfect Hammock. Marketer: Tristar. Pitch: "The new way for your cat to swing and sway the day away." Comments: A 'fast fail.' [ss]  
  15. ThermaFreeze. Pitch: "Ice-cube cold in a sheet that wraps everything fresh, frozen and neat." Comments: Cool product -- if not for DR, then definitely for retail. [ss]
  17. Therma Lash. Marketer: InvenTel. Pitch: "Heated eyelash curler ... gently but firmly curl[s] your lashes into beautiful, long-lasting curls." Comments: Like all beauty items, this is a long shot -- and the category history isn't great, either. (See, for example, Spin Lash.) Making things worse, there are products already on the market in the same price range (e.g. Sally Hansen for $6.99, Sephora for $16). [ss]
  19. Twisty Chain. Pitch: "The amazing, bendable, braidable, twistable body jewelry." Comments: This is a total gamble on a fashion item that defies most of the criteria for DRTV products. Better off taking the money to a casino! [ss]
  21. YBF Brows. Pitch: "Get brows that wow with the universal color matching brow pencil." Comments: See my comments on beauty above. Specifically, I have never heard of a single brow product that rolled out. [ss]

May 16, 2013

SciMark Report from May Response

The print edition of the SciMark Report for May is now available on the Response Website.

In the column, I review Insta Lift starring 'pitch-couple' Art & Michelle Edmonds (see above) [ss], the new Press Dome starring Anthony Sullivan [ss], and a hair product called Hot Ponez [ss].

Garage Bull

Description: A security device for garage doors
Main Pitch: "Protect your home and family from burglars"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: N/A
Starring: Gerald Honeywell, former "police major"
Marketer: Telebrands
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

The fate of this campaign is sealed with the phrase, "Now there's a new trend ..." When I studied the 'Old Masters,' I learned that two minutes isn't enough time to both educate and sell a prospect. While this creative does a good job of getting its lesson across quickly and clearly, it's the cognitive limits of the viewer that will be the problem. Learn, internalize and decide to buy in the space of a commercial break? Sorry, not going to happen -- and that's even assuming people accept this is a real trend.

This project also has a few other serious flaws. For one, it tries to sell on fear, which we know works about as well as selling prevention (and this a prevention item, too!) There is also the matter of market size. Millions of homes have garage doors, but this certainly isn't a one-per-household opportunity.

Finally, there's the spokesman. He does a decent job for someone who obviously does not have pitch experience, but I wonder about the strategy. What's better? Being able to flash "former police major" on the screen at the opening of your spot, or using a professional pitchman you know can deliver the goods?

I recognize it's not quite the rhetorical question I make it out to be, so I invite your comments.

Wrap Star

Description: A convertible garment
Main Pitch: "12 different looks in one spectacular design"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one in black
Bonus: 2nd one in black (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Monte-Brooks
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

At the beginning of last year, Taylor Baldwin tried a similar item called Shamina. My opinion remains the same as it was then: This is a category with a poor history, and fashion items are always a total gamble.

If I'm right and this fails as well, it will be the third flop I've officially recorded (Flirty Wrap being the first). Sailors beware: This one could be another Siren in the making.

May 09, 2013

Doodle Shade

Description: Customizable lamp shades
Main Pitch: "Turn all your ... creations into light-up sensations!"
Main Offer: $19.99 for a Fun Kit (frame, 3 shades, 8 markers)
Bonus: 2nd Fun Kit free
Marketer: Ontel
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Prediction: Likely to succeed

All-around awesome! Great product. Great spot. And it looks like great fun.

That's the most scientific I get with kid items. As the father of two small children, my opinion is at least qualified. My kids would love this.

Miracle Hands

Description: Compression gloves
Main Pitch: "Improved circulation, soothing comfort and support for the joints and muscles in your fingers and hands"
Main Offer: $10 for one pair
Bonus: 2nd pair (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Sullivan Productions
Prediction: On the fence

Is it brotherly love or sibling rivalry? Hard to tell these days, but the "Miracle" brand clearly belongs to Ontel, which had success with both Miracle Foot Repair (and related moisturizing creams) and Miracle Socks. They also tried Miracle Slippers.

I assume the best -- that this is a sanctioned brand extension of Miracle Socks -- and will make my comments accordingly.

