Research SciMark Report
By Jordan Pine
I thought I’d start the year off with a look back at 2012. Here
are seven bona-fide DRTV hits from the past 12 months that
exemplify and reinforce The SciMark Seven.
Explanation: The category should be relatively free of competition.
Example: Lenfest’s Wax Vac
Visit your local store in search of a way to clean your ears, and you’ll find
one solution that has been on shelves for almost a century: the cotton
swab. Incredibly, no one has ever improved on this manual solution to a
common problem. I once believed this was because the lowly Q-tip is a
“good enough” solution, but I was clearly wrong. People are desperate
for a better way, and until Wax Vac there was nothing new in the category for them to try.
Explanation: The product should be needed enough to generate the
impulse to buy. For example, it should solve a problem.
Example: TELEBrands’ Olde Brooklyn Lantern
TELEBrands must have a crystal ball because they timed this one perfectly. Storm season always brings increased demand for emergency
items. Attempting to capitalize on this annual trend, this vintage LED
lantern launched at the beginning of storm season — and hit full swing
right when “Super Storm” Sandy was hitting the Northeast. The best part
of this story is that it truly met a need by providing inexpensive lighting
to families without electricity for days or weeks.
Explanation: The commercial should grab your attention and hold it
Example: The Schwartz Group’s Perfect Tortilla
On at least two occasions, I have witnessed the Schwartz team take a
mediocre product that I was “on the fence” about and make it into something spectacular. Perfect Tortilla is one such example. The product is a
monochrome pan that bakes white discs of dough. How interesting could
that possibly be? But watch the spot. Not only does the spot make traditional tortilla dishes fun and engaging, but it also progressively reveals
great baking ideas that raise interest levels as the commercial goes on.
Explanation: The product should be designed for a big enough buying
group that is known to be DR responsive.
Example: Allstar Products Group’s Forever Comfy
The best products for DRTV are ones that can be used by every household in America. The Holy Grail of products is the one that can be used
by every person in America. Forever Comfy sails past the first bar and
very nearly hits the second one. After all, who couldn’t use a more
comfortable cushion for his or her derrière? As for buying groups that
are DR-responsive, there is none richer or larger than America’s Baby
Boomer generation, and this is the perfect sort of product to meet their
increasing need for comfort.
Explanation: The product should be different enough to get people’s
Example: Hampton Direct’s Insta Hang
Completely original concepts are rare these days, but the Hampton team
brought one to America’s attention. Borrowing a thought from above,
this product also solves a problem experienced in every American house-
hold. Borrowing a thought
from below, it’s hard
to believe no one has
improved on the hammer
and nail for hanging pic-
tures until now.
Explanation: The commercial should feature an offer that will motivate
people off the couch.
Example: Marc Gill’s Grout Bully
Marc Gill, the ubiquitous pitchman who is quickly becoming the new
Billy Mays, clearly believes in the idea that an offer must be motivating — so much so that he uses a signature catchphrase to reinforce it.
Right when the viewer thinks a Marc Gill deal can’t get any better, he
booms: “But I’m not stoppin’ there!” What follows may feel like a typical
DRTV punchline to jaded industry veterans, but credit Gill for calling
the viewer’s attention to a key part of the close of any good pitch. There
hasn’t been much innovation in offers (language or structure) since
TELEBrands popularized the $10 BOGO, and that’s a shame. This is one
of the few areas where a small change can vastly improve a CPO.
WHAT MAKES UP THE SCIMARK
The PRODUCT should be:
( 1) needed; ( 2) targeted; and ( 3) different.
The CATEGORY should be: ( 4) uncrowded.
The COMMERCIAL should be: ( 5) engaging;
( 6) motivating; and ( 7) clear.
Explanation: The commercial should communicate clearly and not
leave the viewer with unanswered questions or objections.
Example: Hutton-Miller’s Fast Brite
Most DRTV producers with experience get this right, so it’s really the
negative examples that prove the rule. I chose the Hutton-Miller team
as my positive example because they are at the top of their game in this
regard. For instance, they have a special knack for repeating and reinforcing key selling messages without seeming redundant — a key clari-ty-boosting technique. They’ve also perfected the science of overcoming
questions and objections with a blend of credible testimonials and ‘right
before your eyes’ magical demonstrations. The Fast Brite commercial is
a case study in all of these methods.
© Copyright 2013 SciMark Corp. These reviews represent the opinions of the author. Any inaccuracies are unintentional. To report an inaccuracy
or provide other feedback, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The SciMark Report is also a blog at scimark.blogspot.com. SciMark Corp. is a firm that
specializes in short-form DR TV advertising. For more information and a full description of the S7 scoring system, visit www.SciMark.com.