May 15, 2014

Mighty Putty: Old Gold?

New Name: Mighty Putty Purple
Starring: Marc Gill
Current/Original Marketer: Top Dog (then Plymouth Direct)
Current/Original Producer: Hutton-Miller
Original Hit Year: 2008 (No. 23 on JW Annual, 31 on IMS)
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed

Although there's a lot to like about this attempt to bring back a mega-hit, I think this will ultimately be a case of 'been there, tried that' for the consumer. In other words the color change, which has no real reason for being, isn't enough of a point of difference to reignite this Phoenix. That the new creative features many of the demos from the original commercial won't help matters.

The new 'airplane pull' magic demo is certainly different and awesome in scale, but even that seems lacking somehow. The late, great Billy Mays used the original (green) Mighty Putty to pull a tractor trailer. One-upping the demo is fun and good PR, but the incremental impact on consumer response will likely be minimal. You've seen putty move one large object, you've seen it move them all.

This raises a larger point about the time required to resurrect a Phoenix, one that I've made before. When talking about the same item, or essentially the same item, five years is probably not enough time. The old rule of thumb was 7-10 years. In some cases, it may take even longer. Why? Mainly because the market needs enough time to forget the product existed and, as a result, treat it like something new and unique again. These days, with the long tail created by the Internet, that's becoming even more difficult.

There's also the Catch-22 of creating an item so memorable, it takes decades to fade from the national conscience -- which could very well be the case here.


  1. Rox is not a product of Harvest!

    1. A source had it wrong. I removed the attribution. Thank you.