June 28, 2012

Weekly Round-Up

  1. Super Stylus. Marketer: Allstar. Producer: Paddock Productions. Pitch: "Works like a finger, handles like a pen." Comments: Written by yours truly. [ss]
  3. Ab Flattener. Pitch: "Lets you firm, tone and strengthen your abs ... you just sit and get fit." Comments: Similar products (see Office Abs, #8) and pitches (see Slim Seat, #15) have been tried before. [ss]
  5. K-9 Bark Stopper. Marketer: IdeaVillage. Producer: Blue Moon Studios. Pitch: "A safe and humane training collar that stops annoying barking for good." Comments: I am too involved with this one to comment. For posterity only. [ss]
  7. Plate Caddy. Pitch: "Your plate, your drink, your knife and fork -- even your napkin -- are easy to hold with just one hand." Comments: This one has been tried before without success. Seems like an infrequent/uncommon problem to me. [ss]
  9. Ride Tight. Pitch: "Lets you custom fit your lap and shoulder belts for greater comfort and security." Comments: It doesn't look like Hampton Direct's version of this product went anywhere, so I doubt this one will go anywhere, either. [ss]
  11. Pet Zoom Pet Park. Marketer: Emson. Pitch: "The indoor pet potty that prevents pet accidents." Comments: This is a me-too version of Potty Patch, which was No. 32 on my True Top 50 for 2010. That said, the Pet Zoom brand is well established at retail, and this looks to be a good addition to that line. On a side note, I liked the Look Who's Talking Now homage. [ss]
  13. Snap-A-Loop. Pitch: "Never drop your device again." Comments: This one is a '3' on the problem scale ... at best. [ss]

June 27, 2012

Forever Comfy

Description: A gel-filled cushion
Main Pitch: "Puts a supple layer of support betwen you and your seat to make every chair more comfortable"
Main Offer: $19.95 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Website: www.GetForeverComfy.com
Prediction: N/A

I have too much inside information on this one to give it an honest review. Thinking back to my first impressions, I remember feeling this one was unlikely to succeed, but then also remembering the success of IdeaVillage's Miyashi cushion (although that product did a lot more).

Classy Collar

Description: A button-up "dickie"
Main Pitch: "Adds the layered look you want without the bulkiness"
Main Offer: $10.99 for one set in white and black
Bonus: 2nd set in blue and pink (just pay S&H)
Marketer: IdeaVillage
Producer: Blue Moon Studios
Website: www.GetClassyCollar.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is another test that will help determine if Ontel's Cami Secret was an outlier or a category. As I mentioned the last time this happened, Allstar's Trendy Top showed that one aspect of Cami Secret's positioning -- hiding the 'cracks' women don't want to show -- could yield success. This campaign will test another aspect of the positioning, half-garments that reduce bulkiness.

Specifically, Cami Secret concealed cleavage. Trendy Top conceals, um, rear cleavage. Both of those can be embarassing (more the latter than the former), so that presents a strong problem/solution to motivate people off the couch. The half-garment pitch, on the other hand, is more about fashion than a strong problem -- and that's why I think this one is unlikely to succeed. We'll see.

Knife Saver

Description: A knife sharpener
Main Pitch: "The easy way for you to make your knives cut just like new"
Main Offer: $15 (?!) for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay processing)
Starring: Joe LoGuidice (whoever that is)
Website: www.TheKnifeSaver.com
Prediction: Bomb

This is the sixth attempt at a knife sharpener in the last few years. If the third time is never the charm in DR ...

So why didn't I throw this into a weekly round-up? Two reasons. First, I want to declare knife sharpeners a dead category (for now), like I did with lighting at the end of last year. Unless you have the greatest thing since sliced bread (cut with a newly sharpened knife that squashed the bread before), I would stay away from this category for DRTV. Every type of knife sharpener has been tried using every type of creative (good and bad) and every type of name. Still not convinced? OK, here's the list:

  1. Furi Ozitech (Furi, early 2010)
  2. Ronco Ready Sharp (IdeaVillage/Blue Moon, May 2011)
  3. Kleva Sharp (Tristar, early 2011)
  4. Samurai Pro (SAS Group/Hutton-Miller, June 2011)
  5. Edge of Glory (Telebrands, October 2011)

FYI, this product is almost identical to the Ronco Ready Sharp.

