August 03, 2020

New & True: Star Belly Dream Lites

Description: A plush toy & night light
Pitch: "A star-gazing dreamworld...shepherds your child off to sleep"
Offer: $29.99 for one (choice of seven characters)
Bonus: None
Brand: Dream Lites
Marketer: Ontel
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Rank: No. 8*
Visit Website

Dream Lites was a 2012 True Top Spender. This product has elements of that hit as well as two items that dueled in 2013 but did not roll out: Telebrands' Tummy Lites and IdeaVillage's Flashlight Friends.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 31 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Angel Sleeper

Description: An orthopedic pillow
Pitch: "Designed to give back and side sleepers a better night's sleep"
Offer: $39.99 for one (standard size)
Bonus: Buy two, get free shipping
Brand: Copper Fit
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Blue Reef
Rank: No. 7*
Visit Website

This tested in the fall of last year. In 2019, all of the major marketers tried at least one pillow.

Tests included Allstar's Slumber Zone; Emson's Better Comfort, Zip Sense and U-Fill Pillow; Ontel's Cool Gel Pillow and Adjustable Miracle Bamboo Pillow; and Telebrands' Egg Sleeper.

So far, this is the only one to make it to "New & True."

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 31 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Bionic Spotlight

Description: A solar-powered security light
Pitch: "Automatically turns on the instant motion is detected"
Offer: $19.95 for one with free shipping
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Brand: Bell+Howell
Marketer: Emson
Producer: Opfer
Rank: No. 6*
Visit Website

This is the second security light Emson has tried. In March, they tested Bionic Light, which was originally called Bionic Ball.

There have been several Bionic hoses as well, including Bionic Flex Pro, which I posted in June.

Several other security lights have been tried by other marketers. Telebrands did one in 2017 under the Atomic Beam brand called Dynamic Duo. A few months later, Ontel tested another one called Night Hawk.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 31 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: GuardWell Face Protector

Description: A full face protector
Pitch: "The most comfortable face protection you'll ever wear"
Offer: 2 for $19.99
Bonus: None
Brand: Copper Fit
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Blue Reef
Rank: No. 3*
Visit Website

This is a cross between two products marketed during this pandemic: copper-infused masks and protective gaiters such as the Mission Instant Cooling Gear unit.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 31 (Source: AdSphere)

July 01, 2020

Finishing Touch Flawless Nu Razor

Description: A women's shaver
Pitch: "200 facets of hair removal precision"
Offer: $39.99 for one
Bonus: Free shipping
Brand: Finishing Touch Flawless
Marketer: IdeaVillage/Church & Dwight
Producer: Blue Reef
Rank: No. 1*
Visit Website

When I prepared my 2020 True Top Spenders Mid-Year Check In, I noticed a few items were missing from the blog archives. This is one of them. It is now No. 1 on the charts and No. 4 for the year to date.

FYI: This product is similar to Flawless Body, which was on the charts last year.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 26 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Happy Nappers

Description: Pillows that convert to a sleeping bag
Pitch: "They love to sleep and play with you"
Offer: Starting at $39.99
Bonus: $10 off additionals
Marketer: Jay at Play
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Rank: No. 7*
Visit Website

This is a recycled brand name. The original Happy Nappers were similar in design to Pillow Pets.

The original campaign ran in 2011 and was No. 18 on the JW Annual that year. It helped spark the plush craze that took over the industry in the ensuing years.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 26 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Mission Instant Cooling Gear

Description: A face and neck covering (gaiter)
Pitch: "Helps protect you from harmful elements"
Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: Buy 3, get 1 free
Brand: Mission
Marketer: Allstar
Rank: No. 13*
Visit Website

This is one of six resuable face coverings that have been tested during the coronavirus pandemic.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 26 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Air Police 4

Description: A disposable face mask
Pitch: "Four layers of protection"
Offer: $19.90 for 10 masks
Bonus: Free shipping on larger orders
Brand: Air Police
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Bluewater
Rank: No. 17*
Visit Website

This is one of five disposable masks that have been tested during the coronavirus pandemic.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week XX (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: My Foldaway Fan

Description: A rechargeable fan
Pitch: "Unfolds into your own personal wind machine"
Offer: 2 pay of $19.99 for one
Bonus: None
Brand: Bell+Howell/My Foldaway
Marketer: Emson
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Rank: No. 20*
Visit Website

This is a brand extension of My Foldaway Mirror, which was No. 48 on the 2018 True Top 50.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 26 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Cup Call

