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WHAT MAKES UP THE SCIMARK SEVEN?
The PRODUCT should be: ( 1) needed; ( 2) targeted; and ( 3) different.
The CATEGORY should be: ( 4) un-crowded.
The COMMERCIAL should be: ( 5) engaging; ( 6) motivating; and ( 7) clear.
Here’s a breakdown of the five good categories:
• Cookware and Kitchen: This has been my No. 1 category for
seven years running, and 2017 was every bit as fruitful as previous years. By now, you are well aware of the “pan wars,” featuring Emson, TELEBrands, and Tristar. Their battle had produced 12
Gotham Steel products, 11 Red Copper products, and 11 Copper
Chef products at press time. Not all of those tests rolled out, of
course, but enough did to put this category on top again in 2017.
The DRMetrix official count is 55 attempts and 10 hits for a one-in-five hit rate.
• Tactical Products: This is a new sub-category label created
for the purpose of this analysis (DRMetrix does not have such a
category). The tactical theme turned the second worst category of
2015 (lights) into the second-best category of 2016. It all began
with Emson’s Bell+Howell TacLight and has grown rapidly from
there. In 2017, the tactical trend crossed categories to optical
(Bell+Howell TacGlasses) and tools (Atomic Lighter). It shows
signs of having potential in other categories, as well, so this might
be a top-five category for years to come.
• Personal Grooming: It should come as no surprise that personal
grooming is a good DRTV category, but last year was an especially
strong year thanks to two new entries from the king of grooming,
Ideavillage Products. The company’s Finishing Touch Flawless and
Micro Touch Solo helped the category go four-for- 20.
• Novelty Hardware: This bad category from 2016 flipped to a
good category in 2017
thanks to TELEBrands’
quest to build on the
success of Star Shower.
Three similar items
— two under the Star
Shower brand — rolled
out last year. If we
expand this category
beyond light projectors
and include other hardware items, such as Phil Swift’s Flex Tape, the category delivered
an impressive six hits on 14 attempts!
• Cosmetics and Skincare: It’s the surprises that make this
annual analysis critical. For years, this category has been on my
“don’t even bother” list.
However, last year direct
27 times — and were
rewarded with three hits.
These were bona-fide
120-second rollouts such
as Allstar’s 3 Second Lash and TELEBrands’ California Charcoal.
Mark my words: this is the category to watch as pure-play DRTV
marketers seem to have figured out how to make it work.
As for the five bad categories:
• Electronic Gadgets: Are you shocked to learn this category went
zero-for-eight in 2017? If you read this report, you shouldn’t be.
There is one bright spot, however. As mentioned last year, a cell
phone and tablet accessory will occasionally find success. The hit
rate for the category is still awful, but this year again delivered a
single hit: a phone-charging wallet called Atomic Charge Wallet.
Add in the seven failures in that sub-category, and you get a
combined track record of one-for- 16. In other words, if you have
a really great smart-device gadget — and the stomach for long
odds — you might still want to play in this category.
• Pet Needs/Care: This year, it was TELEBrands that saved the pet
category from having zero hits. That lone exception: Hurricane
Fur Wizard. Otherwise, this was a particularly bad year with 22
other attempts that went nowhere.
• Home and Garden: Several marketers took a stab at reliving the
glory days of expanding hoses with the introduction of a new kind
of metal hose in the first half of 2017. Although two of them spent
enough to count as rollouts, both were fairly weak performers.
Throw in yet another line extension of TELEBrands’ Pocket Hose
(Brass Bullet), and that’s really all this category had going on last
year. The most charitable tally puts it at one-for- 12.
• Apparel and Accessories: This good category from last year
flipped back to a bad category. Again, that’s largely because
Copper Fit is categorized as “Health and Fitness” in the DRMetrix
system. Outside of copper-infused apparel, the category went
two-for- 24 — and even that’s misleading. Included here is
Allstar’s Sock Slider, which is really a senior-assistance device.
The only true apparel/accessory item was Cami Slim, which was
listed for just 12 weeks.
• Toys and Games: Last year, Ontel Products’ Magic Tracks
and three hits from Ideavillage made this a good category. This
year, the category produced only one hit out of 10 tries: Einstein
Balloons, which was also listed for just 12 weeks and barely
qualifies as a rollout. Of course, that makes sense given this is the
third year marketing the concept.
In keeping with tradition, I’m kicking off 2018 with an analysis of the DRTV categories that performed best and worst in the past year. Read below to find out what changed, what stayed the same and what catego- ries you should be considering as you search for this year’s hits.
1. Cookware and Kitchen
2. Tactical Products
3. Personal Grooming
4. Novelty Hardware
5. Cosmetics and Skincare
1. Electronic Gadgets
2. Pet Needs/Care
3. Home and Garden
4. Apparel and Accessories
5. Toys and Games
BY JORDAN PINE