Second, I reviewed this because I wanted to point out an amusing hazard of using YouTube as your Website's media player. YouTube has a close-captioning feature that must be a beta because it's horrible. I guess I accidentally turned it on at some point because when I went to this site, captioning was on and it kept mis-typing words with humorous results. For example, "stop using pressure and hacking away by sharpening your knife the easy way" became "stop using pressure and having a great white shark read or write the easy way." And Joe LoGuidice's name became "joe blow." It's hilarious! Click the "CC" button and check it out.

June 20, 2012

Chilly Comfort

Description: A pillow topper
Main Pitch: "The amazing new pillow pack that transforms your pillow into a chillow"
Main Offer: $14.95 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Hampton Direct
Producer: Concepts TV
Website: www.ChillyComfort.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

It seems to me that this product is seasonal at best, a niche market item at worst. For the mass market, having a cool pillow is only important in the dead of summer, and I feel like most people have sufficient air conditioning. That makes this more of a therapeutic item, and I think that market is too small of a niche to support a national DRTV-to-retail rollout.

On a side note, I loved the "Ghost Rider" flaming head effect in this commercial!

Pro Seal: Old Gold?

New Name: Caulk Fast
Current Marketer: SAS Group
Original Hit Year: 2008 (No. 39 on the JW Annual)
Original Marketer National Express
Website: www.CaulkFast.com
Prediction: On the fence

I think it's probably too soon to bring this item back, especially since it seems to have been a mediocre hit. That said, I remember seeing the original spot a lot in its heyday, and I know several people who bought the product and swore by it.

June 19, 2012


Description: An iPhone case
Main Pitch: "Protects your valuable and private information making it [your iPhone] virtually indestructible"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay separate P&H), Shatter Shield (free)
Starring: Tim Goewey
Marketer: Media Enterprises
Producer: Zoom TV Productions
Website: www.BuyToku.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

While I applaud the creativity that went into the magic demo for this spot (dropping a phone from a helicopter is a cool idea), I think this campaign will struggle for two reasons. One, they have narrowed the market to iPhones only. That's a segment of a segment -- albeit a large segment of a segment. Two, the marketplace is so crowded with iPhone cases of every kind, it will be hard to convince people that this is the one case they need.

There is also a demographics issue here -- iPhones are favored by the young, DR appeals to the old(er) -- but that is becoming less of an issue these days.

Review: Magic Tap

Description: A drink dispenser
Main Pitch: "The spill-proof automatic drink dispenser"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one with drink guide
Bonus: 2nd one with drink guide (free)
Marketer: Ideastream Consumer Products
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Website: www.BuyMagicTap.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

This is a second attempt at an item that first tested in the fall of 2009. The creative has improved markedly, but my concerns about the narrowness of the category still apply. As I wrote back then: It "really only solves a problem for mothers of young kids." The elderly are a secondary target, but most of the commercial (wisely) focuses on kids.

This raises an interesting debate that remains unresolved in my mind. Question: Can a kid's product targeted toward parents deliver DRTV success? On the one hand, we have dozens of hits where kid brainwashing and the related effect of "pester power" are obviously the keys to success. My kids walk around the house chanting the Happy Nappers and CuddleUppets songs, and they insist on calling their Cloud B ladybug a Dream Lite, which I view as strong support for the argument even though the sample size is exactly two.

On the other hand, we have ... Gyro Bowl.

You can see why I had to come down on the "unlikely to succeed" side, as much as I like this creative.

Side note: What is a "kid friendly drink guide," and why would anyone want one? Seems like a total throwaway because they don't take the time to explain it.

