July 30, 2007

90 Days Later: Sticky Nips, Tap ‘N Glow, Slime and more

As promised, each week I am revisiting the DRTV items I covered 90 days ago. Counting backward from this week puts us in the week ending May 4 (when I was still sending out email reports instead of publishing them here). Here’s a quick recap of what I covered, what my comments were and whether any of the items appear on the latest IMS and Jordan Whitney reports …

  1. STICKY NIPS (www.StickyNips.com), adhesive silicone pieces that allow women to change the shape and contour of their nipples. I predicted that it wouldn't work, and it is nowhere to be found on either list.
  2. TAP 'N GLOW TRI-LITE, a cube-shaped Tap Light that has three brightness settings. I predicted it was unlikely to succeed and wrote, "This spot is a great test of a theory of mine: When a DRTV category is saturated, no matter how much better your product is, it won't sell." I argued that the product faced this challenge because most DRTV "customers have already purchased a Stick-Up Bulb, Stick 'N Click or Quik Brite. There aren't enough prospects left to sustain a CPO.” Today, it is nowhere to be found on either list.
  3. MYOTRIM, a diet pill. I predicted that it wouldn't work, and it is nowhere to be found on either list.
  4. PRESTO (www.PrestoNow.com), an email solution for seniors. I wrote, "Obviously, it won't perform in a pure DRTV sense, but the price and ongoing revenue opportunity is high enough that the economics should work.” Today, it isn't on either list. Beyond that, the status is unknown.
  5. SLIME (www.SlimeSystem.com), a beauty cream from Telebrands. The secret ingredient is snail slime. I predicted it wouldn't work because women are highly unlikely to smear slime on their faces. Today, it is nowhere to be found on either list.
  6. EXTRA HANDS (www.BuyExtraHands.com), over-size tongs for tossing salads from Incredible Discoveries. I predicted that it wouldn't work, and it is nowhere to be found on either list.

Of course, it’s easy to predict that an item won't succeed when the odds of success on DRTV are 1 in 20 at best. What I'm really waiting to see is how good I am at predicting hits!

July 29, 2007

Brand Polls Criticized At Last

Advertising Age, the publication of record for advertising executives, published a piece by Matthew Creamer July 23 that questions the worth of brand opinion polls. It's about time.

Creamer illustrates the problem with these polls by taking a closer look at a company that has topped Harris Interactive's "best brands" poll since 2000: Sony Corp. He writes: "In recent years ... [the company] has stood helpless as Apple eats its lunch in the portable-music-player category it created; as it was forced to recall 10 million defective laptop batteries; and as its next-generation video-game console [the PS3] flopped like a sumo wrestler." Yet when people are asked which brands they consider best, Sony continues to top the list because of its near-universal brand awareness.

Creamer has hit upon a deeper truth, something direct-response marketers have known for more than a century: Awareness does not equal sales. In fact, as the Sony example shows, there is often no correlation between the two.

Of course, Creamer's answer to this flawed opinion poll is a better opinion poll that measures purchase intent or brand loyalty. But that's no solution, either. Ask a focus group if they would pay $20 for your new product, and a majority will likely say yes. Ask them to open their wallets on the way out and plunk down $20 for one of your product samples, and watch that majority mysteriously evaporate. Consumers are famous for saying one thing -- and then buying another.

Perhaps someday the larger advertising world will realize what DR marketers already know: It makes little sense to measure opinions when it's really sales you're after.

July 27, 2007

New Items: Seal-Tite, MXZ Wrench, The Tornado and more

Here's my report on the latest DRTV items to air. As described in an earlier post, I am adding a D7 Score to each new item I cover. My intention is to check on items 90 days after they debut to see if my score holds up as a predictor of what will succeed.

