March 27, 2011

Review: Perfect Punch

Description: Resistance bands attached to MMA gloves
Main Pitch: "Punch your way to the perfect body is just 15 minutes a day"
Main Offer: $29.99 for training gloves, resistance bands and MMA workout DVD
Bonus: N/A
Starring: Jay Glazer (with a cameo by MMA legend Dan Henderson)
Prediction: Likely to succeed

This is the latest example of a new trend in short-form fitness I wrote about last year. So far, it looks like only Randy Couture's Tower 200 has found success, though. But I like the odds of success for this one. Maybe that's because it meets all of my criteria -- except for the ones that don't seem to matter for men's short-form fitness. Or maybe it's because I'm an MMA fan.

Review: Lash Appeal

Description: An eyelash enhancer
Main Pitch: "A powerful lash-enhancing serum that actually nourishes and revitalizes your lashes"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: Lash Defining Color (just pay separate S&H)
Starring: Brooke Burke
Marketer: Guthy-Renker/IdeaVillage
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This type of product has been tried several times before on DRTV, and it has failed every time. It seems Latisse owns the market, and it is not DR-friendly. Against those odds, not even the Guthy-Renker/IdeaVillage power team can make this work, in my opinion. Besides, GR is out of its element when there is less than two minutes of selling time. (On a minor note, Ms. Burke's delivery was less than spectacular. "Unenthusiastic" is the word that came to mind.)

Weekly Round-Up

Still in "catch-up mode," so here are 10 quick reviews:

  1. ChefDini. Pitch: "The fastest way to chop, mince, slice and dice." Marketer: Telebrands. Starring: Chef Alan. Comments: As I wrote in my last round-up: "In DR, the third time isn't the charm." This exact item has been tried twice before: Once by Ontel (see No. 3) and once by the late, great Billy Mays (see No. 2). I know this is a successful pitch-market item, and I guess you never know with timing, but I don't like the odds here. [a]
  2. Curve Shaper. Pitch: "Twist the pounds away in just minutes per day." Marketer: SAS Group. Starring: Forbes Riley. Comments: I'm "on the fence" about this one. It seems like just another fitness product to me -- nothing spectacular -- but I suppose it could catch on. [a]
  3. Dream Look. Pitch: "The [eye] lift you've always wanted, instantly." Starring: Debi Marie. Marketer: SAS Group. Producer: Hutton-Miller. Comments: I think the problem focus here (just eyelids) is too narrow for this to be successful. [a]
  4. Every Cut. Pitch: "Get six incredible cutting tools in one." Comments: This is almost literally a "Swiss Army knife" product, and my thoughts on such products are well known to readers of this blog. Also, Open It! tried a similar pitch and failed. [a]
  5. Incredible Indoor Banana Tree. Pitch: "Grow your own delicious bananas at home for just pennies." Marketer: Lipenwald. Comments: This is cool, but my guess is it's an over-promise. Dozens of plump bananas from an indoor plant? Doesn't seem likely. [a]
  6. My Lavender Garden. Pitch: "Create an ever-blooming hedge of exquisite fragrance and beauty." Comments: Not my area of expertise, but it seems like this one's a stretch. [a]
  7. Potty Express. Pitch: "Take your child potty anytime and anywhere." Marketer: Smart Life Enterprises. Comments: Wrong demographic for DRTV. Also creates a problem and is kinda gross. Prediction: Bomb. [a]
  8. Sift & Toss. Pitch: "The new kitty litter liner that's simply amazing." Producer: Concepts TV. Comments: Great product. Solid commercial. But I predict it won't work because there are two strikes against it. One is recent history. Quicksand, a big hit from the "Golden Age" of DRTV, was recently re-tested and failed. The other is consumer resistance to buying anything off TV that requires replenishment (i.e. disposable bags). This creative also suffers from what I call a "kitchen sink" offer. That is, the offer has so many parts and bonuses (everything and the kitchen sink), that it's confusing -- and confusion is a sales killer. [a]
  9. Slim Away. Pitch: "The adjustable slimming garment that trims inches off your waist." Marketer: Telebrands. Comments: I think this one's "unlikely to succeed" because Slim Tanx didn't do well and this is a much less sexy version of that concept. Only Kymaro seems to have gotten DR shapewear right. [a]
  10. Smooth Sleepers. Pitch: "Cosmetic sleep strips help prevent & reduce wrinkles." Marketer: IdeaVillage. Comments: This pitch didn't work for pillowcases (see No. 8) on DRTV, so I don't see why it would work for this. I think the problem is one of credibility. Sleep causes wrinkles? Also, wrinkle reduction is a super-crowded category dominated by big brands. But it is unique. [a]

March 24, 2011

Review: Perfect Meatloaf

Description: An innovative meatloaf pan
Main Pitch: "Bake, lift and serve perfect meatloaf"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one with recipe book, Slice 'n Serve knife
Bonus: Double the entire offer (just pay P&H)
Starring: Marc Gill
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: The Schwartz Group
Prediction: Likely to succeed

Only a few DRTV products have defied "the curse of the brand extension." HD Vision sunglasses now come in four varieties, three of which are proven winners (so far). Mighty Mendit successfully followed Mighty Putty. And this extension of the "Perfect" brand should be another hit that thwarts the curse.

