As Seen On TV: The Latest Lineup
By David Gill and Andrea Lillo
As Seen On TV companies keep the hits coming with new and improved products. And, as usual, those products will pack the punch of millions of dollars in television marketing. Here are some of the highlights to expect for this season's viewing--and buying.
This year has seen a shift into high gear for Emson.
The company began the year with the rollout of its partnership with TV pitchman Vince Offer, who is best known for his commercials for the ShamWow, the superabsorbent towel, and the Slap Chop food chopper. Offer is now appearing in commercials for the Schticky, Emson's reusable lint roller, and--according to Emson President Eddie Mishan--will endorse other Emson products down the road. According to Mishan, 5 million sets of the Schticky were sold through the halfway point of March.
But--and there is no way to avoid this phrase--there's more. In January, Emson began its rollout of the Bell & Howell Micro Plus amplifier for the ear. This product ampliflies the sound from a television without disturbing others in the room, and resembles a cell-phone earpiece.
Naturally, Emson has been active on the infomercial front as well. It is currently running 30-minute infomercials for a new version of the Sharper Image SuperWave Oven, which combines convection, halogen and infrared-heat cooking technologies. With the SuperWave, "you can cook a 17-pound turkey in one-third the time of a conventional oven," Mishan said.
In the personal-care field, Emson is the exclusive distributor for the InStyler Rotating Iron.
"This has been a game changer because it's the only patented rotating iron of its kind," Mishan said. He added that the InStyler has registered more than 7 million units in sales worldwide, a success that has led to the line's expansion from one to four SKUs.
Regarding As Seen On TV products, Mishan said, "We have seen this grow to just about every product category at retail over the past 10 years. It's been growing and resonating because infomercials educate the consumer on what these products actually do."
As Seen on TV has also provided some education to retailers. "In its infancy, certain retailers didn't recognize that this category was so strong until consumers came and asked for the products," Mishan said. "Now, most retailers ask for TV advertising to increase the sales in their categories."
More launches are on the way this year. In the second quarter, Emson will debut a campaign for the Big Boss Torpedo Blender in a two-minute TV spot. The Big Boss chops, blends, grinds and juices, and features two juicing screens which can be interchanged for fine or medium juice pulp.
Mishan said the Big Boss should reach retail shelves in the fourth quarter. Additional Big Boss products are also planned for later this year and for 2013.
Now celebrating 29 years in business, TeleBrands is one of the leaders in the As Seen On TV category, the logo of which was even created by TeleBrands' founder and CEO, A.J. Khubani. Two of the company's biggest categories for growth opportunity are kitchen and pet, he said recently.
"It has everything to do with the recession," Khubani said. "People are spending more time at home and cooking at home," and pets are "sources of entertainment."
Its OrGreenic eco-friendly ceramic-coated cookware, for example, which hit retail in December, "continues to break records," Khubani said. "It's the fastest-growing cookware brand in America."
Other items for the kitchen include the Edge of Glory knife sharpener, which has dual-hardened ceramic teeth and a suction base to stick to any surface for ease of use. It also works on all types of knives, even serrated blades.
Bake Pop allows the home chef to create bite-sized cake pops at home, while Slice-O-Matic has a specially engineered design to take the effort out of slicing carrots, potatoes and other tough veggies and fruit, making it ideal for people with arthritis or joint pain--or anyone who wants to save time and effort prepping meals.
Khubani said one of his most recent product surprises is the Lint Lizard, which attaches to a standard vacuum hose so it can be used to unclog a dryer hose. "It's been at retail for one month and is one of the best-selling items," he said, with 40 percent sell-through at one retailer.
And Insta Bulb is a battery-operated light bulb shaped light that can be used anywhere light is needed, with no need of an electrician. There are no wires, and the "bulb" is cool to the touch and shatterproof, as well as backed by a 10-year warranty.
AllStar Products Group
Since its inception in 1999, AllStar has offered products in a number of categories in the direct response television arena, including the Topsy Turvy tomato planter, Pasta Pro cookware and Debbie Meyer GreenBags for fruits and vegetables.
