Focus turns from short life to brand building
Manufacturers of As Seen on TV merchandise are reshaping the category by focusing on extending the lives of their products and investing in long-term brand building.
“We’re concentrating on branding as part of our strategy for lengthening the product cycle,” said Ron Boger, president of Idea Village. “The traditional approach to the category was ‘one and done,’ but we think we can expand the life of a strong product with a multi-faceted approach of updated commercials, magazine and radio.”
The company has made improvements to its men’s and women’s grooming products and signed two celebrity spokespeople. Brett Favre, who also is the spokesman for the company’s CopperFit line of compression wear, will be the face of its Micro Touch men’s grooming aids. Fran Drescher is the celebrity spokeswoman and face of the Finishing Touch brands.
“Finishing Touch and Micro Touch are still No. 1 and No. 3 in their categories, and we are continuing to innovate in that space,” Boger said. “We know that women don’t want to use chemicals and expensive hair removal procedures on their skin, so the new Finishing Touch Yes! product is on trend. We also know that replacement blades for most men’s razors cost around $5 each, so the $20 retail [price] for a year’s worth or shaving for the new Micro Touch Tough Blade offers consumers a great value.”
The company is building on the success of its Snackeez line with new licensed products. A new Snackeez Junior product featuring characters from the movie “Frozen” will hit shelves in October, and other licenses will follow.
Other players in the category also are focused on keeping their products on shelves longer. “We want to extend our products’ post-TV life,” said Brad Specter, co-president of Top Dog Direct. “Some of our products, such as Urine Gone, have been on the market for years. We’re really trying to create new categories.”
Specter said that Night View yellow-tinted glasses are a perfect fit for pharmacy departments. Positioned near the reading glasses, the product fills a unique niche. “Drug stores represent 20% of our business, and we know they need to be selective in their assortment,” he said. Top Dog Direct aims to work closely with drug store retailers to maximize their sales per square foot. “We work on fixtures, clip-strips and other merchandising vehicles that can help retailers get as much product on the floor as possible.”
Not everyone in the category believes branding is the future. AJ Khubani, president of TeleBrands, is sticking to the company’s formula. “To keep a product on the shelf, you have to continually innovate. Some of our products, like the Pocket Hose, have been on the market for two years, and we expect a big year in 2015. But many products have even shorter lives. I’d say the life of a product is shorter than ever because consumers always want something new.”
Khubani thinks consumers also are willing to pay more for those innovative products. The company’s Hurricane Spin Mop, which retails for $39.99, has been a big hit, and Khubani expects the product to have strong holiday sales. “For a long time, the sweet spot was $9.99, but we’re starting to see more success with products priced at $14.99 or $19.99,” he said.
TeleBrands is featuring three new toys for the holiday season: Phantom Saucer, Ball Pets and Teddy Tank.
Whitening, enamel strengthening provide boost
Oral care is a mature market, but luckily for toothpaste it is a regular part of consumer’s daily personal hygiene routine. That’s not to say, however, that consumers don’t desire a little something extra in that tube.
(For the full report, including charts, click here.)
Because toothpaste is a regular part of personal hygiene habits, sales typically stay on the upswing, as evidenced by the latest sales data from IRI. According to IRI, sales of toothpaste rose nearly 3% for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 10 at U.S. multi-outlets.
Driving much of the growth continues to be those products that offer regimens and added benefits — such as tooth sensitivity relief, enamel strengthening and whitening.
For example, Procter & Gamble’s Crest has been successful with its Crest 3D White oral care regimen. The regimen was launched in the United States, grew market share for 17 consecutive quarters, expanded worldwide and has become a $1 billion business, P&G’s chairman, president and CEO, A.G. Lafley, told analysts during its fourth-quarter conference call in August. Following up on the 3D White launch, P&G introduced Crest 3D White Luxe toothpaste and strips.
Now, P&G is looking to secure a foothold in the sensitivity franchise with its new Crest Sensi-Stop strips.
“We’re setting the brand and product innovation agenda in our industry. When we do this well, we build consumer preference for our brands, extend the level of product competitive advantage, build brand and product consumer preference accumulatively overtime, and capture a larger share of category value, profit and cash,” Lafley told analysts.
Looking to tap into consumers’ desire for toothpaste that delivers a value-add, Colgate has introduced Colgate Enamel Health.
According to Colgate, the enamel-strengthening segment is the fastest growing within the toothpaste category, as 54% of consumers are concerned about enamel. Furthermore, the formula comes in two types — whitening and sensitivity relief.
To support the launch, Colgate indicated that it has a robust, integrated marketing campaign planned — including television, print, public relations, professional, digital, social, mobile and in-store activities.
STAMFORD, Conn. — Philips Sonicare is putting its power toothbrush into the hands of children — literally — with its Philips Sonicare for Kids, designed for little ones ages 4 years and older.
(For the full report, including charts, click here.)
To help instill confidence and promote healthy oral care habits, the rechargeable power toothbrush is equipped with kid-friendly features — like fun sounds and stickers — yet has the same patented sonic technology found in other Philips Sonicare toothbrushes. To encourage children to brush for the dentist-recommended time of two minutes, the toothbrush also features a timer.
Philips Sonicare for Kids launched earlier this year and has a suggested retail price of $49.99.