USA Today Announces the Most Memorable New Products of 2012

February 19, 2013

USA-Today-2-18-13

 

Yesterday, USA Today featured the results of the 2012 Most Memorable New Product Launch (MMNPL) survey in a snapshot on the front page of the Money section. The snapshot announced the top five most memorable new products of 2012 according to our  survey. Amazon’s Kindle Fire topped the list with a surprising 30% of respondents remembering the product launch, even though it had been almost a year since the Kindle Fire first hit the market. Taco Bell’s comeback was solidified by the Doritos Locos Taco coming in at the number two spot, followed by Tide Pods, a launch whose huge marketing budget clearly made and impression on consumers. Pepsi Next, the reduced calorie soda, and the Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone rounded out the top five, showing that soda can still compete with big tech products when it comes to making a connection with consumers.

Stay tuned for the release of the full results of the 2012 MMNPL survey, including key consumer purchasing behavior insights.


MMNPL Top 5 Picks from Tom Kraeutler, Host of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show

January 23, 2013

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Our home products expert, Tom Kraeutler, is the Host, Founder and Chief Home Improvement Evangelist of The Money Pit. He is a hands-on home improvement broadcast journalist and the kind of guy homeowners want to call at midnight when their basement floods. He first earned his home improvement stripes as a professional home inspector, amassing over 20 years experience learning how houses are put together, and how they fall apart!

Here are his selections for the Most Memorable New Home Product Launches of 2012:

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Andersen 400 Series Tilt-Wash Double-Hung Insert Window

These windows are an excellent choice to replace old, drafty windows that are hard to open or require frequent scraping and painting. Andersen has made it so that installing these windows couldn’t be easier.  The 400 Series Tilt-Wash Double-Hung Insert Window is custom sized to fit inside an existing window frame. Just remove the top and bottom sash and insert the new window. It’s a great DIY project that requires only basic skills and no special tools. Plus, you can install the window from inside your home, making it easy to replace even second-floor windows.  The tilt function makes it easy to clean them, and the low-maintenance exterior eliminates the need for paint. Plus, the high-performance Low-E4 glass provides superior energy-efficiency.

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Black & Decker Gyro

Every once in a while a company comes out with a truly unique innovation that completely takes me by surprise. Gyro is one of those products — the world’s first motion activated power screwdriver. It’s really cool and fun to use.  Here’s how it works: the trigger is on the back of it, so when you squeeze the Gyro you engage the power switch. To turn it on, you rotate it to the right. It starts very slowly, and the more you turn, it goes full throttle. To slow it down you simply turn it back towards neutral or center, wherever you started with it. And then to reverse the direction, you simply turn it to the left. Gyro was developed by Black & Decker to give users more control over the application, both in speed and direction. And at a suggested retail price of $39.99, it’s both innovative and inexpensive!

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Lutron Maestro Occupancy Sensing Switch

The age-old problem of leaving lights on in empty rooms is solved with the Maestro Occupancy Sensing Switch from Lutron. It can detect motion so that it turns lights on when you enter a room and off when a room is empty. This hands-free technology makes life easier when you’ve got an armful of laundry or groceries, and it’s great for a household with kids who might not always remember to turn off the lights when they leave a room. It’s also convertible to manual on/off vacancy sensors for use in bedrooms and homes with pets. You can install it in 15 minutes or less, and it works with all types of light bulbs, including LED, CFL, tube fluorescent, halogen and incandescent.  And by replacing just one standard light switch with a Maestro Occupancy Sensing Switch, you can save up to $25 in energy costs.

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Philips L Prize-Winning 10 Watt LED Bulb

This $10 million prize-winning light bulb is an answer to our energy future that’s here today – selected by the U.S. Department of energy as the most energy efficient-alternative to the standard 60-watt incandescent bulb. Philips 10-watt LED bulb lasts 30 times longer – up to 27 years!! – and can save you up to $165 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Wave goodbye to the hassle of changing bulbs frequently and pat yourself on the back for choosing a bulb that’s smart for the planet AND your wallet. Philips 10-watt LED bulb is fully dimmable and provides soft white light with virtually no UV in the beam, so it won’t fade fabrics. And it’s designed in a traditional bulb shape that will fit right into your existing fixtures.

