September 03, 2015


Description: An eczema cream
Main Pitch: "Just apply to your skin so the relief can begin"
Main Offer: $19.99 for a 2-oz jar
Bonus: 2nd jar (free)
Marketer: Allstar/On Demand
Producer: Hutton-Miller
Watch the spot

The idea that 'one is an outlier, three is a category' should probably also be applied in cases where there is no specific category but the project profiles are similar. In this case, I am referring to Tag Away, a project that shouldn't have worked because of the 'segment of a segment' limitation. Top Dog gambled on the possibility that there were enough secret skin-tag sufferers out there to support a DRTV and retail campaign. They were right. Now Allstar and On Demand are gambling on the possibility that there are enough eczema sufferers out there to have created another narrow-but-deep segment waiting to be tapped. If they succeed, we'll be headed toward the 'three' I would need to start discounting my market-size criterion.

Personally, since I believe in playing the odds, I wouldn't have taken the shot. That's because there are other problems with this project as well. A big one is claims and liability. Some assume that because a product is sold online or in catalogs, there is low risk to putting it on TV. But that's an error in judgment because our form of advertising makes marketers into huge targets.

Think about it: How likely is it an attorney or regulator will stumble upon a particular page in a typical catalog? And how would he know whether that item he'd stumbled upon was making money or not? Now imagine that same attorney or regulator at home watching TV. Every commercial break, he sees the same product advertisement over and over again. He is looking for deep pockets (since all attorneys and regulators are), and a company that obviously has them keeps doing a dance in his living room. Get the point?

Of course, savvy marketers like the ones mentioned in this post are smart enough to do their proper due diligence. In the case of Tag Away, I know securing claims took at least a year. That's a lot of up-front investment in time and money for a project with a limited market size. And there's still another challenge.

As far as I know, there was nothing like Tag Away when it came out -- at least, most people didn't know such a solution existed. Not so with eczema: There are many solutions on the market from OTC brands such as Aquaphor to prescription steroid creams. Of course, the counter to that argument is that there are so many solutions because the problem remains unsolved. If the problem is painful enough (and eczema likely is), sufferers may be willing to give a new option a try.

S7 Analysis: I covered all of the bases above, but to recap: This product is targeted to what would seem to be a narrow segment that is already being served with a crowded category of products. However, it may be that a new solution is needed because the problem still exists, and this product may be different enough to gain trial.

As for the commercial, it's about as good as it could possibly be. In addition to hitting all of the criteria for creative in every one of their commercials, Hutton-Miller continues to take the art of the testimonial to new levels of excellence.

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