June 14, 2012

Review: Slick Fix

Description: A spray-on lubricant
Main Pitch: "The super dry lubricant that makes everything slide and glide with ease"
Main Offer: $14.99 for one can with "Bulls-Eye Adapter"
Bonus: 2nd can with adapter (free), holster (just pay processing)
Starring: Phil Swift
Website: www.GetSlickFix.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Mr. Swift continues to chase continuity items that come in a can. This is the fourth such item he's tried since his Flex Seal debut. However, as I wrote in my review of Foamazing, "few items that come in a can are viable for DRTV." My guess is that this one will also struggle on DRTV, making him 1 for 4.

Good thing for him that the first one was such a huge success.

Review: Side Socket

Description: A surge protector/outlet multiplier
Main Pitch: "The swiveling multi-plug miracle that allows you to move cords and furniture flush against the wall"
Main Offer: $14.95 for one
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar
Producer: The Schwartz Group
Website: www.SideSocket.com
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Surge protectors and power strips, no matter how innovative, just don't strike me as the type of item people will jump off the couch to buy on impulse. I can see this moving at retail in-line, selling on live shopping or getting strong catalog sales. But DRTV? It's a pretty high bar.

Of course, the creative for this product is very well done. I do have one small nit to pick, though. This rhyme always seems forced to me: "Turning that ... disaster into a space-saving master." Doesn't really make sense.

As someone who has praised this creative team for their catch-phrases in the past, it's only fair for me to point out the occassional clunker. Also, I am guilty of going too far with the rhymes myself, so I guess it takes one to know one!

Review: Rabbit TV

Description: A USB device
Main Pitch: "Access over 2,000 TV stations on your computer"
Main Offer: One for $20
Bonus: 2nd one (just pay a separate fee)
Marketer: Telebrands
Website: www.GetRabbitTV.com
Prediction: Likely to succeed

For $20, I think people will buy this to try it. Why not? Also, I know in certain ethnic communities such devices are very hot.

On a side note, I liked the creative approach. It felt like a cable company commercial, which will help overcome the credibility barrier.

June 13, 2012

(Massive) Weekly Round-Up

  1. Snap 'N Soothe. Marketer: Lenfest. Producer: Paddock Productions. Pitch: "The amazing new pad that heats itself for portable pain relief anywhere, any time." Comments: Written by yours truly. [ss]  
  3. Arctic Ease Pitch: "Resuable cold therapy that relieves pain and swelling." Comments: Kind of the opposite of the item above. The challenge with both items: This is a crowded category. [ss]  
  5. CovFurs. Pitch: "Faux fur wraps that slip over any boot or shoe." Comments: Fashion and DR are never a good mix. [ss]  
  7. Everyday Safe Bag. Pitch: "Keeping your valuables safe everyday." Comments: Preparedness is the opposite of impulsiveness. This price is $20 above impulse range as well. [ss]  
  9. Journey Gym. Pitch: "The world’s first truly portable universal gym." Comments: Cool concept. No clue if it will be the one out of 50 fitness items that works this year. [ss]  
  11. Just In Case. Pitch: "Peace of mind at a price you can afford." Comments: This one fails the uniqueness test since "I've fallen and I can't get up" is now a part of the culture and similar solutions abound. Plus, at $150 it's not really a great value. [ss]  
  13. Lord of the Abs. Starring: Gilad Janklowicz (whoever that is). Pitch: "Burn and sculpt a six pack in record time." Comments: This will only succeed if their goal is to get on Kimmel. I guess homoerotic fitness is a trend now? [ss]  
  15. Mighty 'Mato. Pitch: "Bigger. Stronger. Tastier." Comments: Not original. [ss]  
  17. My Little Secret. Pitch: "Inflatable pads enhance, lift and shape your bust in an instant." Comments: Um ... what was I doing again? [ss]  
  19. Nature Barrier. Pitch: "Enjoy life bug free, bite free." Comments: Continuity plays like this don't really work in DR. This might have a shot at retail, though. [ss]  
  21. Perfect Sponge. Pitch: "You never have to touch a wet sponge again." Comments: This product already exists and can be found in any grocery store. Sure, this one is better, but 'better than' products never work on DRTV. [ss]  
  23. Taterbaker Pouch. Pitch: "Cook potatoes and other vegetables quickly and easily in your microwave without drying them out." Comments: Amateur hour. [ss]  
  25. Titanic Coin Marketer: Suarez Corporation. Comments: Well-produced but, as I've mentioned before, I don't think people care enough about the Titanic for this to generate much interest. Then again, coin DRTV is not my area of expertise. [ss]  
  27. Tub Plug. Pitch: "Transform your ordinary bath into a deep luxurious spa bath." Comments: A solution in search of a problem, and a water-damage catastrophe waiting to happen! [ss]  
  29. Wipe New. Pitch: "Simply apply once to keep your vehicle looking showroom new for its life!" Comments: They might want to check with legal about those claims. "Lasts forever" and "results are permanent" became "lasts for years" by the end of the spot. [ss]  
  31. Wonder Trim. Marketer: Lenfest. Producer: Harvest Growth. Pitch: "The fast and mess-free way to re-caulk any room in your home." Comments: Also written by yours truly. [ss]  
  33. Zeke Leash. Pitch: "No more untangling your dog's leash." Comments: Dog leashes have a very poor track record on DRTV. I can't think of one that has been successful. [ss]  