1. SEAL-TITE ($19.95) is a tire-repair kit under the Simoniz brand. When you get a flat tire, you’re supposed to squeeze this liquid into the air valve, re-inflate the tire and start driving. The liquid rolls around and seals the leak from within. The main claim: “Get back on the road in 10 minutes” without having to use a lug wrench or spare tire. The offer includes a portable air compressor with inflation adaptors and a digital pressure gauge. The bonus is a roadside safety kit with warning triangle, flashlight and safety vest (just pay S&H). This is a Billy Mays commercial. www.BuySealTite.com
D7 Score: 6 out of 7   (What's "D7"?)
Strengths: This item is a unique, mass market product that solves a problem. It's also priced right, easy to explain and appeals to people 50+. Oh, and it has Billy Mays!
Weaknesses: The idea of using a liquid to repair a tire is lacking in believability. Also, tire gauges, air compressors and safety kits aren't very exciting.

2. MXZ POWER WRENCH ($19.95) is an adjustable wrench that firmly grips and turns different-size nuts and bolts. It also features a built-in wire cutter. The main claim: “Locks on to any nut or bolt and never slips.” The offer includes an extra-large, interchangeable jaw for pipe fittings, etc. The bonus is a pipe-cutting jaw and a carrying case. Then they also include a five–piece screwdriver set with LED flashlight and telescopic magnetized retriever attachment (just pay S&H). This is an Emson product. No URL
D7 Score: 5 out of 7
Strengths: This item is a line extension of the MXZ Pocket Saw, a 2006 DRTV hit. It's mass market and priced right. It's also easily explained, credible and could appeal to consumers 50+.
Weaknesses: Unfortunately, this new tool isn’t nearly as unique as its predecessor, and it doesn’t solve a real problem. The commercial doesn't offer a compelling reason to buy this product and use it instead of your wrench of choice.

3. DRIP-TITE ($19.95) is an expandable tray that catches drips from underneath sinks. The idea is that you’re protecting your home from mold. The main claim: “Half of all kitchens have mold even if you can’t see it or smell it.” The offer is buy one, get one free. www.DripTite.com
D7 Score: 4 out of 7
Strengths: This item is unique and mass market. It's also easily explained and credible.
Weaknesses: The problem this product solves can’t be seen, and that's a major challenge. The offer is weak as well: It's hard to sell a piece of plastic for $20 and have people think they're getting a good deal. Lastly, the idea that a plastic tray prevents mold is lacking in credibility.

4. THE TORNADO (Free Trial, Just Pay S&H)) is a device that transfers files between computers. The main claim: “The world’s only pocket-sized data transfer computer.” The offer is to try it free for 30 days, just pay $9.95 S&H. (The actual price is $49.95.) There’s no bonus, but there is a challenge/guarantee: “If you can network two PCs and transfer a file between them faster and easier, [the inventor] will pay you $100,000.” www.TryTheTornado.com
D7 Score: 4 out of 7
Strengths: This is a cool item that won an award for “best gadget.” It's unique and credible, and it appeals to the mass market in the sense that most people have computers these days. They also do a great job of explaining the item.
Weaknesses: Although I can see this selling well in the techie niche market, it is not a DRTV item. Tech items skew younger; DRTV buyers skew older. Second, it solves an infrequent problem for most people. The opening talks about buying a new computer and having to transfer the files. How often does that happen? Third, the ultimate price ($50) is too high for DRTV buyers.

5. DREAM PETS ($29.99) is a lifelike plush pet that looks like it’s sleeping – and breathing. The main claim: “So realistic you might expect them to wake up when you touch them.” There are two versions: a golden retriever puppy and an orange tabby kitten. The offer includes adoption papers as well as a collar, carrying case and brush. The bonus is a fleece bed, just pay S&H. This is a Blue Moon commercial. www.BuyDreamPets.com
D7 Score: 4 out of 7
Strengths: This item is unqiue, easy to explain and it faces no credibility issues. It is positioned as a pet for people or kids who don't want the responsibility of owning a pet. But I think it will appeal to pet owners who like cutesy pet things: the kind of people who put sweaters on their little dogs or have a collection of painted porcelain cat plates. Luckily, the DRTV audience is likely to have a higher percentage of these people than the general population, since it skews older and female.
Weaknesses: Unluckily, the 'cutesy pet' market is a niche market, so the campaign is only likely to work in a limited way. Also, the item doesn't solve a real problem and it's expensive for DRTV.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 7/20/07,” IMS (1-4); "Vol. XVI, No. 39-B, 07/20/07," Jordan Whitney (5)

July 26, 2007

Playing the Odds in Marketing

Laura Ries, daughter and partner of Al Ries and my favorite blogress, has an interesting post on playing the odds in marketing. She writes that while it’s true there are no absolutes, “the laws of branding work most of the time.” Yet “people only want to look for the exceptions.”