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Fluidmaster Duo Flush System

As a nation, we flush away billions of gallons of water every day. You can be part of the solution by improving a water-wasting toilet in your own home. Fluidmaster’s Duo Flush is an innovative system that converts any toilet into a high-efficiency, water-saving dual flush toilet that saves you money to boot. It provides up to 50% water savings with every flush, and can knock your water bill down by more than $120 a year per toilet. It’s easy to install – takes just 20 minutes – and easy to use: Just lift the handle up for a half flush and push it down for a full flush. You’ll be reducing your annual water usage by more than 15,000 gallons, and the planet will thank you.


The 5 Most Successful Tech Launches of 2012

December 19, 2012

By our visiting expert, Ross Rubin.

There were many well-executed and successful products in 2012, some meant more to their companies than others. Whether it was reinforcing an ecosystem or a pillar in a comeback, five products from five different companies stood out for how they fared with so much on the line. They are, alphabetized by company:

Apple iPad mini. Creating a new category of products is one of the hardest things to do. While it had a bit of help from the netbook in terms of establishing a need for a second device with a 10” display, the iPad was marked by consumers rushing out in droves to buy something they never knew they needed. Apple had been able to hold on to a commanding lead in the tablet market. Low-priced competition, though, coming first from the Amazon Kindle Fire and then from the Google Nexus 7, have cut into its market share. Apple, which once rebuked 7” tablets, needed to respond, but its business model involves making money on hardware, unlike Amazon.

The iPad mini is larger and significantly more expensive than the rivals that preceded it, but Apple has preserved compatibility with leading iPad apps and even brought over . At 80 percent of the size of the iPad’s screen, it is really more formidable competition for the iPad 2, which sells for $70 more but has almost identical specs and features, than it is for the value-conscious Kindle Fire.

Microsoft Surface. As the iPad continued to take nibbles of PC market share and healthy bites of its mindshare, Microsoft was readying two versions of Windows to fight back – Windows 8 Pro for running on machines with traditional PC processors and Windows RT for the same kinds of ARM chips used by iPads and Android tablets. What most people did not realize was that one of those versions was heading for an all-new Microsoft device dubbed Surface. While Microsoft had created its own devices before such as Xbox and the ill-fated Zune and Kin phones, much was made of Microsoft’s entry into a business where the company had previously licensed software to other device companies.

There was no way around it; Microsoft was now competing with its own licensees. However, most overlooked that the competition was limited to an emerging class of devices, the Windows tablet and not the notebooks and desktops that comprise virtually the entire PC market.

Surface is a tablet at heart, but, in large part recognizing a heritage of productivity emanating from the PC, it can be used one of two keyboard covers that click in to the device — a slim one with a tactile keyboard and an even slimmer “touch keyboard” that responds to presses on a slightly raised surface. The latter works surprisingly well, but the slightly more expensive “real” keyboard doesn’t sacrifice much thinness for a dramatically better keyboard experience. Now, Microsoft just needs to attract the aps to make its touch interface more competitive with those of other tablets.

Nintendo Wii U. Like the iPad, the Nintendo Wii ushered in a new way of thinking about a kind of product that had been around for a long time, the home console. Its low price and focus on motion gaming set it apart from other consoles. Eventually, though, the competition struck back with more precise motion controllers (Sony Move) and ways of doing motion control with no handheld controller at all (Microsoft Kinect) and the Wii started flagging in sales as Nintendo focused more on its next handheld device, the 3DS.

With the Wii U, which retains a similar although slightly larger and more rounded profile of its predecessor, Nintendo is betting on multiple displays, embedding a touchscreen into the bundled GamePad controller. Different games use the GamePad in different ways; some are imaginative, others just duplicate what’s on the TV (and some can be played only on the TV). Available starting at $299, the Wii U also includes a feature called TVii that However, the competition isn’t waiting to see if Nintendo’s bet pays out this time. Microsoft, for one, has responded with SmartGlass, which allows many different tablets and smartphones to connect with the existing Xbox 360 for games and extra TV show content.

Nokia Lumia 920. Many years ago, before the rise of Samsung, Apple or even the Blackberry, Nokia ruled the North American cell phone market, but its smartphones never caught on the way here the way they did in Europe. And over time, iOS and Android started eroding share on its home turf. The Finnish company vacillated between its popular but outdated Symbian software and its advanced but unknown Maemo operating system. Ultimately, a Microsoft executive came on board to take the helm as CEO and soon struck a deal with his former boss to put Windows Phone software on Nokia phones.