Of course, the name has little to do with it. This is more about a really great product being pitched perfectly inside a really great commercial -- another triumph for the red-hot Schwartz Group (which also produced the critically acclaimed Half Time Drill Driver and Slice-O-Matic.)

Review: Pack It

Description: A lunch bag that stays cold
Main Pitch: "Keeps healthy food 'refrigerator cold' up to 10 hours"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one with meal planner
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay shipping)
Starring: Daphne Brogdon ("Coolmom" blogger)
Prediction: On the Fence

This meets some of the criteria, but it is outside the core demographic for DRTV (retired folks) and solves a problem that is already being solved by insulated lunch bags and office refrigerators. In fact, the only reason I didn't declare it "unlikely to succeed" is it's different and interesting, and sometimes that's enough to get something going. The creative is also excellent, which certainly helps.

Review: Flippin' Stick

Description: A hooked grilling tool with a built-in thermometer
Main Pitch: "Just stick it and flip it"
Main Offer: $14.99 for two (grill size & kitchen size)
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay separate processing)
Starring: Anthony Sullivan
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Sullivan Productions
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This item is pitched well but there is nothing to it. I don't think it solves a real problem and would likely create a problem as people try to "fish hook" their food and find it isn't as easy as it looks on TV.

March 22, 2011

SciMark Report from March Response

My latest column is now live on the Response magazine Website. Reviews include: Slice-O-Matic, Half Time Drill Driver and Black Out [a].

March 14, 2011

Weekly Round-Up

I am way, way behind on my blogging, so here is an early round-up to help catch up. As far as I can tell, none of these items come from major players, and (to save time) I predict all are unlikely to succeed.

  1. Bandit Organizer. Description: A multipurpose organizer with elastic bands. Comments: A weak attempt to follow the success of Wonder File. [a]
  2. Clothes and Go. Description: A way to move clothes while on hangers. Comments: A solution in search of a problem. [a]
  3. Good-Bye Smell. Description: An anti-bacterial soap that also removes odor from hands. Comments: I don't hate the concept, but selling soap via DRTV is a non-starter. [a]
  4. Humpty Hat. Description: A winter hat that also protects your head from injury. Comments: Seasonal prevention? Double bomb! [a]
  5. Kiddie Catch-All. Description: A catch-all caddy that attaches to a kid's car seat. Comments: Wrong demographic for DRTV. Our target demographic has grandkids this age. [a]
  6. Kind Kollars. Description: Comfortable and customizable dog collars. Comments: A solution to a weak problem -- and the commercial was clearly shot for a foreign market. [a]
  7. Luxe Link. Description: A purse charm that transforms into a purse hook. Comments: The purse hook pitch has been tried twice before without success. Although this adds a twist, I don't see it being enough to overcome past history. [a]
  8. MD Alert. Description: A bracelet with a USB drive that contains important medical information. Comments: A technical product for older folks? Good luck. And what if emergency personnel don't happen to have a computer handy? [a]
  9. Mighty Jump. Description: A device that jump-starts your car. Comments: Another amateur production, and the item is too expensive -- especially for a prevention item that solves a rare problem. [a]
  10. My Solemate. Description: Soap and a pumice stone in one. Comments: Combining two ordinary products people can find anywhere is not a recipe for DR success. [a]
  11. Pedi Brush. Description: A long brush for cleaning feet. Comments: Amateur hour -- and the funniest DRTV opening since Ped Egg for Men (HT: Kevin A.) [a]
  12. Shimmer Strands. Description: Sparkling strings you weave into your hair. Comments: Wrong demographic for DRTV and also pure fashion, which never works without a solid problem/solution. [a]
  13. Top Toner. Description: An accordion-like exercise device. Comments: Too low-tech and simple for a fitness market dominated by products like Shake Weight. [a]
  14. Wonder Pour. Description: A pouring spout that attaches to any bowl. Comments: This is the third time this item has been tried on TV. It failed to launch as G-Spout and failed again as Pourtastic. In DR, the third time isn't the charm. [a]
  15. ZipCut Pro. Description: A fishing line cutter. Comments: Fishing items had their day, but you don't see them much anymore. Plus, this item is a solution to a weak problem. [a]

March 12, 2011

Review: Wuggle Pets

Description: Stuffed animals you build at home
Main Pitch: "An adorable baby pet that you bring to life yourself"
Main Offer: $19.99 for two
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Infomercials Inc.
Prediction: N/A

Because it’s a kids’ product, I haven’t written much about the monster success of Ontel’s Pillow Pets. But by now, everyone knows it was one of the biggest — if not the biggest —DRTV hits of 2010. I did well on TV and was a monster hit at retail ... which means we can now expect everyone in the industry to enter the category.

But as we saw with Allstar’s Snuggie, chasing fad items is a good way to lose money in this business. Happy Nappers may take a piece of a hot market because of timing and product similarities, but it is highly unlikely this Build-A-Bear type product, or the half dozen other varations on the ‘Pillow Pets theme’ that follow, will succeed. (I happen to know a little about this type of product from a personal failure on DRTV a few years ago, and even a major toy company failed to make the idea work at retail.)

On the other hand, Infomercials Inc. knows a lot more than me about how to market to children, so you should probably take my comments with a grain of salt. I don’t write about kids’ products for a reason: It’s just not my area of expertise.