This echoes a quote from her father that I used to have hanging on the door of my office:

“[In advertising] you can always find at least one exception to every rule. You have a choice. You can either live by the rules and accept the possibility that you might miss an opportunity because you didn’t break the rules. Or you can live a life of anarchy.”

In meetings about potential new DRTV products, I’ve taken to articulating this point in basketball terminology. I talk about “lay-ups,” “three pointers” and so on. Want to market a new $19.99 kitchen gadget on DRTV? That’s a lay-up. Convinced we can market a $50 iPod accessory on DRTV? You’re slinging the ball underhand from the half-court line, my friend.

I’ve found this language helps our team focus and prioritize, as opposed to just getting offended that I’m down on their idea. And it accurately explains the challenge we face. Whenever we’ve had dry spells with no hits on the air, it hasn’t been because we were taking shots and missing. It’s been because we were taking half-court shots and missing.

July 24, 2007

The Divine Seven

Update: The results are in! My success rate using the D7 to pick winners is one in three, while the industry average is one in eight. Seems the criteria really work. See my April 7, 2008 post for more.

How important is marketing to the success of a DRTV product? The answer is “very important” – but only if you start out with a product that’s right for the DRTV market.

The best marketing in the world isn’t going to sell a product that lacks inherent appeal to DRTV buyers. That means DRTV marketers need to use very specific criteria when deciding which new product ideas they will spend time, money and resources bringing to market.

During my career, I’ve compiled a master list of 14 of these criteria. Of these, I believe seven are so critical to the success of any DRTV product that I call them the “The Divine Seven.” In my opinion, the odds of having a hit DRTV campaign are highest when your product is:

  1. UNIQUE. Simply put, it must be different and new. That means it must be something most people haven’t seen it before, or something most people think they haven’t seen it before.
  2. MASS MARKET. It must appeal to a large enough market. Niche products seldom succeed.
  3. PROBLEM SOLVING. It has to solve a perceived problem that doesn’t already have a good-enough solution. Aspirational products just don’t play on DRTV.
  4. PRICED RIGHT. It should be $20 or less. Since DRTV purchases are impulse purchases, it’s very hard to make anything priced above $20 work. The price should also meet or exceed the perceived value of the product. DRTV buyers demand a bargain.
  5. EASILY EXPLAINED. People need to be able to understand what it does quickly. The best way to accomplish this is to select products that are simple and highly demonstrable.
  6. AGE APPROPRIATE. It should appeal to people over the age of 50, or at least not exclude this group. That’s because the typical DRTV buyer is 50+.
  7. CREDIBLE. People must believe it works as advertised. Many DRTV items that meet the previous six criteria fail here because the promise they make just isn’t believable.
I remember these criteria with the following sentence: "A successful DRTV product is a UNIQUE, MASS MARKET PROBLEM SOLVER that’s PRICED RIGHT, EASILY EXPLAINED, AGE APPROPRIATE and CREDIBLE."

The middle five are the most critical. That's because they're also the most objective. Whether a product is unique enough or credible enough for DRTV viewers is a matter of opinion (before the results come in). On the other hand, objective research can determine that a product is niche instead of mass market, and history has shown that such products are highly unlikely to succeed on DRTV. In fact, I'll go on record and say a product that misses in any one of the middle five categories is highly unlikely to succeed.

Since January of this year, I’ve been keeping track of how new items from the IMS and Jordan Whitney reports stack up against these criteria. My goal is to evaluate 100 DRTV products before I know whether they are hits, and then see how my criteria hold up. Will items that meet all seven criteria become hits as expected? Or will items that defy my criteria become hits, and cause me to re-evaluate how I screen products? Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I’ll be adding a “D7 Score” to each product I cover in my New Items report. Once I reach 100, I’ll share the results.

