June 23, 2009

Review: Smart Thaw

Description: Defrosting tray for meats and poultry
Main Pitch: "The fast and easy way to defrost meats in minutes, not hours"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: Two color-coded knives, four skewers that change color when cooking meat is at the right temperature
Marketer: Unknown
Producer: Unknown
Website: www.SmartThaw.com    

Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7
Commercial Rating: Good

This item isn't going to work. How do I know? It was one of the first DRTV items I worked on. I clearly remember my excitement when I took it home and ran experiments to see what claims we could make. The outlook for the project was great because we were bringing back an old hit. The original item was called Miracle Thaw. We called ours Jiffy Thaw. It bombed.

Many people believe "old is gold," and sometimes it can be. But other times old is just, well, old. This is one of those cases. Back when Miracle Thaw was a hit (1995), mass market penetration of microwave ovens was still relatively low. Maybe half of American households had one, and the ones people had weren't nearly as fancy as the ones today. They were also expensive. By the time we did Jiffy Thaw, all of that had changed. Today, everyone has a microwave because you can get one for less than a tank of gas -- and it will do an awesome job defrosting meat.

This product also faces a few other challenges. Credibility is one. It's hard to believe a slab of aluminum can do what the commercial says it can do unless you demo it yourself. But the lack of a unsolved problem is the real killer here.

As for the commercial, it is well done. It uses the T&T techniques and the producer did a good job of trying to create problems this product could solve. The offer is also well thought out and has real value. Both the color-coded knives and the thermal skewers have sold well elsewhere. The knives were even tried as their own item.

Ultimately, it will be the product that's responsible for this one flopping. Unfortunately, I know this from personal experience.

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