June 02, 2012

Products from Pittsburgh

I'm a little bit late with this, but I wanted to give some press to the fine folks over at Invention Home. On Tuesday, May 22, I attended their "DRTV Product Summit" at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Penn. Six companies (see above) from the industry attended the event as well as about 20 inventors representing some two dozen inventions.

This is the third such event I've attended (first and second events here and here), but it's my first event that wasn't organized by a DRTV company. I was impressed by how well structured it was. Each company had a room and the inventors rotated between the rooms, giving their pitches in precise, 15-minute increments from 9 AM until 4:30 PM. I "floated" between the rooms and tried to watch as many pitches as I could.

There were quite a few memorable moments and noteworthy products, including:

  1. A cute solution in search of a problem called the Sip 'n Dip Cookie Dipper. The "sip" part comes from a slot the item has for a straw, so you can sip your milk while your cookie is soaking.
  3. A magnetic wrench that holds a nut like a magnetic screwdriver holds a screw. Why did this one stand out? Because the inventor yelled "boo-yah!" at the end of his demonstrations.
  5. An exercise product called the "Ab Orb," which is an improvement on the old ab wheel. I have no idea if this item would do well on DRTV, but I appreciated the spirit of invention it represented. The inventor got the idea from the Dyson ball. As my colleague Steve Rivkin would say, he looked at that ball and thought, "What else could it be?"
  7. Another exercise product called "Spin Trim." I didn't like the item, but I almost spit out my drink when the presenter told the woman he was pitching it to (in a thick accent) "if you use it for a minute, it makes the chest bigger, especially the breasts. It will definitely make the breasts bigger."
  9. A grout product called Grout Shield. There's only room for one, and Marc Gill's Grout Bully is the one. Sad part is this guy was out years before Grout Bully under a different name (I blogged about it here) and lost the opportunity because of a bad partner. This made me ponder how many items never roll out for reasons other than lack of consumer interest.
  11. Something called the Dirty Dog Paw Spritz, an antibacterial spray for a dog's paws. This is a classic example of the "segment of a segment" problem that plagues so many inventors. As if the germaphobe market wasn't narrow enough, now there's a product for germaphobes with dogs.
  13. And last but not least: A bottle rocket where the rocket is the bottle! (Aqua Pod) This one was so cool, everyone took home a sample. The presentation technique was a big help: At lunch, they invited everyone into the parking lot for a little Cape Canaveral action (see below). It was lots of fun, and I wish them success -- if not on DRTV, then in some other channel.

Thanks again to Invention Home. If any DRTV marketer reading this hasn't been to their event, I strongly recommend attending. More information on the next summit will be available on their Website soon.