"Over the years, Allstar Products Group has introduced a stream of new products that have helped to revolutionize the consumer experience, and this year is no different," said Scott Boilen, CEO, Allstar Products Group. Product roll-outs this year are in the Home & Garden, Health & Beauty/Clothing Accessories, Electronics & Portable Accessories and Home & Mending Solutions categories, he added.
Boilen called the Electronics & Portable Accessories "an exciting category for us as technology is always advancing," and this year will include EZ Eyes keyboard and the GoJo hands free adjustable headset for all types of cellphones.
In Home & Mending Solutions, the Roto Punch and Zipper Fixer are "both great gadgets that every household will be glad they have." And in Home & Garden, the company has added the Magic Mesh hands-free screen door and the Snap 2.0 gardening hose connector, as well as the Sift & Toss mesh litter liners for cats.
The company will also build on its popular Snuggie blanket brand--"a sell-out for the past four holiday seasons," Boilen said--with a new line of styles and fabrics this fall.
"AllStar has a proven model for incubating new brands and attracting and building a true mass market audience," said Boilen. "Every year our merchandising team reviews thousands of new and exciting product pitches and works to bring the next best solution items to the marketplace."
Whether they are in the As Seen On TV category or in-line, beauty and grooming items "are always a primary business," said Robin Bonnema, vice president, sales, Idea Village. For this company, items in this category include its Touch trimmers, which "are leaders in their category," she said, and include the Finishing Touch for women and MicroTouch MAX trimmer for men. The diamond edition of the FinishingTouch and the MicroTouch MAX now come in colors, she added. And its BikiniTouch was brought back this year after a Shape magazine survey said that more than 80 percent of women between the ages of 25 to 49 are trimming the bikini area regularly, not just seasonally, Bonnema said.
Also in the beauty category is the Pedi Spin, the newest automated callous remover. It includes a filing and a finishing head, and has an auto-brake to help prevent applying too much pressure to a given area, Bonnema said.
The company also has high expectations for Stompeez, the juvenile slippers in animal shapes that have winking eyes, opening mouths and other features.
"Stompeez will be the biggest hit of the fourth quarter," said Rishad Khubani, national accounts manager. The Perky Pink Puppy, the Growling Dragon and the Unusual Unicorn slipper designs have such features as ears that pop up, a mouth that opens and eyes that open, respectively. They will launch late in the summer, he added. In addition, its MusicBullet speaker is "one of the biggest items so far in 2012," Khubani added.
Viatek Looks to Grow with TeleBrands
In the case of Viatek Consumer Products, many consumers know the company's products better than they know the company. Since the International Home + Housewares Show, however, that may begin to change.
During the show, Viatek announced its new agreement with TeleBrands, the As Seen on TV consumer-products marketer. Under the terms of the deal, TeleBrands will market and distribute globally four Viatek products that were launched at the show. The four specific products will be announced soon, according to the two companies.
Among the products from Viatek that have had success are the Spin Mop, which, according to company President Lou Lentine, sold more than 400,000 units last year, with particular success from television shopping channels. Another top seller on TV shopping networks is the Renu-it Alkaline Battery Regenerator, a patented product that regenerates alkaline batteries that are usually thrown away.
Viatek also markets the Mighty Jump, which jump-starts a car by plugging it into the car's interior power outlet. This product was launched in 2009, and has since sold more than 1 million units on TV shopping networks, international retailers and drug chains.
Among Viatek's new-product launches at the Housewares Show last month were Candle Sensations, a group of flameless, scented candles with changeable fragrances; the Chill and Go Tumbler, a reusable tumbler made with Get Chill technology which keeps drinks cold; the Handheld Bladeless Fan, a handheld fan that delivers cool air without blades and the noise they create; and the Clean Spin 360, which cleans floors throughout the house without harsh detergents, and comes with the accompanying Spin Bucket, which wrings dirt out of the mop by spinning it more than 1,000 rotations per minute.