Nokia’s first efforts in the North American market had modest success but didn’t move the needle much. Now, Nokia is bringing more to the table, combining more of the style of its original Windows Phone, the Lumia 800 with the larger display and LTE of the Lumia 900 while throwing in some advanced tech goodies such as a touchscreen that can work with gloves, wireless charging and an optically stabilized camera. The resulting Lumia 920 is exclusive to AT&T this holiday. It will battle with the HTC Windows Phone 8x for Windows Phone high-end bragging rights and the recently released Android-based Droid DNA on Verizon for carrier pull.

Samsung Galaxy S III. Unlike Nokia, Samsung has been on a tremendous roll, riding the success of Android and becoming the dominant handset provider for it and the leading handset and smartphone vendor in the world. The previous Samsung Galaxy S products were strong sellers but varied significantly in terms of branding, design and sometimes even specifications such as whether they included a keyboard. That’s all been pushed aside iwth the Galaxy S III, which reflects Samsung’s now significant marketplace power. It’s essentially the same regardless of the carrier on which you get it.

Like the Lumia 920, the Galaxy S III includes an NFC chip for tapping information. It can also play a number of fancy tricks with Wi-Fi such as displaying a video from a Samsung television or automatically send photos taken at a party to another Galaxy S III. Fast-moving Samsung has already surpassed the 4.8” display of the Galaxy S III with the 5.5” display and stylus input of the Galaxy Note II also available on all four carriers, but the older phone will still be Samsung’s more mainstream option for some time to come.

Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research and blogs at Techspressive. Please follow him on Twitter at @rossrubin.


Top 5 Toy Launches of 2012 From Toy Expert Dan Nessel

October 17, 2012

It’s been a big year for toys with re-imagined classics and tablet technology trickling down to the playroom. We turned to toy reviewer Dan Nessel of DadDoes.com for his picks for the Most Memorable New Product Launches in the toy category this year.

 

Wii U by Nintendo

Nintendo is looking to shake up the video game industry with the Nintendo Wii U.  Rather than compete with the PS3 and Xbox 360 on purely power and graphics, the Wii U introduces a whole new way to play.  Every Wii U will come with a GamePad controller, basically a tablet that works with the Wii U.  The GamePad introduces a second screen and changes the way video games are played.

Nintendo has held a number of Wii U Experience events for the press and video game lovers to create a buzz around the system and it looks to be working.   Within days of the announcement that the Wii would be available on November 18th,  stores such as Target, Best Buy and Toys R Us had stopped taking pre-orders due to high demand.

Furby By Hasbro

Furby is back!  While it is unlikely the new Furby will match the craziness that surrounded the original Furby in 1998, Furby is still looking to be a hot toy for the 2012 holiday season.   The new Furby has new features to make him/her more interactive and you can now use an iPhone/iPad App to play with Furby.

Hasbro has done a big social media push for Furby and retailers are expecting high demand.   Furby has already been named to the Toys R Us, Walmart and Kmart Top Toy lists.

Razor Flash Rider 360

Razor puts a spin on the classic 3 wheel trike…literally.  The Flash Rider 360 turns and drifts on dual inclined caster wheels, so kids can easily do full 360 spins.  In addition to the spinning fun, The Flash Rider 360 has a Spark Bar, so now kids can spin and spark.

The Razor Flash Rider 360 was a hit at the 2012 International Toy Fair in NYC and was featured on ABC’s The View.  In addition, The Flash Rider 360 was named a Most Wanted Toy by Time To Play.

LeapPad 2 by Leap Frog

The original LeapPad was a hit and all indications are that the LeapPad 2 will be even more popular with technology loving kids.  At its June 2012 release, the LeapPad 2 sold more units in two days than the LeapPad 1 did in a week.

The LeapPad 2, is the next generation of the #1 kid’s learning tablet (LeapPad1), bringing  higher performance, new features and an extensive library filled with learning and creative content.

The LeapPad2 is a quality product with strong marketing and positive word of mouth recommendations behind it and was recently named to the Toys R Us, Walmart and Kmart Top Holiday Toy lists.

Air Hogs Hover Assault (Spin Master)

A hot trend this year is remote control (R/C) toys that do more than just drive or fly.   Air Hogs has created the ultimate R/C toy for boys – the Air Hogs Hover Assault.  The Hover Assault is a car that you can drive, but with the press of a button the car takes off and becomes a flying car.  It gets even better, press another button on the remote and fire missiles from your flying car.

Air Hogs has created buzz for the Hover Assault with a number of commercial spots, online videos and via social media.  Air Hogs Hover Assault was named to both the Walmart Top 20 Holiday Toy List and the Kmart Fab 15 Holiday Toy list.

What do you think of Dan’s picks? Check back for more expert product selections, and for the results of the Most Memorable New Product Launch survey coming later this year.