July 20, 2007

New Items: Awesome Auger, Craft-Lite Cutter, Series V Knife and more

Here’s my new report on the latest DRTV spots to air:

1. AWESOME AUGER ($19.95) is a long power drill attachment used for digging holes in the garden. The main claim: “Takes the hard work out of yard work.” The offer includes the “Ground Auger,” a shorter version for planting bulbs. The bonuses are the “Weed Auger,” which rips up weeds (just pay S&H), and a “power extender” (just pay S&H). Then they throw in the power drill (just pay S&H). This is an SAS Group product. Billy Mays is the spokesperson. www.BuyTheAuger.com
Comments: Might work in a limited way. Items in the gardening category face two major challenges: the category is seasonal and the market is niche. Still, this particular product may catch on among gardening enthusiasts, and the offer is huge – maybe too huge. A free power drill is just too good to be true. Southern Tools tried it as a bonus for their Bit Shooter product, and it shot the credibility of their offer and led to high levels of customer dissatisfaction. After all, what are the chances a DRTV company will ship you a quality power drill for free? Of course, the drill isn’t really free, which is another problem. Notice every bonus item that comes with this product carries a separate S&H charge. That’s going to kill a lot of sales.

2. YOUTHOLOGY ($39.99) is a wrinkle cream. The magic ingredient is “Active Rejuvatin.” The main claim: “Now you can make the visible signs of aging vanish instantly and look 10 years younger in just 90 seconds.” www.TryYouthology.com
Comments: There is nothing to distinguish this product from the other wrinkle creams on the market.

3. PET FLEX (Free Trial) is a dietary supplement for pets. You mix it in with the pet’s food and it improves joint health. The main claim: “Restore your pet’s active life.” No URL
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. People think of their pets as their children. They aren’t going to feed them something unknown without a lot of reassuring information. The commercial doesn’t offer it, and there is no Web site to visit for more information.

4. RACK & ROLL ($21.95) is a paper towel dispenser. It hangs over the back of a door. The bonus is a paper towel holder. www.TheRackAndRoll.com
Comments: This product doesn't solve a painful problem, and the offer is weak.

5. CLOSET DOUBLER ($12.99) is Telebrands’ Tap ‘N Turn, a space-saving device for closets, under a new name. It's a hanging device that connects to the side of a closet and drops down, so clothes hang vertically. It requires installation, but the process is just "tap" (goes into wall) and "turn" (handle screws it in). The offer is buy one, get one free. The bonus is a “rod unit” that’s double-sided and connects to the center of a closet rod (just pay S&H). www.ClosetDoubler.com
Comments: Same challenges as the original. It doesn't look like a quality piece, and it lacks credibility. People won't believe it's strong enough if the installation is so easy.

6. TOILET TUNES ($29.95) is a digital sound machine that automatically plays music or nature sounds the moment you lift your toilet lid. The idea is to conceal embarrassing bathroom noises. The offer includes a peel-and-stick sensor that goes under the toilet lid and the receiver/sound machine. The bonus is a spa pillow for the bathtub. www.GetToiletTunes.com
Comments: This is an interesting twist on Sharper Image’s Sound Soother device. But I don’t see how it’s going to cover bathroom noises. Also, it doesn’t do anything a small radio or CD player couldn’t do except go on automatically.

7. CRAFT-LITE CUTTER ($19.99) is a lighted cutting device for photos and craft projects. It has interchangeable blades for different styles of cuts, and a swing-out ruler. The offer includes three blades: a straight edge, a wave edge and a zig-zag edge. The bonus is three additional blades (scoring, stamp and perforation). This is a Merchant Media product and a Blue Moon Studios commercial. www.CraftLiteCutter.com
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. As a practical item, it doesn’t solve a big enough problem. Scissors have been a “good enough” solution for decades for a reason. As a craft item, it becomes a niche product.