Description: A cell phone holder
Pitch: "Expands or contracts to lock into any size cup holder"
Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one plus 10-pack of masks (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Company
Rank: No. 29*
Visit Website

Telebrands marketed a similar product called GPS Pal in 2008. It also made an appearance on the first episode of Discovery's PitchMen in 2009.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 26 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Breeze Blast

Description: A portable air cooler
Pitch: "Delivers a refreshing cool breeze powered by ice"
Offer: $39.99 for one with 3 Blast Packs
Bonus: 2nd set for 50% off, free shipping
Brand: Sharper Image
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Rank: No. 38*
Visit Website

This is something rare: A truly new and unique innovation. I can see why it's doing well.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 26 (Source: AdSphere)

June 29, 2020

True Top Spenders Mid-Year Check In

I am no longer publishing a mid-year True Top 50. If I were, here is how the Big 5 marketers would rank:

  1. Emson
  2. Telebrands
  3. IdeaVillage
  4. Ontel
  5. Allstar

That’s based on the number of campaigns that have spent at least $1 million (based on DRMetrix spend estimates) during the first six media months of the year. IdeaVillage would actually be No. 2 if I counted the four Finishing Touch Flawless campaigns that are now listed under Church & Dwight.

Now here’s how that same list would look based on total DRMetrix spending:

  1. IdeaVillage
  2. Emson
  3. Telebrands
  4. Ontel
  5. Allstar

IdeaVillage is No. 1, and that’s without even including the Finishing Touch Flawless campaigns in the spending calculation.

Lastly, for fun, here’s how the list would look based on Top 25 rollouts only:

  1. Emson
  2. IdeaVillage
  3. Telebrands
  4. Ontel
  5. Allstar

Emson has 17 campaigns over all and six in the Top 25. IdeaVillage has eight campaigns overall, and more than half are in the Top 25. (Adding Church & Dwight campaigns would get IdeaVillage to 12 and nine.) Telebrands has 11 campaigns overall and four in the Top 25. Ontel and Allstar tie at four each with two and no campaigns in the Top 25, respectively.

As for Paragon Products, we have six campaigns overall and two in the Top 25.

I was too lazy to run down the producers for all of the campaigns that spent above $1 million, but it seems the usual True Top Producers are continuing their reign. Between Copper Fit and all the Finishing Touch Flawless creatives, Blue Reef has eight campaigns in the Top 25 alone. Hutton-Miller has three in that set, and Paddock Productions has two.

Congratulations to everyone who is already having a great year. I’ll name the official True Top 50 champions sometime in January 2021. Good luck, everyone!

June 01, 2020

New & True: Calming Heat

Description: A weighted heating pad
Pitch: "Weighted pressure with the soothing relief of an extra-large heating pad, plus massaging"
Offer: $59.99 for one with storage bag
Bonus: 2nd one for 50% off, free shipping
Brand: Sharper Image/Calming Comfort
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Rank: No. 11*
Visit Website

This is Allstar's third rollout under the Calming Comfort brand. The first was the original Calming Comfort, and the second was ThermaComfort.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 22 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Bionic Flex Pro

Description: A hose
Pitch: "You can't top it and you can't stop it"
Offer: $19.95 for the 50-foot hose
Bonus: Free shipping
Brand: Bionic
Marketer: Emson
Rank: No. 24*
Visit Website

This is the third Bionic hose. The others are Bionic Steel Hose and Bionic Force.

Emson has also tested a Bionic Light, Bionic Trimmer and Bionic Spotlight.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 22 (Source: AdSphere)

May 04, 2020

New & True: Copper Fit Ice Knee

Description: A knee sleeve
Pitch: "The healing sensation of menthol and the energizing properties of CoQ10"
Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: Free shipping
Brand: Copper Fit
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Blue Reef
Rank: No. 7*
Visit Website

This is the first Copper Fit-branded product I have logged this year and the 25th since the original Copper Fit first hit the charts in 2014.

IdeaVillage launched two Copper Fit campaigns last year: a third version of Copper Fit Energy Socks (Easy On-Easy Off), which is currently No. 6 on the DRMetrix Top 40 chart, and a Copper Fit pillow called Angel Sleeper, which is currently No. 23.

Also on the Top 40 chart this week: Copper Fit Advanced Back Pro at No. 32 and Copper Fit Compression Gloves at No. 5. IdeaVillage is clearly on a roll again and looking to build yet another formidable brand.

