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.


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 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.


MMNPL Product Preview: Wendy’s Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt

December 29, 2011

Wendy’s made headlines this year when they launched their first fry redesign in the company’s 41-year history. Check out our video to see why Wendy’s Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt launch campaign just might be spudtacular enough to be one of 2011’s Most Memorable New Product Launches.


Expert Panelist Phil Lempert of Supermarket Guru

November 16, 2011

With thousands of new food and beverage launches each year, new consumer packaged goods enter an extremely competitive market where it’s difficult to create a memorable impact on passive consumers. One of the recurring trends that we are finding in the CPG industry is using to catch consumer’s attention is the promise of simplification and convenience.

Food marketing expert Phil Lempert, the force behind SupermarketGuru.com, is a pioneer in news information media, specializing in consumer behavior. Here, he offers up his top five nominations for the 2011 MMNPL survey.

Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast

With five new microwavable breakfast foods (pancakes, waffles, entrées, sandwiches and French toast), Aunt Jemima is providing consumers with simple solutions for busy weekday mornings from a brand they already know and associate with a tasty breakfast. Calling on the slogan “Just Add Warmth,” these homemade tasting items can be prepared in just minutes using a toaster or microwave.

David’s Jumbo Sunflower Seeds

America’s favorite in-shell sunflower seeds are delicious and fun to eat anytime, anywhere, but the launch of their Jumbo Seeds is accompanied by a variety of new flavors, including Bar-B-Q, Ranch, and Chili Lime. It also exhibits new, portable packaging for convenient on-the-go enjoyment!

Dole Mixed Fruit Bowls

While most other fruit bowls contain fruit in syrup or other artificial sweeteners, Dole’s Mixed Fruit Bowls offer a healthier option, with all-natural fruit in 100% fruit juice. Awarded the 2011 Chefs Best Award for Best Taste, Dole’s Fruit Bowls are the perfect choice for a quick, healthy snack at home, in the office, or on-the-go.

Orville Redenbacher Pop up Bowl

The unique design of Orville Redenbacher’s Pop up Bowl demonstrates innovation at its finest: a microwave popcorn bag that opens on the side and morphs into a perfect popcorn bowl. By cutting out a buttery bag that only causes a greasy mess, this product has addressed the strong consumer need for convenience and simplification, ultimately revolutionizing your typical popcorn-eating experience.

Velveeta Cheesy Skillets

To address hectic family schedules during the back-to-school season, Kraft launched a new line of just-add-meat dinner kits that grant parents convenience and ease in the kitchen, allowing them to whip up a non-microwavable meal in no time. It solves the problem of wanting a home cooked meal, but not having a lot of time to prepare it. A pouch of Velveeta to mix in the meal is easier than mixing in powder, milk and butter, making this a quicker and easier option over other boxed meal kits.



Expert Panelist Domenick Celentano Nominates Products for 2011 MMNPL Survey

November 3, 2011

Thousands of new products are launched every year. While some products fail, others prove to be memorable launches. Domenick Celentano, author of the food and beverage guide for About.com and The Foodpreneur blog, offers his picks * for the most memorable new product launches of the year (product choices by Celentano, summaries compiled by the MMNPL staff).

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Sandwich Bread

This past year, Pepperidge Farm introduced the bread that smiles back. Available in three varieties, this bread does not contain high fructose corn syrup and boasts 3 grams of fiber per serving for only 120 calories. The bread is completely crust-free, ensuring that the pickiest eaters will have no reason to dislike it. This product created a lot of buzz through word of mouth marketing.
Kids loved the fun shape of the bread while busy mothers loved that their kids were eating healthy.  

 

Frito Lay All Natural Chips

Frito Lay introduced more than six dozen products made with all natural ingredients. The transition from processed to wholesome snack options is a result of rising health-consciousness among consumers. Promoting the “real ingredients” made by “real people” were key messages in this successful launch. Instead of using paid actors in their commercials, Frito Lay made a smart decision to use their employees, allowing consumers to get to know the real people behind the brand.

 

Triple Double Oreo

Oreo has literally taken this iconic brand to the next level.  With the introduction of the Triple Double Oreo, fans of the original cookie can now indulge in the new product, which includes one layer of original crème stuffing and one layer of chocolate stuffing sandwiched between three cookie wafers.  Oreo was smart to cash in on two important food trends– flavor layering and affordable indulgence. Consumers created a buzz online months before the Triple Double Oreo was released, proving once again that word of mouth is a powerful boost to marketing programs and sales. 