8. SERIES V KNIFE ($19.99) is a 12-piece knife set. The main claim: These are “laser honed” knives so no matter what you cut, “they’ll never lose their edge.” The offer includes a 10-inch serrated slicer, an 8-inch flex chopper, a set of steak knives, an “ultimate kitchen knife,” and a multi-use knife that peels, grates, slices and serves. The bonus is a Japanese Santoku knife. This is a Chef Tony commercial. No URL
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. Kitchen knives are a tried-and-true DRTV category, and they lend themselves to some great demos. Chef Tony has them all down pat, so the spot is visually exciting. The problem is that the category is super-crowded these days. Go to any discount store, and you’ll find knife sets of every nationality and variety. The Ginsu days are long gone. So while this set is a great value and has a few interesting highlights – I especially like the multi-use knife – there’s not enough here to motivate people off the couch.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 7/13/07,” IMS (1-5); "Vol. XVI, No. 38-B, 07/13/07," Jordan Whitney (6-8)

July 18, 2007

The State Quarters Map Is Back!

We're bringing back one of the biggest DRTV hits of the last decade: the State Quarters map. Check out the first cut of our commercial below. Then, post your comments and take the two-minute survey. Your responses will help us get an early understanding of how this is going to perform, so do your best to answer as a consumer and not a DRTV expert (if you are one). Oh, and please feel free to send people you know the link to this blog, so they can watch the spot and take the survey as well!

July 13, 2007

New Items: Cleavage Control, Slice Wizard, MicroFiber Magic Sponge and more

It’s summertime, which means the airwaves are chock-full of new products vying to be the next big DRTV hit! Here’s my report on the latest ones to cross my desk:

1. CLEAVAGE CONTROL CLIPS ($19.95) are plastic clips that pull together and connect bra straps to create the appearance of a fuller bust. The main claim: “Enhance your cleavage instantly.” The offer includes two black, two white and two clear clips. The bonuses are a strapless adhesive bra (like Telebrands’ Natural Bra) and a set of silicone breast petals. www.CleavageControlClip.com
Comments: You can tell the infomercial industry is run by men. I’ve seen more boob products on DRTV in the last few years than there are DRTV companies! (I guess that’s the casting session and commercial shoot every male CEO wants to attend.) Anyway, this particular boob product is unlikely to succeed because of the low perceived value of the product and the lack of “wow factor.” At the end of the day, it’s just a plastic clip.

2. HAWAII CHAIR (6 pay, $69.99) is an exercise chair with a motorized seat that moves in a “hula dance” motion. The idea is that it gives you a core workout while you sit around. The main claim: It “takes the work out of your workout.” No bonus. www.HawaiiChair.com
Comments: Prediction? Bomb! There are several things wrong with this product and this commercial. First, the product will make you look and feel stupid when you use it. This should not be underestimated as a barrier to purchase. Second, it is WAY too expensive for DRTV – and for mass-market consumers in general. Topping it all off, the commercial is hokey.

3. MICROFIBER MAGIC SPONGE ($19.99) is a two-sided microfiber sponge. The “grime buster” (rough) side is for sticky messes and baked-on grease. The soft side is for wiping and polishing. The main claim: “Clean faster, easier and better without chemicals.” The offer includes four sponges plus a jumbo sponge for washing cars, trucks and RVs. The bonus is double the offer, just pay S&H on the second set. This is an Ontel product and a Sullivan Productions commercial. www.MicroFiberMagicSponge.com
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. After watching the spot, you’re left with the impression that this is just a fancy sponge, which is to say it isn’t exciting enough to motivate people off the couch. Perhaps if the commercial sold the benefits of microfiber better, this product would have a shot.

4. HANDY PEEL ($10) is a pair of rubber gloves covered with rough nubs. You rub them over a potato or carrot while it’s under running water, and it wears away the skin. The main claim: It’s an “all-in-one rub, peel and scrub.” No bonus. This is a National Express product. www.HandyPeel.com
Comments: This is a knockoff of another TV item called Tater Mitts. I’m not sure who did it, but I don’t recall it working in a big way. It’s really just a novelty, so it will be hard to get the mass market excited, even at $10.

