July 29, 2008

Five Bona-Fide Hits: Awesome Auger, HD Vision, Perfect Pullup, Peticure & Steam Buddy

It's been 90 days since I last updated this feature, so it's time for me to take a look at the charts and declare my new slate of "bona-fide" hits. Once again, I consider an item bona-fide if it has appeared on one of the short-form DRTV charts consistently for at least three months. It also has to have made at least a few appearances on the competitor's chart. (More on this methodology here.)

Strangely, this methodology keeps producing exactly five hits. To prove I'm not making this up, I'll also include three near-misses in this post. Here are the five verified hits to start, followed by my predictions for each one:

  1. Awesome Auger
  2. HD Vision Wraparounds
  3. Perfect Pullup
  4. Peticure
  5. Steam Buddy
1. Awesome Auger (from SAS Group, starring Billy Mays) - I originally reviewed this item July 20, 2007. I wrote that the item "might work in a limited way" because "the category is seasonal and the market is niche." The posting pre-dates my regular use of the D7 system, but I did include the Auger in my 2007 hits study, where I gave it a 5 out of 7. Because it missed in the Mass Market category, I didn't predict it would be a traditional hit -- and it isn't. This is a spring/summer winner, but I'm sure that's just fine for everyone involved.

2. HD Vision Wraparounds (from IdeaVillage) - This is a project I worked on, so I didn't review it. Needless to say, I hoped it would be a hit, and it is!

3. Perfect Pullup (from BodyRev) - I reviewed this item February 6 and only gave it a 3 out of 7. "One, it only appeals to men. Two, it won’t appeal to older people, male or female. And three, it’s expensive for a DRTV product," I wrote. "These shortcomings didn’t seem to matter in the case of the Perfect Pushup, but I think it will matter here." Time to eat crow again? Not necessarily. The DRTV charts measure spending, not ROI, and many players these days spend for reasons other than getting a payout on TV. In fact, as I blogged last December, it's getting harder and harder to identify the "pure" DRTV items. With Perfect Pullup, I was curious, so I did a little digging and found some interesting data that suggests BodyRev's products no longer belong in the pure DRTV category. More power to them -- they're obviously making a lot of money -- but I wish people would stop messing with my system for predicting hits!

4. Peticure - I blogged the bare minimum about this product December 6, 2007. It was a short posting because I was way behind on my updates. I didn't even take the time to express an opinion, writing simply that it was "a cordless nail buffer for cats and dogs." Thinking back, I probably would have taken issue with the price ($29.99). It's $10 too expensive for DRTV in most cases. And while breaking the price rule doesn't seem to have hurt sales in this case, it has led to a predictable result: a savvy competitor entering the markeplace with a value-priced version.

5. Steam Buddy (from AdSouth Marketing/Vertical Branding , starring Billy Mays) - On January 16, I gave this item a 6 out of 7. "This item is essentially a poor man’s version of The Tobi," I wrote, meaning that as a compliment. "After all, creating a mass-market (read “cheaper”) version of a popular-but-expensive infomercial product is a time-honored DRTV strategy." As recent history shows, this short list included, I could almost retire my methodology and predict anything with Billy Mays is going to be a hit!

So that's the five "bona-fide" items, although the Perfect Pullup may not belong on the list. Now here are four items that were on my radar, but didn't make it:
  1. Optica 1050 Binoculars. I gave this product a 4 out of 7. "This is a cool product, but is it cool enough?" I wondered. The answer was almost a yes. After weeks on both charts, the item suddenly disappeared in July.
  2. Power Purify. I gave this product a 3 out of 7. "This product suffers from the same weaknesses as the original (Kinoki Foot Pads)," I wrote. "Plus, the offer is weaker than Kinoki’s. So I doubt it will even be a strong second in the category." I almost made the same mistake twice (!), but after a strong showing in June, the commercial has disappeared from the charts.
  3. Pure Sleep. I gave this product a 4 out of 7. "The market is crowded with snoring solutions," I wrote, and "snoring isn't a universal problem (although it is a common one)." This item has appeared on both charts, but has not appeared on either chart consistently. The price point (2 pay, $29.95) also makes me wonder if this isn't a pure-play DRTV item.
Last but not least, I promised last time that I would revisit my close calls from April to see if any had broken through. The four items I tracked were Magic Jack, Save-A-Blade, Aqua Globes and Smart Lidz.

Of the four, only one has turned into a bona-fide hit: Allstar's Aqua Globes. This is the sleeper hit of the year. When the warm weather hit, Aqua Globes took off. It now takes its rightful place among the other bona-fide hits of 2008. For the record, I gave it a 6 out of 7 back on December 6, 2007.

As for the remaining items, it's the same old story. I've written enough about Magic Jack on this blog, but needless to say it has not been consistent. It has never appeared on the Jordan Whitney, and it recently disappeared from the IMS (then reappeared, then disappeared). Save-A-Blade recently resurfaced on the Jordan Whitney after months of being AWOL, so I'll have to keep an eye on it for another 90 days. And Smart Lidz continues to appear on the Jordan Whitney every week, but has never once made the IMS, the reverse of Magic Jack.

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