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Miracle Thaw goes to retail.

FAIRFIELD, N.J.--With a successful direct-response television campaign under its belt, the marketers of the Miracle Thaw defrosting tray have recently hit the retail market.

In a joint venture, Premier Products and TeleBrands are marketing the Miracle Thaw on television and now at retail. Michael Sander, chief executive of Premier Products, predicts the company can sell between 2 million and 3 million units at retail by yearend, and that's a "conservative" figure.

That estimate may be high but not unattainable, based on the product's success through the TV market to date. Premier has sold about half a million units on television and through other interactive media, such as home shopping channels and catalogs, Sander said.

And that represents only a portion of the consumer market. According to Anand Khubani, president of TeleBrands' wholesale division, the retail trade represents an even greater opportunity than TV.

"Television sales are incredibly strong but retail has more potential," Khubani said. About 9 percent of all potential consumers will buy that product through TV, leaving a target market of 91 percent for retail. "The potential for retail sales is 900 percent more than television," he explained.

Since late December, Premier Products has been selling Miracle Thaw in two-minute direct response spots on cable and broadcast stations. The product has been ranked the number-one direct response commercial since that time, according to the Jordan Whicney Greensheet measuring service, said Collette Liantonio, president of Concepts Video Productions, producer of the TV spots.

The product, a defrosting tray that thaws frozen food on contact without electricity or batteries, is a made of a superconductive aluminum alloy. The metal tray absorbs natural heat energy from the air and releases that energy onto the frozen object. Miracle Thaw is cool to the touch, but can defrost chicken breasts in 13 minutes, pork chops in 14 minutes and a frozen steak in 30 minutes. It will retail for $19.95.

Company officials say the product meets an untapped need in the marketplace.

"It's revolutionary because it provides less work for the consumer," Liantonio said. With an increase in dual-income households, many couples do not have time to defrost foods. The Miracle Thaw, she said, provides a "quicker way to make a meal."

Other ways to defrost foods often have drawbacks. Defrosting foods in microwave ovens often dries out food and sometimes cooks foods around the edges. Defrosting on the countertop can allow bacteria to accumulate.

TeleBrands is hoping to garner as much retail distribution as possible, primarily in the mass market but also m department stores and discount department stores.

TeleBrands is establishing in-store demos in some chains; others can show a video with the Miracle Thaw commercials on a two-hour loop.

To help transfer its TV success to retail the product is backed by more than $12 million of television advertising. To date, the company has spent between $1 million and $1.5 million in media time since December.

In addition, TeleBrands will support the product with co-op advertising. It also has developed floor and pallet displays for center-aisle placement, as well as tray packs for end-caps that can hold units and signage.

Based on the success of TeleBrands' other products, Khubani is optimistic about Miracle Thaw's future. TeleBrands was the retail distributor for the Smart Mop, which sold half a million units on TV through infomercials and 4 million units at retail.

Premier Products plans to continue TV advertising of the Miracle Thaw probably through August, since a direct response campaign can drive retail sales. "We will continue the campaign for as long as the it breaks even or even loses some money," Khubani said.

"Many buyers pay attention to infomercials and direct campaigns," Liantonio added. "Direct response can create an aftermarket."

Though new to most consumers, the Miracle Thaw is not new. According to Sander, other companies have tried to market the item and failed. "We took the product and priced it right," he said.

Sander expects to see some "me-too" products in the near future, but he is confident the product will be successful. "We have captured the market and are building the brand name, " he said. "And, no one can touch us on television."

Premier Products, formerly known as TV Products, was formed 12 years ago as a small, direct-market company specializing in short-form direct response TV (DRTV). Its other products include the Topsy Tail, Roll-a-magic and Closet Savers. Concepts Video, created in 1979, has produced direct response commercials for the Great Wok of China, the Smart Mop and the Daily Mixer.
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Author:Weiss, Lisa Casey
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:May 15, 1995
Words:757
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