5. VIDALIA SLICE WIZARD ($19.99) is a kitchen slicer with seven different blade inserts. The action is similar to a deli slicer, but the unit is smaller. The main claim: “Perfect slices each and every time.” The offer includes a storage rack for the different blade inserts. The bonus is a pair of peeling gloves (see #4). This is another National Express product. The spokesperson is Billy Mays. No URL
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. This product is a line extension of National Express’s ongoing mega-hit, the Vidalia Chop Wizard, and line extensions rarely work. I don’t see why someone who has the chopper would also buy the slicer, especially since the uses overlap. Further reducing the odds is the perceived quality of the product: It just looks cheap. Lastly, it’s difficult to explain seven features in one short-form. Billy is great, but even he can’t fit a half hour’s worth of demos into a two-minute commercial! On a side note, I don’t understand the logic of giving away as a bonus an item you are also trying to sell on TV.

6. FRIDGE TO-GO ($29.95) is a soft drink cooler that chills beverages and then keeps them cold. The main claims: Chills “three times faster than a freezer and six times faster than a refrigerator.” Takes drinks “from room temp to cold in 20 minutes.” And “keeps drinks cold up to nine hours.” The offer includes two totes for the cooler and two “iCubes,” which are essentially molded freezer packs. The bonus is two pop-top can openers. This is an Incredible Discoveries product. www.BuyCaddyo.com
Comments: It’s innovative, and it solves a problem. On the other hand, it’s seasonal, and it’s a bit pricey for DRTV. That means the item will probably only work in a limited way.

7. TOOL BAND-IT ($19.95) is a magnetic armband that keeps tools in easy reach. The main claim: “Holds everything from small nails to large wrenches.” The bonus is two “bandit lights,” which are LED head lamps that strap to the forehead (just pay separate S&H). www.ToolBandit.com
Comments: Could be a winner! It’s unique, and it solves a problem. The only potential weaknesses are believability (can it really hold a bunch of heavy tools?) and practicality (how do you work when your arm is weighed down with a bunch of heavy tools?).

8. JUICE GENIE ($14.99) is an attachment that makes a blender work like a juicer. The main claim: “Turns you ordinary blender into a high-powered juice extractor.” The offer includes a food processor attachment and a recipe guide. The bonus is the “Citrus Genie,” which instantly cuts oranges and grapefruit into pieces with just a few twists. Then they double the offer. This is a Merchant Media product. www.JuiceGenie.com
Comments: Might just work. The Jack La Lane juicer is a big hit in the long-form world, and this spot uses the same pitch while offering a much more attractive price. Its only weakness is credibility. Will people believe a plastic insert can turn a blender into a juice extractor?

9. WOBBLE BUBBLE ($19.95) is a device for blowing giant bubbles. The offer includes a paddle for smacking the bubbles around. The bonus is a second set for just $5. No URL
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. It’s not different enough, and kids’ products are always handicapped by limited media choices.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 7/6/07,” IMS (1-7); "Vol. XVI, No. 37-B, 07/06/07," Jordan Whitney (8-9)

July 12, 2007

NutraMist Crave Control

We're working on a new DRTV commercial for a product called NutraMist Crave Control. I'd like your feedback and the feedback of people you know. You can watch the spot below. When you're done, take this online survey. The whole process will take you five minutes, but it will help us out tremendously!

July 09, 2007

Sales or Intangibles?

From Ad Age today: “A study to be published in the Journal of Marketing that covered 167 companies including Procter & Gamble, Microsoft and Apple over a five-year period concludes that CMOs on top management teams don't have any effect on a company's financial performance. The disheartening finding … is sure to reignite the longstanding debate afflicting the suite: Should a CMO be judged on tangible or intangible metrics? On solid stats such as sales, or on more amorphous concepts such as brand equity or even awareness?

I think Rosser Reeves answered this question best nearly 50 years ago: “Let’s say you are a manufacturer. Your advertising isn’t working and your sales are going down. And everything depends on it. Your future depends on it, your family’s future depends on it, other people’s families depend on it. And you walk into this office and talk to me, and you sit in that chair. Now, what do want out of me? Fine writing? Do you want masterpieces? Do you want glowing things that can be framed by copywriters? Or do you want to see the goddamned sales curve stop moving down and start moving up?