My gut says this item is unlikely to succeed, but I also know my gut doesn't understand this category very well. I never figured these catalog staples for mass-market items. Miracle Socks surprised me, so I am reserving judgment here.

One thing I do know: If there is any potential, Telebrands will maximize the heck out of it at retail.

Block Out

Description: A stain blocker
Main Pitch: "The invisible, waterproof barrier that blocks out the biggest spills"
Main Offer: $19.95 for a large can and a travel-size can
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay processing)
Starring: Phil Swift
Marketer: Swift Response
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is Mr. Swift's fifth attempt at DRTV success following Flex Seal, and he continues to exhibit an unwillingness to 'think outside the can.' As one industry veteran recently put it to me: "We do what we know." I accept that because it makes sense. What doesn't make sense is the failure to pay attention and learn from DRTV history.

Thinking you can out-pitch Marc Gill is one thing. But thinking you can succeed where the family who brought us OxiClean and Orange Glo failed is quite another.

Actually, this will be the third time this concept was tried on DRTV. NanoDyze was the second.

May 08, 2013

Bonz Bakery

Description: Bakeware for dog treats
Main Pitch: "The first bake set just for your dog"
Main Offer: $10 for one silicone tray, recipe book and peanut butter mix
Bonus: Paw tray (just pay S&H)
Marketer: Emson
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

I believe that in DR, the third time is never the charm. So what about the fourth time? Well, that's when I declare a DRTV concept a "Siren" (for more, see my April column).

Here's the history, all from 2011 as it turns out:

All three projects were never heard from again. One bright spot: Apparently my work was admired because this commercial begins with an homage to my commercial. I'm flattered.

Arch Pumps

Description: Inflatable insoles
Main Pitch: "The customizable insoles that conform to your exact foot shape"
Main Offer: $19.95 for a pair
Bonus: 2nd pair (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Ontel
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Insoles top my list of categories to avoid. I've seen only failures and no successes.

It seemed this same marketer was about to prove me wrong with Strutz Sole Angels, but then the campaign didn't make my True Top Spenders for 2012. The Website is still live, but if that's the best this category can do ...

Sleek Straps

Description: Clip-on undergarment straps
Main Pitch: "Sensational styling straps that hold shapewear in place"
Main Offer: $10 for three pairs (black, nude & white)
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Monte-Brooks
Prediction: On the fence

Is this a real problem? Will women like the look of this solution? Without market research, I wouldn't dare try to answer these questions. And because this item is unique in concept, I can't rely on DRTV history, either.

The closest product I can think of to this one would be Strap Perfect, which was a hit but also solved a completely different problem.

Bottom line: Your guess is as good as mine!

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Brushy Bowl. Marketer: Lenfest. Producer: Opfer. Pitch: "The revolutionary dog dish designed specifically to brush away bad dog breath lickety-split." Comments: A 'fast fail.' You can still watch the spot here for now. [ss]
  3. Cel Lens. Pitch: "The four-time magnifying lens that fits onto any mobile device with a camera." Comments: Another 'fast fail,' it would seem, since the site is already down. You can still watch the spot here for now. [ss]
  5. Magic Closer. Pitch: "Remembers to close your garage even when you forget." Comments: Selling on negative emotions such as fear and paranoia (did I close the garage door? did I leave the iron on?) seldom works. Indeed, I pity the poor person who experiences these worries intensely enough to order this product! [ss]
  7. R2L. Pitch: "Proven in FCC certified labs to reduce cell phone radiation by up to 70 percent." Comments: Amatuer hour. When you have to use lines like, "you can't see it but it's there" in your commercial, you should save the money. Also: Does anyone besides the 'tin-foil hat' crowd think this is a real problem? [ss]
  9. Sport Aquarium. Pitch: "The ultimate freshwater fish aquarium for sports fans everywhere." Comments: What a bizarre and random item to try on DRTV! At least it's unique. [ss]
  11. Super Fast Drain Cleaner. Starring: Professor Amos. Pitch: "Works so fast that it'll shock you." Comments: This is the HSN star's second recent attempt at DRTV success. His first was Shock It Clean (#10 in this Weekly Round-Up from August of last year). [ss]
  13. Youth Perfect. Starring: Maryann Batiste. Pitch: The "pillow case designed to protect your youth." Comments: In DR, the third time is never the charm. Smooth As Silk and Beauty Silkz were the first two attempts. Love My Face, a pillow with similar properties, was also tried. [ss]