January 27, 2010

Review: Super Springz

Description: An insole made with steel springs
Main Pitch: "Revolutionary new shoe insoles made specifically for active people of any age"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one pair
Bonus: Second pair FREE (just pay separate P&H)
Marketer: Emson
Website: www.SuperSpringz.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This type of product has a terrible track record on DRTV. Insolia, Comfort Soles and Impact Gel (featured on the premiere episode of Pitchmen) have all failed in recent years. The reason becomes apparent when you try to answer a key S7 question: "Will the category be relatively free of competition? Or is it already dominated by big brands with big ad budgets and a few decades of consumer loyalty behind them?"

I vividly remember a meeting I had about an insole product that definitively answered this question for me. The ship had sailed with regard to whether the company in question (which shall remain anonymous) was going to do the project. Unfortunately, it was already a go. We were on to the question of advertising strategy, and a motivated member of the team had had the good sense to go a local retailer and buy every type of insole they carried.

At the meeting, she reached into her bag and pulled out no less than seven different types of insoles -- this despite the fact she had visited a fairly small chain. Dr. Scholl's, the leading brand in that category, made at least five of them. Incidentally, a quick search on WalMart.com today yielded 18 results.

Putting that (major) problem aside, Emson seems to have pinned their hopes for this product on steel springs at a time when gel is popular. To me this seems like a huge step backward technologically. The opposite of "revolutionary" and "new." I wouldn't be surprised if spring insoles were the first type of insoles ever invented, possibly by someone like Thomas Edison or maybe even Ben Franklin.

1 comment:

  1. Unlikely to succeed is right. They call it high-end but the spring insoles are anything but. The rear half of the insole is very heavy as the bottom of the heel is thick, hard plastic. I’ve never seen any other insole that heavy or made with so much plastic. The front half of the insole contains seven very small springs (I’m talking ¼” diameter and no taller than a penny) that would barely hold five pounds altogether. The back springs are a mess- cheap springs you’d get from Home Depot, bigger than the front half springs but very little stiffness (spring back ability). The five springs are held in place by a sponge that completely engulfs the springs, so if anything, it’s the sponge that’s absorbing any impact not the springs. And they try to sell these springs as a way of enhancing sports performance, but we all know springs have awful spring back abilities because they absorb most of the impact. Try bouncing a golf ball on hard floor and see how much higher it bounces back compared to springs.