 

Bertolli® Premium Meal Soups for Two

Bertolli is bringing restaurant-style food home to you.  In partnership with Fabio Viviani, acclaimed Italian chef, restaurant owner and Top Chef contestant, Bertolli has released a line of soups based on Italian restaurant cooking.  Bertolli Premium Meal Soups for Two are available in four different varieties. The traditional, hearty Italian soups are used for the main course rather than a side dish or appetizer.   Bertolli also positioned this new soup meal as a healthy, affordable option for dinner during the recession. 

 

Amazon Kindle Fire

Since the announcement from Amazon in September, consumers have been waiting for the release of this new tablet.  The Amazon Kindle Fire allows users to watch movies and TV shows, purchase apps, play games, and surf the internet, all while still reading the eBooks they love on their Kindle.  The color touch screen, features and lower price point are why the Kindle Fire is a new and potentially fierce competitor to the iPad and other tablets.

 

Ben & Jerry’s Introduces ‘Schweddy Balls’ Ice Cream

Fans of the popular late-night TV show Saturday Night Live are giddy over Ben and Jerry’s new limited time flavor, “Schweddy Balls.”
In celebration of the 37th season of SNL, Ben and Jerry’s decided to create an ice cream flavor after one of the famous SNL skits starring Alec Baldwin.  The flavor consists of “vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and is loaded with fudge covered rum balls and milk chocolate malt balls.” The release of this ice cream flavor in September created quite the buzz through both word of mouth and the media.  This ice cream was talked by main stream media for about a week shortly after it was released, and then again in October when parent groups called for it to be removed from store shelves. Schweddy Balls may not be on the market for long, but many people are sure to remember the launch of this delicious product, specifically because of the controversy that surrounded it.

 

McDonalds Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

McDonald’s Frozen Strawberry Lemonade – the perfect drink for summertime.  Released in May, the drink is made by blending together a lemonade base, strawberry syrup on the bottom, and ice.  Sales were strong and proved that McCafe, isn’t just for coffee and smoothies anymore. Backed by a huge integrated marketing campaign, no wonder this cool drink should be considered for the most memorable product launch. 

*Not all products chosen by the MMNPL expert panelists are guaranteed to be included in the MMNPL survey due to our rigorous criteria for selecting new products.


Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Forge New Ideas in Quick and Easy Dinners

October 13, 2011

Velveeta and its parent company, Kraft, have earned a reputation for introducing products that provide families with convenience and ease in the kitchen. Building on Velveeta’s popular quick and easy meals, the new Velveeta Cheesy Skillets are creating a buzz. The difference between the new introduction and Velveeta’s past dinner products is that moms and dads can whip up a “real” non-microwaved meal for the family in no time. Kraft is targeting busy moms during back to school season, when hectic schedules necessitate quick and easy meals.

In the commercial, a suburban mom is abruptly greeted by a man dressed as a 19th century blacksmith holding an iron skillet and a box of Velveeta Cheesy Skillets as she attempts to leave the house to pick up dinner. The spokesman guides her hands while she prepares the meal in a way that is reminiscent of the famous pottery scene in the movie Ghost, all the while speaking in an olde English accent. Another Commercial portrays a mom attempting to prepare a meal in the microwave as the 19th century blacksmith appears yet again and stops her. He proclaims, “Reject these cold technology contraptions. Would you want the shoes of your horse forged in a microwave? Your Stove: Use it!”

Velveeta promoted Cheesy Skillets via their Facebook page where visitors could take a poll on which of the four flavors is their favorite, while reading up on a product description of each.

Along with television ads, Facebook, and YouTube, Velveeta is also activating one of the most effective tools in promoting a new product: word of mouth. Through promotions that encourage hosting a Velveeta Cheesy Skillets House Party, the brand is hoping to promote trial and create a buzz by asking people to upload their house party photos to the Facebook page.

With the school year in full swing, it will be interesting to see if Velveeta’s new launch and ad campaign are persuasive enough to take market share away from competitors like Hamburger Helper and make it to family dinner tables.


