March 27, 2012

SciMark Report from March Response

My SciMark Report for March is now available on the Response Website.

Reviews include: Two "dueling pillows," Telebrands' America's Best Pillow [a] and Ontel's Dream Sleep Pillow [a], Ontel's Pink Armor [a] and SAS Group's Better Beater [a].

March 26, 2012

Review: Ab Skates

Description: An exercise system for abs
Main Pitch: "Skate your way to amazing abs"
Main Offer: $14.99 for a set
Bonus: Antimicrobial workout pad, DVD, food plan
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is one of three new short-form fitness items that have popped up in recent weeks, each targeting a different area of the body. Because this one targets abs, it has an odds advantage. More ab items have become hits than any other kind of fitness item.

That said, this particular solution struck me as underwhelming, and the commercial didn't make me believe that rolling a skate on the ground could produce the results promised. I'd be surprised if this one becomes the next ab hit -- although you never know when it comes to abs.

Review: Power Press

Description: A pushup system
Main Pitch: "Maximize pushups like never before"
Main Offer: 2 payments of $19.99
Bonus: Workout schedule, DVD, cap, carrying bag
Prediction: On the fence

Technically, only one pushup device has ever been successful on DRTV: BodyRev's Perfect Pushup. You could argue that Ontel's Iron Gym was a pushup device, but I think pullups were what drove the response to that item. Meanwhile, several other pushup devices have failed, including one last year that had a pitch similar to this one (Allstar's Herschel Walker 360X, No. 5 on this Weekly Roundup).

The failure of any other pushup product to break through leads me to wonder whether this sub-category of fitness is a viable. To draw a strange comparison, Perfect Pushup could be to fitness what Swivel Store is to organization: a random outlier in a category with otherwise narrow success parameters.

Still, I plan to follow my own advice on outliers and wait a little longer before rendering a final verdict. If pushup products are indeed viable, this particular item should do well. Both the product and the creative are well done.

Review: Booty Slide

Description: A workout program
Main Pitch: "The hottest core-strengthening, butt-lifting, body-firming, zero-impact cardiovascular workout ever created"
Main Offer: $19.95 for 4 DVDs, booties & kneepads
Bonus: None
Starring: Rebecca Kordecki
Prediction: Bomb

I often talk about 'Swiss Army' products. Like the famous multi-function knife, such products have too many features to describe adequately in a 120-second commercial. The result is confusion, and confusion is a sales killer. (Wow, two SciMark catch-phrases in a single paragraph!)

Getting to my point, this is the workout program equivalent of a Swiss Army product. Here's how the commercial describes it: "A fusion of ... slide training and high intensity interval training with yoga, pilates, aerobics and dance." The whole spot is like that (see the Main Pitch quote at the top of this post), and this isn't the first time I've come across the approach. Some production companies seem to believe that cramming as many exciting words as possible into every sentence is the way to get people to order.

In this case, there's no doubt another reason why the marketers felt the need to distract the viewer with a torrent of words: The actual product is a pair of slippery socks and some knee pads. Seriously. You have to wonder how someone got talked into (or talked themself into) funding not just the production of a DRTV spot, but the production of an entire DVD series as well.

March 23, 2012

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Click N Stay.Producer: Harvest Growth. Pitch: "The ultimate solution to keep your dog in his seat, so you can be safe and secure in yours." Comments: I have the inside scoop on this one, so I can't make a prediction. However, I will say that I've liked this product idea since IdeaVillage and Hutton-Miller tested Doggie Seatbelt. [a]
  2. Headache Escape. Marketer: Telebrands. Pitch: "Fast-acting, all-natural topical cream ... gives quick relief without dangerous side effects." Comments: This spot tries to convince the viewer that Tylenol, Advil and every other best-selling brand of pain reliever on the market is actually doing more harm than good. The Web site is already down because it's always a bad idea to try to sell people a solution for a problem they need to be convinced they have. [a]
  3. Jerry Hook. Marketer: Allstar. Pitch: "The amazing new handy hooks that attach to any wall, anywhere instantly" and then "they just peel right off." Comments: This one's been down for a while, but I missed it. My take: Cool idea, high credibility bar. Hooks also have a mixed track record on DRTV. I can't think of a hook hit since Hercules Hooks (No. 22 on the JW Annual for 2007). [a]
  4. No Curl Collar. Marketer: Stella Brands. Pitch: "Keep your shirts - polo, golf, sport, dress, work, casual, men, women & kids - looking fresh all day." Comments: Another candidate for worst item of the year. [a]
  5. Zippy Vac. Pitch: "Turns any resealable zipper bag into a vacuum bag." Comments: Amateur hour, and it's been tried several times before. [a]

March 08, 2012

Dangers of DIY DR (7)

The Bootlegger

Or is it a late-night parody? I'm not sure. They have a Web site.

March 05, 2012

Review: The Easy Sheet

Description: A bed sheet
Main Pitch: "Fitted at the bottom, so it never comes untucked"
Main Offer: Starting at $49.99
Bonus: Free shipping
Prediction: Bomb

Possibly the worst DRTV product of the year. I often talk about a 10-point pain scale and the need to hit a '7' or better in order to motivate people off the couch. This one barely registers a '1' on that scale.

I hate to be so negative, but some poor soul just wasted thousands of dollars on a product that shouldn't have made it past the 'I have a great idea' conversation.

Review: K-9 TheraLight

Description: An infrared light for pets
Main Pitch: "Penetrates the tissue and increases the energy needed to accelerate healing of damaged cells, reduce inflammation and help your dog feel better"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one
Bonus: Glucosamine Tabs
Prediction: N/A

I recently wrote a post (OK, a rant) titled, "How to Predict the Future." This was exactly the sort of campaign that I had in mind. You don't need to be an attorney to know that the promises this commercial is making are high risk. To repeat what I once wrote about a certain energy bracelet: "If this campaign is successful ... I wouldn't spend the money."

Olde Brooklyn Lantern

Description: An LED lantern
Main Pitch: "The lovely look of a fine antique with the power to light up the night"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Producer: Kerrmercials/Paddock Productions
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This product faces the 'segment of a segment' problem. The mass-market segment is the one being tapped by the many LED lanterns on the market. The segment within the segment is people who want their LED lantern to look like an old Brooklyn antique. My guess is that segment is too small to support a DRTV rollout.

As for the commercial, it's similar in many ways to my Life Lantern spot -- so I like it.

Review: Window Whiz

Description: A window cleaner
Main Pitch: "Spray and wipe and squeegee, all with one hand"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one with three pads
Bonus: Double the offer (just pay S&H), Flat Screen Pad
Producer: Concepts TV
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is a bit of a contraption. The spring-loaded squeegee action is interesting, but I don't see people jumping off the couch for this modest improvement to their current method.

Review: Penguin Pads

Description: Anti-slip pads for shoes
Main Pitch: "Now you and your loved ones can walk safer in icy conditions"
Main Offer: $14.99 for 2 large & 2 small pairs
Bonus: Four additional pairs free
Prediction: Bomb

Oh boy. This product wouldn't even get presented at most of the major DRTV companies. It has so many shortcomings, it's hard to know where to begin. Check out my Tread Ahead comments for just one.

I won't even get started on the liability issues. I'm no attorney, but somehow I don't think putting "not liable under any circumstances for ... any accident involved in using this product" in fine print at the botton of your Web site covers it.