On a related note: If you count the Flawless line, now with Church & Dwight, IdeaVillage has the top seven hits this week and eight of the top 10.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 18 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Shine Armor

Description: A car wax alternative
Pitch: "Shines, seals & protects your car's paint in just one easy step"
Offer: $19.99 for the bottle & 2 microfiber towels with free shipping
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Ontel
Rank: No. 8*
Visit Website

This product was originally tested under the name Armor Tech (or Auto Armor) about this time last year.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 18 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Turbo Pump

Description: A battery-powered pump
Pitch: "Transfer gas, water and more without the mess"
Offer: $19.99 for one with free shipping
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Ontel
Rank: No. 19*
Visit Website

This project was originally tested in September of 2017 under the name "Pump Perfect." It was tested again (under this name) in March of 2018 for $39.99.

It seems the project has finally found its success formula.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 18 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: Egg Pod

Description: A egg cooker & desheller
Pitch: "Perfectly cooked eggs come out – already deshelled and ready to enjoy"
Offer: $19.99 for one with free shipping
Bonus: None
Marketer: Emson/Paragon
Producer: Paddock
Rank: No. 28*
Visit Website

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 18 (Source: AdSphere)

April 08, 2020

Industry News: The Number is $17.9 Billion

In a new press release cheekily titled, "17.9 Billion Reasons Consumer-Response TV Advertising is Here to Stay," DRMetrix CEO Joseph Gray has revealed updated figures from his AdSphere 5 x 5 Industry Study.

According to the release, "$17.9 billion of national ad spending last year went to TV commercials that ask consumers to take action, such as by visiting a website or going to an app store."

Gray explains:

“Last year was another year of growth for the industry. That said, we’re definitely seeing an overall decline in recent weeks due to Covid-19. While we expect to see a downturn overall in advertising expenditures for 2020, we are seeing sectors of the industry actually increasing spend during this time.

“To help measure more recent impacts to the industry, we have created a television frequency tracking page on our website to provide insights on which sectors of the industry are increasing/decreasing frequency on national television.”

You can read the complete release here, download a free copy of the updated report here and visit the coronavirus impact tracker here.

April 06, 2020

Industry News: Arwen for Hire

Arwen Saxon, the voice of countless DRTV hits over the years, is now offering her services for hire.

Formerly of Sullivan Productions, Arwen is a highly talented voice-over artist, producer and writer. A few of the well-known hits she helped create include: DermaSuction, Swivel Sweeper, H2O X5 Steam Mop and Hurricane 360 Spin Mop.

Arwen was already a well-established pro when I first showed up on her set as a wet-behind-the-ears DRTV novice. In fact, she has more than 30 years in the business and her company, NuVizions Media, will celebrate its 20th anniversary April 20. The company's services include "broadcast quality voice overs for DRTV, commercials, industrial and educational videos."

If you are looking to work with one of the industry's top talents, I strongly recommend you visit the NuVisions website and give Arwen a call.

March 20, 2020

How is the Coronavirus Impacting DR?

Have you been wondering about the impact of the coronavirus on our industry? Me, too. Now, DRMetrix is helping to provide an answer.

Yesterday, the research firm launched a new interactive tool that monitors daily airings (ad units) for different types of direct-to-consumer advertising across the 130 national networks its AdSphere system monitors.

"TV viewing should be on the rise due to the coronavirus pandemic leaving millions of Americans housebound," DRMetrix CEO Joseph Gray wrote in his blog post announcing the new tool. But several questions remain, he added. For instance, "will greater television viewership levels help to sustain the industry or will there be a pull back?" And if traditional brand advertisers pull back, "will we see more direct-to-consumer advertising filling the gap and, if so, what types?"

The interactive chart is meant to provide those answers. It shows ad units by day beginning March 1 and will be updated daily. However, it "may take a week or two before the chart begins to paint a picture of what’s [actually] happening," Gray said.

You can access the DRMetrix tool here or by clicking the image above.

March 02, 2020

New & True: TacShaver

Description: An electric shaver
Pitch: "Works wet or dry for a great shave in even the harshest conditions"
Offer: $29.99 for one with free shipping
Bonus: None
Brand: Bell+Howell
Starring: Nick Bolton
Marketer: Emson/Paragon
Producer: Paddock
DRMetrix Rank: No. 14*
Visit Website

Written by yours truly. This is the 12th "TAC" product we have rolled out. Also on the DRMetrix Top 40 this week: TacVisor (#21).

