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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.
We have a tendency to focus on successes and ignore failures, but I’ve always found that failure is a better teacher than success. At the very least, I like to know about — and try to learn from — other people’s errors. With that in mind, I present a round-up of three recent flops and what I think they have to teach us.
BY JORDAN PINE
Description: A motion-activated light
Main Pitch: “Swivels to point its light exactly where you need it”
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Bonus: Second one (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Allstar Products
To accept my fair share of any shame, I’ll start with one of my own “fast fails.” Despite a great commercial, this one didn’t
make it. My takeaway continues to be that lighting is a very tricky category. Lights are always popular and usually sell great
online, which tends to skew pre-DRTV testing in a favorable direction. It makes all of these projects “worth a shot.” Yet roll-
out CPOs are very rare without some other advantage (e.g., a tactical trend). Ultimately, it’s important to remember this is a
crowded category with long odds of breaking through.
Description: A deodorant with activated charcoal
Main Pitch: “All-natural ingredients to keep you dry and
odor-free for up to 12 hours”
Main Offer: $10 for one
Bonus: Second one (just pay a separate fee)
DRTV marketers keep trying to enter huge, super-competitive
categories dominated by big brands that have decades of
brand loyalty behind them. In almost every case, it’s a fool’s
errand. It’s especially difficult when you are trying to change
consumer behavior and get people to believe some new tech-
nology from an unknown brand will actually work better than
their trusted favorite. Let’s just say having people sniff other
people’s sweaty armpits — the tech-
nique used in this commercial — isn’t
going to do it.
Description: Chair leg protectors
Main Pitch: “The slip-on solution that prevents scuff marks and
Main Offer: $19.99 for eight (black or brown)
Bonus: Furniture Fix markers (free); second set of eight (just pay P&H)
Marketer: Emson Inc.
This type of project could be called “chasing Old Silver.” I see it a lot.
There’s a tendency to assume every item that made it onto an annual
chart or went to retail was a hit (i.e., gold) worth revisiting. If you weren’t
on the inside, though, you don’t know that for sure. In this case, the first
and only indication this could be an item was Lenfest’s Furniture Feet,
a 2015 True Top Spender. However, the backstory is that the item failed
with one marketer before being given a second chance, and some TLC,
from another marketer (Ontel). That’s when it finally found its footing
(pun intended). I don’t know the ultimate accounting, but most items
that struggle to generate consumer demand in the
beginning end up being singles or doubles at best.
Resurrecting a modest hit, especially after just
three years, isn’t likely to be a winning strategy.
3 out of 5
1 out of 5
2 out of 5