September 28, 2007

New This Week: Sham Wow, Buxton Bag, Leather Mender and more

Two potential winners this week!

1. SHAM WOW ($19.95) is a super-absorbent shammy cloth. The main claim: “Holds 21 times its weight in liquid.” The offer includes four shammy cloths, and then they double the offer to eight and add a 10-year warranty.
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7
(What’s “D7”?)
Pros: Mass market, problem solver, priced right, easily explained, age appropriate, credible
Cons: Not unique
(see Zorbeez)
Commercial (T&T) Score: 7 out of 10 (What’s “T&T”?)
Comments: There’s a lot to like about this DRTV commercial, and that’s because it features an old-school pitchman doing those amazing “live” demos you find at shows and fairs. In other words, this spot is true to the roots of DRTV. For this reason, it also feels highly authentic – a feeling that’s enhanced by the outdoor testimonials they use (which were probably filmed at a fair). Granted, this effect cuts both ways: The commercial also feels amateurish at times, which may make some people unwilling to trust the company with their credit card information. From a DRTV perspective, the commercial also lacks a painful problem opening and a clear explanation of WHY the shammy is so absorbent. Is it a special material? Ultimately, though, this product is likely to be a hit and take market share from Zorbeez.

2. BUXTON BAG ($19.95) is an over-the-shoulder leather bag for the highly organized. It has zippered pockets and compartments inside and out, and it’s expandable for larger items. The bag comes in black, red and tan. The bonus is the My Lil’ Reminder digital recorder with built-in LED. This is an Allstar product.
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7 (What’s “D7”?)
Pros: Unique, mass market, problem solver, priced right, age appropriate, credible
Cons: Difficult to explain

Commercial (T&T) Score: 8 out of 10 (What’s “T&T”?)
Comments: Allstar is an experienced short-form player, so this commercial hits many of the tried-and-true DRTV techniques. It features a solid problem opening, compelling demos and a classic value comparison (“you could pay $100!”). The only weakness I can see is that the commercial lacks a money-back guarantee, but that seems like nit-picking. If women like the product, this one should be a hit.

Six other commercials debuted this week, but none of them are likely to succeed on DRTV in my opinion.

3. LEATHER MENDER ($19.95) is a kit for repairing damaged leather or vinyl. The pitch: “Don’t throw it away; repair it.” The bonus is a Fabric Upholstery Repair Kit that’s supposed to “repairs tears & cigarette burns on any kind of upholstery.”
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7 (What’s “D7”?)
Pros: Mass market, problem solver, priced right, easily explained, age appropriate
Cons: Not unique or credible! (bad history)

4. RAPID BATH (3 pay, $26.66) is a handheld shower head for washing dogs in the bathtub. The main claim: “Cuts bath time to an amazing three minutes.” The offer includes a sample pack of five shampoos and a universal shower adapter. The bonus is a micro-fiber towel.
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7 (What’s “D7”?)
Pros: Unique, mass market, problem solver, age appropriate, credible
Cons: Expensive, difficult to understand features

5. DR. VETZ FLEX BOOST (Free Trial) is a joint supplement for pets. Unlike Dr. Frank’s product, it’s a powder not a spray. The main claim: “Relieve joint inflammation and arthritic pain.”
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7 (What’s “D7”?)
Pros: Problem solver, priced right, easily explained, age appropriate, credible
Cons: Not unique, for people with older dogs only (not mass market)

6. STRESS ROLLER ($19.95) is a massage device you roll along your shoulders and other tension areas. It looks like two racquet balls fused together. The main claim: “Gets rid of stress and tension in less than two minutes.” The offer includes a travel pouch. The bonus is a CD titled, “Relaxation by the Sea.”
Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7 (What’s “D7”?)
Pros: Mass market, problem solver, easily explained, age appropriate
Cons: Not unique (enough), expensive, lacking in credibility

7. GARAGE DOGG ($14.95) is an aerosol cleaning spray for things around the garage, such as chainsaws and hand tools. It breaks up “dirt, oil, grease and grime,” hence the name. The bonus is a container of Garage DOGG Shield, which protects your gear after you clean it.
Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7 (What’s “D7”?)
Pros: Mass market, problem solver, easily explained, age appropriate, credible
Cons: Not unique, a bit pricey

8. CLIP HANGER ($19.95) is an adhesive hook that allows you to hang your cell phone or music player on the outside of a purse, or clip it to your belt loop. The offer includes two clear clips and two Autohooks, which stick to the dashboard so you can hang your phone or music player using the clip. The bonuses are an American flag clip and a cell phone antenna booster.
Product (D7) Score: 3 out of 7 (What’s “D7”?)
Pros: Mass market, easily explained, credible
Cons: Not unique, doesn’t solve a real problem, low perceived value, won’t appeal to older consumers

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 9/21/07,” IMS (1, 3-8); "Vol. XVI, No. 48-B, 09/21/07," Jordan Whitney (2)

September 19, 2007

90 Days Later: Looking Back at June

I haven’t written this feature in a while, so I’m going to catch up by covering the entire month of June. In that month, I reviewed some 14 items of note. Only one of them ever popped up on the charts, and it disappeared a month later.

