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)

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