Pepperidge Farm Launches Bread that Smiles Back

October 3, 2011

For more than a decade, children have enjoyed the famous Goldfish crackers from Pepperidge Farm (smiling Goldfish crackers were launched by Schneider Associates many years ago) Now, Pepperidge Farm is leveraging their smiling Goldfish equity by launching Goldfish Sandwich Bread– the bread that smiles back.

The bread comes in three varieties: Soft White, Soft 100% Whole Wheat, and Soft Honey Whole Wheat. All three contain no high fructose corn syrup and boast 3 grams of fiber per serving for only 120 calories. Not to mention, the bread is completely crust-free, ensuring that the pickiest eaters will have no reason to dislike it.

“We are excited to offer kids and the young at heart a fun and healthful new way to enjoy their favorite sandwiches,” Maureen Linder, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fresh and Frozen Bakery at Pepperidge Farm said in a press release from the company.

To celebrate the launch, Pepperidge Farms conducted a national survey to unveil the hidden troubles of making lunches. In “The Shape of Sandwiches” survey, they found that parents often find making lunches difficult and even frustrating. Nine out of 10 moms revealed that their children find their sandwiches more appealing if the bread is cut into fun and creative shapes and sizes, and are more likely to eat them. 50% of mothers participating in the survey revealed that their children have requested triangular sandwiches while 23% revealed that their children have wanted their food in shapes of faces. Pepperidge farm created a product based on a unique consumer insight, fitting into the recent trend of Customer Calibration™ that we have been seeing.

Aside from the survey, Pepperidge Farms also participated in Evo ’11, a three-day social media conference for women in Park City, Utah, to showcase their new bread. They provided lunch for the conference on Friday, July 8th, where the new sandwich bread was a featured product. A photo op included a scenic picnic backdrop and a blow-up replica of the Goldfish mascot, Finn. Participant pictures were all uploaded onto the official Pepperidge Farms Facebook page.

So far, the reviews for Goldfish Sandwich Bread have been positive, which is no surprise considering the brand developed the product based on consumer insights. Is it the best thing since sliced bread? Could be.


The Triple Double Oreo: Delicious Indulgence and Nostalgic Delight

September 20, 2011

Another product on the MMNPL radar is a new snack from Nabisco.

As if the Double Stuf Oreos are not tasty enough, in August, Nabisco launched what may be their most indulgent Oreo ever – the Triple Double. With one layer of original crème stuffing and one layer of chocolate stuffing sandwiched between three cookie wafers, the Triple Double delivers deliciousness with 100 calories and 4.5 grams of fat per cookie.

A creative new entrant to the Oreo family, the Triple Double seems to have the appropriate qualities of a popular consumer trend that is currently taking the U.S. by storm: Multi-layered foods have been the center of some other recent launches, like Taco Bell’s Triple Steak Burrito and Trident Layers Gum. The 2011 Sweet and Snacks Expo also reported that candy with dual layers and multiple-flavor profiles in one bite were two of the top candy trends this year. Food that is designed in multiples may not appeal to the health conscious, but instead may attract those looking for a small indulgence with 100 calories (two other trends from last year, which we saw in the annual Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey).

To support the Triple Double launch, Nabisco called on the “Double Stuf Racing League,” a dream team comprised of celebrity athletes Shaquille O’Neal, Eli Manning, Venus Williams and Apolo Ohno. In 2008, the DSRL took part in TV advertisements for the Double Stuf Oreo, where they competed to achieve the fastest Oreo-eating time. Now, the DSRL Team is returning for the Triple Double. Fans can expect more twist-and-lick racing as TV ads air this month, with the challenging twist offering up the slogan: “Are You Game?”

“Now that I am retired I can spend more time perfecting my twist, lick and dunk skills, and with an added layer of creme and a third cookie, it’s clear that I am going to need the practice,” said O’Neal.

As part of an online campaign, Oreo has also launched a series of games via their company website. Participating fans will have the chance to win a trip to attend a sports event and have a meet-and-greet with one of the DSRL team members.

The use of famous athletes may help to counter negative perceptions of a fatty indulgence like the Triple Double, or it may simply coincide with the recent competitive eating interest generated by food-challenge reality shows, like Man vs. Food. Will the Triple Double be a slam-dunk for Nabisco? Only time will tell.