That item is the GRILL DADDY, a BBQ grill cleaning tool ( that squirts water. It appears on the IMS chart, but does not appear on the Jordan Whitney.

Of the remaining items, I thought two were going to be hits. Neither one made it. They are:

  • SPIN N' SPARKLE (, a cordless jewelry cleaning brush that comes with a spray-on cleaning solution. I loved everything about this product (except the URL), but it is nowhere to be found.
  • NAILS AR NEW (, a nail polish repair formula. I thought the item met all of the criteria. “It solves a real problem,” I wrote. “Women pay big bucks to have their nails done, only to ruin them a day later.” But again, it’s nowhere to be found.

And here are the remaining items that didn’t make it:

  • GRABIT, a two-sided drill bit that removes damaged screws and bolts. I thought it was a “tough sale on DRTV” since “damaged screw removers are available at retail for lower prices.”
  • HEALTHY TAP (, a small filter bag that improves the taste and quality of a gallon of tap water. I thought the product had “a major credibility problem.”
  • LE SPA (, a spinning shower brush integrated with a European-style shower head. “Handheld shower heads are common in Europe, but much less common in the United States,” I wrote. “That means the market for this product is limited.”
  • PLATINUM HAND MAGIC (, an anti-aging hand cream. I admitted that I had “no idea how big the problem perception” was for the item but thought the focus was too narrow.
  • TOPSY TURVY (, a hanging tomato planter that grows tomatoes upside-down. I felt it was a “cool item” but also a “niche item.” Even in season, it didn’t appear on the lists.
  • MAGIC CARRY (, a harness system for moving heavy objects, pitched by Billy Mays. As with the Forearm Forklifts, I thought the item lacked credibility. “I don't think people (especially the older, more fragile DRTV buyer) will believe that a system of straps will allow them to lift two or three times what they can lift normally,” I wrote.
  • FRESHINI PRO-STICK, a cordless kitchen power tool with multiple attachments. I thought it was a “long shot” because “there are a many superior products on the market that perform [the] same functions.”
  • MICRO-GRILL (, a Foreman-style grill that goes in the microwave. “Millions of DRTV buyers own and love the Foreman grill,” I wrote. “I don't think they're sitting around wishing they had a faster version of it.”
  • LITTER LOCKER (, a cat litter disposal system that looks like a diaper disposal. I thought it was a tough sell because it “only appeals to cat owners,” and they probably already have “a solution to the ‘smelly litter box’ problem.”
  • LATIN CARDIO (, a workout routine that combines Latin dance moves with a cardio workout routine. I thought it “could be a smoker, since Latin dance moves are more popular than Hip Hop dance moves,” and Hip Hop Abs was a hit. But I added that “short-form is the wrong form.”
  • KINOKI (, Japanese foot pads that are supposed to draw harmful toxins out of your body as you sleep. I felt it was “just not credible” and wrong for the American mass market.

September 18, 2007

New This Week: Tite-Grip, The Koolie, Dr. Frank’s for Dogs & Cats

Here are the latest items to air on DRTV:

1. TITE-GRIP ($39.99) is a floor mat for cars with locking anchors, so it won’t slip or bunch up. The offer includes four mats: two front mats and two matching rear utility mats. The bonus is an Odor Out gift package that includes a vent deodorizer, air spray and interior spray.
Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7
(What’s “D7”?)
Pros: Mass market, age appropriate, easily explained, credible
Cons: Not unique, doesn’t solve a painful problem, priced too high for DRTV

2. THE KOOLIE ($19.95) is an ice pack designed to keep babies and small children cool when they’re in the car. The pitch: “Helps prevent heat stroke or worse” by keeping “your child cool and comfortable in the hottest of situations.” The bonus is a Head Cool Pack.
Product (D7) Score: 2 out of 7 (What’s “D7”?)
Pros: Priced right, easily explained
Cons: Not unique or mass market, does not solve a real problem, limited appeal to older people, credibility issues
Comments: It’s a cliché, but it’s true: “Prevention doesn’t sell.” Also, the problem this product is trying to address is the news of small children dying from being left in hot cars. But I think most people attribute that to evil parents and don’t think of it as a problem they need to worry about. Lastly, this is really just an ice pack with a fancy name.