July 06, 2007

New Items: Body Wedge, Ab Complete, The Shade and more

Here's what's new in the short-form world this week:

1. BODY WEDGE 21 ($21) is an inflatable wedge used for doing ab exercises and other core strengthening routines. The main claim: Use it for “just 21 minutes a day to get the body of a 21 year old in just 21 days.” The offer includes a nutritional guide. The bonus is a DVD of “Advanced Tips and Techniques.” Comes with optional resistance bands. This is a Telebrands item. www.Bodywedge21.com
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. It’s hard to make a multi-use exercise item like this work in short-form. If it were tightly focused on abs, it might have a better shot. But abs is a crowded category right now with The Bean and Hip Hops Abs topping the infomercial charts.

2. AB COMPLETE ($1 Trial) is an ab machine that works like a rocking chair, providing resistance on the way down. The main claim: “With its amazing 4 in 1 Reverse Super Sculpt, [it] will shrink your waist 4 times faster than any other exercise machine on the market.” The offer is a $1 trial with free shipping. www.AbComplete.com
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. The product isn’t unique enough and, as mentioned above, the airwaves are crowded with competing ab products right now.

3. THE SHADE ($19.95) is a sun shade for a car’s windshield. It’s retractable and pleated (accordion-style). The main claim: It “keeps your car up to 60 degrees cooler.” The bonus is a “grip and go” all-weather velour steering wheel cover. www.BuyDashProducts.com
Comments: Might just work. Allstar’s Auto Cool was a major hit last summer, partly because of a major heat wave in the Northeast. This summer, temperatures are again topping 100 degrees. That said, this product is a lot less unique than Auto Cool. With the exception of it being mountable and retractable, people may wonder what real advantage it offers over traditional (and cheaper) auto shades.

4. REJUVENELLE (Free Trial) is a wrinkle cream. The main claim: It “reduces existing wrinkles and prevents new ones.” The offer is a free trial, just pay $9.95 S&H. The bonus is a dark circle under-eye treatment. www.GoAwayWrinkles.com
Comments: There is nothing to differentiate this product from all the other wrinkle creams on the market.

5. LOVIDO (Free Trial) is a male potency product from Norway. The main claim: “Helps boost sexual drive, stamina and energy.” The offer is a free trial, just pay $6.95 S&H. www.Lovido.com
Comments: The commercial lacks credibility. There is no reason to believe this product works or that’s it different from the male potency scams out there.

6. LACTAGEN (Free Trial) is a treatment for lactose intolerance. It’s a one-time, 38-day program that’s backed by medical and clinical trials. The main claim: “Enjoy dairy again without the worry and pain of symptoms.” The offer is a free trial, just pay $8.95 S&H. The bonus is a coupon for a free ice cream. www.EnjoyDairy.com
Comments: May work in a narrow way. Lactose intolerance isn’t a mass market problem, but for the people that have it, this product’s promise is unique and intriguing. One potential turn-off: After the 30-day trial, customers are billed three payments of $39.95.

7. RE-GRO (Free Trial) is a hair re-growth system for African American women. The bonus is a free scalp moisturizer. www.MyRegro.com
Comments: May work in a narrow way. There are two stations that this will work on especially well.

8. PUPPY STAIRS (Free Trial) is a knock-off of Telebrands’ Doggy Steps. This product comes in a variety of styles, including stairs, ramps and cubes. The main claim: Helps “dogs, cats, kittens and other pets get on and off sofas and beds safely.” The offer is a free trial. The bonus is a pet pillow cover. www.PuppyStairs.com
Comments: Unlikely to succeed. Besides being second to market, this product offers no advantage over Doggy Steps. Additionally, this company is offering a bewildering array of products with different fabric options that’s sure to confuse and dissuade anyone but the most motivated prospect.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 6/29/07,” IMS (1-7); "Vol. XVI, No. 36-B, 6/29/07," Jordan Whitney (8)