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* Based on weekly monitoring by AdSphere.™ To learn more or to try it for free, click here.

February 10, 2020

New & True: TacVisor

Description: A polarized sun visor
Pitch: "Blocks glare without blocking your view"
Offer: $19.99 for one with free shipping
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Brand: Bell+Howell
Starring: Nick Bolton
Marketer: Emson/Paragon
Producer: Paddock
Rank: No. 12*
Visit Website

Written by yours truly. This is the 11th "TAC" product we have rolled out.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 6 (Source: AdSphere)

February 03, 2020

New & True: 2020 Battle for the White House

Description: A chess set
Pitch: "Memorialize this historic election"
Offer: $39.99 for the set
Bonus: 2nd set (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Rank: No. 22*
Visit Website

DRTV companies have a long history of cashing in on election fever. See, for example, my special report from 2008, Telebrands' Trump Thumb Flag from 2016 or Trumpy Bear, which is topping the charts again this week.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 5 (Source: AdSphere)

New & True: No Stitch

Description: An adhesive powder
Pitch: "The easiest way to hem, mend and fix your clothes ever"
Offer: $19.99 for the heat wand & bottle of powder
Bonus: Double the powder (free), free shipping
Marketer: Emson
Rank: No. 20*
Visit Website

Telebrands originally tested this project in January of 2019. A year later, it has switched marketers and is now in rollout.

The project is reminiscent of the Old Gold item Mighty Mendit (from Media Enterprises, now Top Dog), which starred the late, great Billy Mays and peaked at No. 37 on the 2010 JW Annual.

Since then, several attempts to bring it back have failed. They include: Tristar's attempt with the original product, Liqui Sew (2014), Emson/Paragon's tactical version, TacMender (July 2018), and Allstar's Secure Stitch (November 2018).

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 5 (Source: AdSphere)

January 13, 2020

The 2019 True Top 50


(Click to see the complete chart)

It's time once again to reveal the best of the best. Congratulations to the new champions of 2019!

TRUE TOP MARKETER

This will be a bit anticlimactic as I had already announced who my 2019 pick was going to be when IdeaVillage sold the Flawless/Finishing Touch line to Church & Dwight for nearly $1 billion. That announcement stands. For this unprecedented accomplishment, your 2019 True Top Marketer is IdeaVillage.

The marketer also happened to be No. 1 in equivalized TV spending, topping $73 million if you add up all 11 of their top 50 campaigns. Emson was second in this ranking at $62 million.

However, if IdeaVillage hand't pulled off the feat of the decade, and I used my usual method of ranking, Emson would have topped IdeaVillage by having three more rollouts in the top 50. Here's the Big Five ranking:

  1. Emson (14)
  2.  
  3. IdeaVillage (11)
  4.  
  5. Telebrands (9)
  6.  
  7. Allstar (3)
  8.  
  9. Ontel (3)

I used spending to break the tie between Ontel and Allstar. (It was close!)

TRUE TOP PRODUCER

With IdeaVillage using one primary producer for its branded work, your 2019 True Top Producer will also come as no surprise: Blue Reef. This is Mr. Fanjoy's 3rd title.

Three of the top producers are becoming quite predictable as they appear in the top five every year. For 2019, they are your top three. Here's the ranking:

  1. Blue Reef (10)
  2.  
  3. Hutton-Miller (9)
  4.  
  5. Paddock (5)
  6.  
  7. Kerrmercials (4)
  8.  
  9. Sullivan (3)

Bluewater technically tied with Sullivan for number of rollouts in the top 50. I again used spending to break the tie.

TRUE TOP FEEDER

I'm retiring this category due to lack of competition. For those who are interested, Paragon Products had four in the top 50: Bell+Howell Tac Visor (No. 7), Bell+Howell Tac Glasses (No. 30), Bell+Howell Tac Amplifier (No. 36) and Bell+Howell Flip-Up TacGlasses (No. 39).

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January 06, 2020

New & True: Clean Zone

Description: A CPAP cleaner & sanitizer
Pitch: "Cleans, sanitizes and eliminates 99% of germs and bacteria"
Offer: $99.99 for one
Bonus: Mask-sanitizing bag (free)
Marketer: Top Dog
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Rank: No. 16*
Visit Website

The leader in this category is SoClean.

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* DRMetrix Weekly Top 40, Short Form Week 1 (Source: AdSphere)