March 03, 2014

Bell + Howell Super Nova Lantern

Description: An LED lantern
Main Pitch: "The unique, super-charged lantern that's so much more"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Emson
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

The industry's reaction to the success of Olde Brooklyn Lantern has been sadly predictable: Everyone has tried their own version of an LED lantern, hoping they would be the one to break the rules (i.e. there's only room for one and the Phoenix takes years to rise again).

Here's a list of seven attempts I have noted (and these are just the lanterns):

  1. Catch-A-Light (Jan 2014)
  2. Handy Lantern (Dec 2013)
  3. Sun Genie (Dec 2013)
  4. Liberty Lantern (Aug 2013)
  5. Pocket Lantern (Aug 2013)
  6. London Railroad Lantern (March 2013)
  7. Maxini (Oct 2012)

Full disclosure: I was involved with one of the above projects (Maxini), so I am not immune to the Siren's allure. However, I was also involved with Life Lantern (No. 5 in this Weekly Round-Up), the first LED lantern to be tried on TV, so perhaps I can be excused for having trouble letting go.

My second experiment in this general category (EverLight in Dec 2013) helps answer the "but it's different!" objection. Emson's item breaks apart into two flashlights and has a built-in compass. EverLight was an emergency light with lantern-like properties, task light and night light all in one. That significant difference didn't matter, and it is unlikely to matter here, either.

Interestingly, Telebrands itself tested two of the items listed above (Pocket Lantern, London Railroad Lantern), so it seems no one is immune!

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