Top 5 Beauty Products of 2012

October 4, 2012

Our Beauty Expert Kelly Logan Gould, is best known as the editor of Gouldylox Reviews, which was ranked one of this year’s Top 50 Best Beauty Blogs by iFabbo. Kelly also contributes to Lock & Mane and She Said Beauty. Here are her picks for the five most memorable beauty products of the year!

Sarah Potempa Beachwaver ­ — The Beachwaver will save you time and leave you looking like you just left the red carpet! Sarah and her sister Erin worked on developing this innovative rotating curling iron for over two years. The technology is unsurpassed (with customized extra-long barrel, digital temperature control, and Left/Right control buttons), the idea is simple, and your hair will look fabulous. Guaranteed! – This is the best iron I’ve tried this year. It takes the guess work out of the perfect beach waves, EVERY TIME.

Garnier BB Cream — Skin concerns, such as discoloration, dullness, blotchiness and dryness can come from a number of different sources. It’s hard to find just one product that addresses them all. Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector B.B. Cream immediately and effectively fullfills your skincare expectations with just one multi-benefit product that combines intense moisturizing skincare + immediate skin perfecting coverage for skin that looks naturally more even, radiant and smooth.

Sally Hansen Real Polish Strips — It wears like nail polish because it IS nail polish. No dry time, so you’re ready to go. This is so easy to apply, it wears for more than a week when topped with clear polish and looks fantastic with no nail damage.

Knockout Nails — This revolutionary new system will take your nails from short and brittle—to strong and beautiful. By strengthening the nails with its unique hardening ingredients, cured in the UV light, KNOCKOUTnails prevents the nails from chipping and breaking. Your nails are completely dry in 2 minutes, so you can go right back to your daily routine, no matter how strenuous. Knockout Nails protects and strengthens your natural nails so they become longer, stronger, and more beautiful. You can use any of your favorite polishes on top of KNOCKOUTnails.  This is like a gel manicure that allows you to change your polish color whenever you want. Your nails are always clear, strong and lovely!

Too Faced 3 Way Lash Lining Tool — A triple-tip lash-emphasizing tool that fills in spaces between lashes, giving the natural impression of thicker, more luscious lashes. This innovative 3-in-1 design makes lash emphasizing dots, tight-lining and traditional lash-lining easy. Great for cat eyes! This looks incredibly gimmicky, BUT WORKS and makes everything so easy!

What beauty products did you find most memorable this year? Are there any you’re eager to try? Let us know and keep checking back as we count down to the results of our annual Most Memorable New Product Launch survey!


Our Expert Picks The Top Five Tech Products of 2012

September 28, 2012

MMNPL’s Technology Expert Curtis Silver has more than experience when it comes to technology. Silver has written and worked for Wired.com, Gunnar Optiks, Technorati.com, and Digital Dads (writer of the 2nd best NFL column on the internet). Check out what our expert expects to be the most memorable tech products this year!

1. WiiU – What needs to be said about the first next generation system to be released by the big three? While Playstation and Xbox are still refining their next devices, Nintendo is first to the game – just in time for Christmas. With a handheld and portable controller, updating to HD and integrating more social factors, the WiiU is sure to be a huge hit.

2. Nokia Lumia 920 – This is the last chance for a Windows phone to grab enough market share to keep making Windows phones. The Lumia 920 is probably the sleekest, fastest mobile device that carries the Windows operating system. This is a nice phone. Easy to use, intuitive and streamlined. But is a multitude of colors enough to compete with Android and iOS? You are going to see more of these on the street in the coming months, as people realize that the fair market of operating systems makes for a stronger little guy.

3. iPhone 5 – I’m not a fan of the iPhone, but certainly of what it represents. While the iPhone is no more spectacular than the Samsung Galaxy III or the Motorola Razr, Apple still is able to not only innovate in their design and operating system, but easily profit while doing so. Love or hate Apple, their contribution to the hipster lifestyle can’t be ignored.

4. Origin PC Eon Laptops – Origin, a company made up of the former brains behind Alienware, is quickly becoming one of the elite manufacturers of high end gaming computers. Their EON line of gaming laptops include 3D options and amazing graphics and sound. Next time you go to PAX, E3 or CES check out how many gaming rigs are Origin PC’s. The Origin EON is going to bring Origin into the arena dominated by companies like Dell, and eventually push them out. Bottom line: if you are a gamer, you want an Origin.