3. DR. FRANK’S JOINT PAIN RELIEF FOR DOGS & CATS ($19.95) is an all-natural spray supplement for older pets. However, it's supposed to be sprayed into the pet’s food, not its mouth. The main claim: “Your pets can live pain free.” The offer includes one 200-spray bottle. The bonus is a free upgrade to the 400-spray bottle.
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7 (What’s “D7”?)
Pros: Unique, solves a problem, priced right, appeals to older people, easily explained, credible
Cons: Not mass market
Comments: This product has one major limitation: It's only for people with older dogs & cats. That said, a Telebrands product targeting the same market — Doggy Steps – did very well last year.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 9/14/07,” IMS

September 10, 2007

New This Week: Hollywood Purse Hook, Dr. Blaine’s Scar Care

Another light week with only two items of note:

1. HOLLYWOOD PURSE HOOK ($10) is a hook for hanging your purse on the edge of a table. The key message: “Gets your purse off the floor, once and for all,” so it won’t get dirty – or stolen. The purse hook is plated in 24-karat gold and has a “simulated crystal.” The offer includes a velvet pouch and lifetime replacement guarantee. The bonuses are a second silver purse hook and a pair of “Daimondion” stud earrings (just pay separate S&H). This is a Telebrands item.
Product (D7) Score: 6 out of 7
(What’s “D7”?)
Comments: This product meets almost all of the criteria for a good DRTV product. The only weaknesses I see is the problem it solves. It’s a problem to which most women can relate, but is it painful enough? Or have women discovered a good enough solution already? Also, the offer is priced right, but I don’t think the item is enough on its own to motivate people to call. It looks like a good bonus item to me.

2. DR. BLAINE’S SCAR CARE ($24.95) is an OTC scar treatment. The main claim: It’s the only “FDA-approved scar care treatment clinically proven to flatted and fade any scar … in as little as 10 weeks.” The bonus is a roll-on stick for dark scars.
Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7 (What’s “D7”?)
Comments: This product solves a psychologically painful problem and has credibility because a doctor developed it. It also doesn’t over-promise, which I like. However, this is not a mass-market product, since only a minority of the population will have scars they want to erase, and the price is $5 too high for DRTV. Also, scar treatments aren’t new. “Better than” claims are a tough sell on DRTV. You have to be new and innovative.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 9/7/07,” IMS

September 03, 2007

New This Week: TheraPedic, Rock ‘N Roll Stepper

Only two new items of interest this week:

1. THERAPEDIC ($29.95) is a pair of insoles. The main claim: They “keep feet cool and energized while relieving aches and pains throughout the entire body.” The offer is buy one, get one.
Product (D7) Score: 3 out of 7
(What’s “D7”?)
Comments: This product appears to be positioned toward people with Type II diabetes. For that market, it may make sense. But it is not a DRTV/mass market item. For one, branded insoles are everywhere at much cheaper prices. Also, the claims are hard to believe. Cooling, yes, but “energizing”?

2. ROCK 'N ROLL STEPPER (2 pay, $39.95) is a new Tony Little exercise product. It’s a wedge-shaped stepper that rocks from side to side. The main claim: It’s “four workouts in one machine.” That is, it’s a cardio workout, a core routine, a muscle builder and a balance improver. This is a five-minute spot cut down from an infomercial, so it has a big offer. It includes a Fit-Track computer that counts reps, a Tony Little workout guide and a 21-day eating guide. The bonus is a free subscription to Tony’s helpline. They also promote an upsell called the “Slim Down Package,” which includes resistance bands, an extra workout and a free upgrade to rush shipping.
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7 (What’s “D7”?)
Comments: Far be it from me to critique a Tony Little product: That guy knows what he’s doing! I do see a few weaknesses, but maybe Tony’s enthusiasm – “You can do it!” – will overcome them. One weakness is the price: It’s at the upper range of what an infomercial can charge, and I have no idea if a five-minute spot shares that upper range. Another weakness is that it will not appeal to older folks since it requires good balance to use the product, and the older crowd will fear falling and hurting themselves. True, infomercials skew younger, but older folks are an important buying group. Lastly, the commercial is poorly edited. It’s very choppy and the offer is confusing as a result. I’m sure the half-hour show is great, but they should have spent a little more time in the editing room for the five-minute version.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 8/31/07,” IMS