November 13, 2007

New This Week: Pure Sleep & BOB

The fourth quarter doldrums continue. Only a few DRTV marketers are braving these unfriendly media waters to attempt to promote their wares.

1. PURE SLEEP (2 pay, $29.95) is a nighttime mouthpiece for snorers. It's similar to the devices dentists prescribe. The main claim: "Discover the proven way ... to stop snoring now." No bonus. This is a Go 2 Productions commercial.
Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good/Excellent**
This is a well done commercial for a challenging product -- challenging because the market is crowded with snoring solutions and because snoring isn't a universal problem (although it is a common one). The price point won't help, either. It's just too expensive for DRTV buyers.

2. BOB (Soft Offer) is a device for controlling the amount of time children spend in front of the TV or computer. Once kids reach a pre-set hourly, daily or weekly limit, BOB shuts off the screen. The main claim: “Puts an end to child-parent conflicts about screentime.” No bonus.
Product (D7) Score: 3 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
Comments: This is a unique idea that addresses a parental concern. However, the market for it is limited to parents (and strict ones at that). I don't see grandparents, the target market for DRTV products, buying this. I also don't believe the claim that it will end child-parent conflicts(!) Lastly, this item is expensive for DRTV buyers. The Web site says it costs three payments of $29.99 -- plus shipping and handling.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 11/9/07,” IMS (1); "Vol. XVII, No. 4-B, 11/9/07," Jordan Whitney (2)

* See my July 24, 2007 post for a complete explanation of the D7 product score.
** See my October 22, 2007 post for a complete explanation of my commercial rating system.

November 08, 2007

Commercial Review: Twin Draft Guard

Today I am posting my first complete review of a DRTV commercial.

Quick recap: I decided to start doing this when I realized my weekly report on new items didn't allow me the time or space to analyze interesting commercials. Now, from time to time, I will write a complete commercial review using my Tried & True (T&T) DRTV Techniques as a framework.

For this inaugural review, I've chosen a product that launched last year and is now back on the air for fourth quarter: Twin Draft Guard.

Click play to watch the Twin Draft Guard commercial.

For the record, I think this product is a DRTV winner. I have no way of verifying that yet, but I'll be watching the charts. Why do I think it's a winner? Because it gets a check mark in every one of the seven categories I use to evaluate products.

Now, because other draft guards appear in catalogs all the time, some people will dispute my check in the first category (uniqueness). But I think the "twin" feature of this particular draft guard makes it unique -- as does the way it clings to a door when it's opened or closed.

Some people will also protest that this item is seasonal, and as a result shouldn't be called a "hit" in the traditional sense. For those people, I have two words: Auto Cool. Moreover, this item will sell year after year -- unlike Auto Cool, which died quickly because of negative word-of-mouth.

Moving on to the creative, which was done by Concepts TV, this commercial gets a solid T&T Score of 7 out of 10. Here's why:

The commercial begins with a compelling problem-solution opening (1). A clever graphic of money literally going out the door from wasted energy is shown in conjunction with a credibility-building quote from the US Department of Energy: "Excess air leakage can increase heating and cooling bills by 30%."

From there the commercial moves immediately to a showcase of unique product features and benefits (2). As they explain, Twin Draft Guard features "double-sided insulation," creates an "airtight seal," is "easy to install," "adjusts to any door" and "moves with the door."

This commercial is also loaded with great demos (3). For example, a child is shown installing the product to emphasize how easy it is. One of the best demos is a setup where one side of a door is rigged with party tassles, and a blow dryer is used on the other side. Without the Twin Draft Guard, the tassles dance to show the air is getting right through. But with the Twin Draft Guard in place, the tassles lay perfectly still. Now that's a magic demo!

This demo is also a great way to explain how the product works (4) as well as prove that it works by comparing and contrasting (5). Another good contrast scene is a negative demo of an older woman adjusting a typical "bean bag" style draft guard. Because it just lays there and doesn't move with the door, she has to bend over to reposition it.

Overall, this commercial ensures the viewer will have no questions or objections (6) that haven't been answered by a convincing demo. It also features a solid satisfaction guarantee (7): If it doesn't "lower your energy bills" and "pay for itself the very first month," you can send it back for a full refund.

The Twin Draft Guard commercial isn't perfect, of course. There is definitely some room for improvement here. For one thing, the offer is weak. You get two Twin Draft Guards for $19.99 plus a bonus rack of ceramic, over-the-door hooks. That's $20 for what amounts to two pieces of foam and a bonus that is barely relevant to the product. Dropping the price to $14.99 and finding a better bonus would certainly improve results.

The same goes for adding testimonials or some other form of third-party endorsement to enhance the credibility of the commercial. A great idea would be to feature some kind of study that compared the energy bills of a house before and after Twin Draft Guards were installed. The specific savings shown would also be an excellent way to establish a true value comparison, which is another key technique from the T&T 10 that I felt was missing from this commercial.

November 06, 2007

New This Week: Dolce Vita TheraBed, Gemtastic

Another slow week featuring several repeat items, many of which have been off the air since last year at this time. ‘Tis the season!

1. DOLCE VITA THERABED ($14.95 trial) is a heated bed for older pets. The pitch: “Combines orthopedic foam with precise therapeutic heat.” The bonus is free shipping and a pet brush that prevents shedding.
Product (D7) Score: 5 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: Good**
Comments: The non-trial price for this item is $79.98! That’s too expensive for DRTV buyers. The positioning toward older pets will also limit the market. So this item, while targeted toward the right demographic for DRTV, is unlikely to succeed.

2. GEMTASTIC ($19.95) is a kit for putting gems on your clothing. The pitch: “Just apply heat, then peel and reveal.” The offer includes 144 each of the ruby, emerald, sapphire and crystal gems, as well as three reusable transfer sheets and an instruction/idea book. The bonus is 144 rose gems.
Product (D7) Score: 2 out of 7*
Commercial Rating: OK**
This item fails the D7 in most categories (it passes in the "priced right" and "age appropriate" categories). Gem kits have been around for decades, going back to Ron Popeil’s Bedazzler. But few have shared Popeil’s early success. For example, a product called GeMagic aired as recently as a year ago with less than stellar results (at least according to the charts). This product, while different, is likely to share a similar fate. The iron-on approach is actually a liability because it hurts the quality perception.

Sources: “New Spots for Week Ending 11/2/07,” IMS (1-3)

* See my July 24, 2007 post for a complete explanation of the D7 product score.
** See my October 22, 2007 post for a complete explanation of my commercial rating system.