5. Makerbot Replicator – An open source 3D printer? Yes please. This represents the future of so many independent industries, from animation to architecture and beyond. While the process still needs some refinement, this printer is the first step in a fairly new technology that is going to redefine how we mold and view the world.

Which do you think will be the most memorable? Let us know you expert opinion!


Our Expert Picks Top 5 Pet Products of 2012

September 24, 2012

Amanda Shih, our pet expert and dog trainer, walker, groomer and boarder created her blog, Doggie Product Review, to provide other dog owners with helpful, easy to understand product reviews. Based in Chicago, she reviews toys, treats, food and general tools. Here is her list of the top Five Most Memorable 2012 Pet Products.

Absolutely New’s Treat Launcher™ eliminates getting doggie drool on your hands and makes feeding time fun! Simply pull the trigger and a single piece of food is launched into the air.  Not only is this a great way to give your dog exercise, it also feeds your dog at the same time.

The DogGone Smart Pet Bed is the latest high tech product to hit the market for dog beds.  The  truly amazing water-resistant  Dog Gone Smart Pet Bed leaves your dog’s bed clean without compromising on fabric feel or comfort.

Bionic Toss N Tug Toyfloats, flies, and is guaranteed to be chewed and not break or Bionic will give you a new one for free! The demo video for this cool toy shows how it can survive a blender and  still look like new.They also have models that can be filled with treats to provide hours of safe fun for your pooch.

Frosty Bowlz has a freezable insert that will keep your pet’s water ice cold for up to 18 hours!  A must for hot summer days.

Pet Paint is just that: safe, non-toxic, and veterinarian approved paint for your dog. The first-of-its-kind, this product is sure to leave a lasting memory when you paint on your team’s colors. Imagine the looks your dog will draw at parades, social events, and parties all painted up and ready to show!

The year 2012 has introduced us to many new pet products. What do you think is the best new product? Which would you be most likely to try? Make sure to check back toward the end of the year, when we will be revealing our Most Memorable New Product Launch survey final results.


Launch Talk: What You Can Learn from the iPhone 5 Launch

September 13, 2012

No one launches products like Apple, and you can learn a lot from their hugely successful Apple Conference 2012 event. These events have become so iconic, they have truly changed the game when it comes to press conferences.

SA’s EVP Julie Hall and marketing coordinator Noel Fisher discuss how Apple manages to build buzz and gain media attention using the very traditional press conference.

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Launch of the Week: Starbucks Refreshers

August 27, 2012

Starbucks has brewed up a new alternative to coffee or sugary energy drinks- Starbucks Refreshers. Made with green coffee extract, can these beverages give consumers the light afternoon buzz they crave? And will they be one of 2012’s Most Memorable New Product Launches?


Barilla Makes 60-Second-Italian with Microwaveable Meals Launch

August 10, 2012

Barilla, the world’s leading pasta brand, recently made its first leap to the microwavable aisle with its tasty launch—Barilla Microwaveable Meals. From the cabinet to the microwave to the table, the new single serving meals bring a little piece of Italy right to the home in just 60 seconds.

The portable 320 calorie meals are available in five varieties including Mezze Penne with Traditional Marinara Sauce, Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce, Mezze Penne with Spicy Marinara Sauce, and in two whole grain options including Whole Grain Fusilli with Vegetable Marinara Sauce and Whole Grain Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce (and for those of you pasta lovers, that’s five different pasta dishes for five work days, but who’s counting?)

Barilla’s new creation was developed with the busy on-the-go professional in mind.

“[The meals] are shelf stable so you can throw them into your bag on your way out the door, or keep a supply in your desk drawer,” said Giannella Alvarez, president of Barilla America in a press release.

With the April 5th product announcement on the brand’s Facebook page, Barilla invited the first 1,000 users to register for a free sample of the microwaveable meals to be sent to their home. The samples were gone almost as soon as the offer was posted. Social media engagement didn’t stop there for the new all-natural meals; Twitter followers were encouraged to use the hashtag #BarillaIn60 to share their thoughts on the new product.

Barilla is no amateur when it comes to product launching. The top pasta brand invited editors from some of the most well-known New York City publications to test the new microwaveable meals, and captured the entire event on video—which they of course included on their YouTube channel.

Effective campaign initiatives aside, what makes these microwavable meals so different from the rest? For starters: simplicity. The meals are shelf stable and packed with quality ingredients minus the preservatives, not to mention they’re incredibly convenient. It’s easy products like this that consumers have come to expect, and as long as Barilla keeps launching them, they’ll keep holding onto that #1 spot.