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

January 23, 2013


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:


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.


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!


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.


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.


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 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 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 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 of the Week: Barilla Microwavable Meals

July 27, 2012

Barilla, famous for their fresh, frozen and dried pastas, sauces and meals, has launched its first line of microwavable meals. Ready in 60 seconds, 320 calories each and 5 great flavors to choose from- will this pronto pasta be perfecto for Barilla?

3M’s New Lead Check Products Aim To Make Lead Detection Quicker

May 29, 2012

MMNPL’s Ashley DePaolo stopped by the 3M booth at the 2012 National Hardware Show to learn about their new product Lead Check.

Ashley DePaolo: Alright so Mona tell me your name, title, and what you do at 3M.

Mona Jannahuskey: My name is Mona Jannahuskey and I’m a technical manager in the construction and home improvement markets laboratory, and I have responsibility for our scotch blue masking tape products, our duct tape products and the product we’re going to be talking about today.

Ashley: Great! So tell me about lead check.

Mona: Okay, so we have this product out that’s called Lead Check, and it’s the first product that was recognized by the EPA to test for lead on metal and wood, and recently it has just been recognized by the EPA for drywall and plaster. So, that’s been a huge boom for our contractors.

Ashley: When the product first launched I assume that, and you know correct me if I’m wrong here, that you were probably more focused on the contractor market?

Mona: Yes definitely. Because there was a ruling that came out, an RRP ruling- Renovation, Repair and Painting- that came out that said that pre-1978 homes had to be checked for lead before any renovation had to be done. And these contractors, if they found lead, had to be certified in order to do the renovation.

Ashley: Then over the evolution of the product being available in the marketplace, has your focus at all shifted to the consumer so they can sort of check their own house?

Mona: Yes. We do have what is called a Lead Check Screen, and that’s going to be something that’s coming out so they’ll be able to take a look into toys and just get an idea if there is something there then you should be contacting a contractor that is skilled and has been trained in renovation for lead

Ashley: So tell me, where is Lead Check available?

Mona: This product is available in most of the major home centers.

Ashley: And what’s the price point?

Mona: You can do this test for about um $5 a swab so we have a 2 pack and we have an 8 pack the 8 pack retails for about $24.99 and the 2 pack is right around the $10 point.

Ashley: Great! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me.

Mona: Thank you.

Check back soon for more interviews, videos and product demos from the 2012 National Hardware Show.

New Product Launches at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas

May 15, 2012

New Product Launches at the
National Hardware Show in Las Vegas

MMNPL Reporter and VP of Schneider Associates’ Home Products Practice Ashley DePaolo traveled to the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas earlier this month and got the scoop from exhibitors about new product introductions on display at the show. Ashley recorded video interviews with representatives from stalwarts like 3M, Ingersoll-Rand, Duck Tape, EZ Lawn and Garden and the Money Pit team, as well as brands like PIC Pest Free Living, Mr. Longarm, Lead Check, Command Brand, iTouchless and Xodus Innovations. Check out this mashup-style intro to all the fun, festivities and fantastic new products at the 2012 National Hardware Show.

What’s next for food marketers? More Migration Marketing.

May 14, 2012

What’s next for food marketers? More Migration Marketing.

Foodpreneur Dom Celentano interviews product launch expert Julie Hall about a continuing trend of migration marketing, where food brands and manufacturers create products for new consumer audiences and retail channels. Recent examples highlighted include QSR chains like IHOP and Olive Garden creating supermarket grocery products. The article discusses how for food marketers, brand and product positioning is essential.

Read more about the Migration Marketing trend.

Axe Introduces New Fragrance for Women

March 5, 2012

Axe top left

A product launch that we are watching for possible inclusion in the 2012 MMNPL is the newest body spray from Axe.

Axe, the body spray and grooming brand by Unilever, famous for its ads that turn average young men into heroic “girl-magnets,” recently launched the newest addition to its line of body sprays: Anarchy, a scent marketed towards men and women.

The campaign, by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, focuses on the idea of chaos and commotion, using dramatic online and print advertisements to stir up attention. The online promotion kicked-off with a teaser commercial, also seen in movie theaters, which featured the “Anarchy” concept without revealing the new product for women.

Social media, specifically the Axe Facebook page, played a key role in unleashing the “anarchist” scent. Up until the launch, Facebook users were greeted with a countdown to the fragrance release using the text “Anarchy is coming.” Free samples were distributed before the product hit stores for Facebook users who answered all of the questions correctly on an Axe quiz.

Axe also launched an original graphic novel in partnership with Aspen Comics, appropriately titled “Anarchy,” via A1 YouTube and Facebook.  The graphic novel, “Anarchy Girl,.” Was created with fan feedback in real time, with Axe consumers voting on the comic’s plotline, characters and other aspects online through Axe’s social media channels. Some lucky fans also had comic versions of themselves featured in the novel after “liking” specific Axe Facebook posts or contributing their ideas.

To elaborate on their “Are you ready for unexpected attraction at every turn?” marketing campaign, Axe produced their usual suggestive commercial: a female police officer chasing a male robber through the city, only to meet with an incredible force of attraction at the end of the ad.

A222 A limited edition release, the question is will the body spray make women forgo their normal stand-by and make Axe Anarchy body spray their new choice? Barret Roberts, Senior Brand Manager at Axe, told the New York Times, “We’ve been hearing for some time that females have been asking for and looking for their very own scent of Axe.”

At SA, we believe this is not anarchy, just smart marketing.

Tide Redefines Laundry Detergent Packaging with New Pods

June 2, 2011

Procter & Gamble Co. is launching its biggest laundry detergent innovation in decades: Tide Pods. These highly concentrated tablets – two times more concentrated than the regular Tide liquid – have three chambers of detergent inside a plastic film that dissolves in cold water. The tablets contain only ten percent water, and can be used in regular and high-efficiency machines.

Even though the U.S. market has traditionally resisted using laundry tablets, Proctor & Gamble is backing Tide Pods with a $150 million marketing campaign. “We want marketing that’s as innovative as the product technology,” said Alex Keith, VP of North American laundry in an interview with Ad Age. “The powder-based tablets we launched last time came right as the market was making an inflection point toward liquid detergents.” Tide’s goal is to shift the work of pre-treating, soaking, and other laundry-related tasks to the detergent. The test results so far have been compelling; with 97 percent of test consumers agreeing that the new formula “provides excellent results with minimal time and effort.”

The media is already buzzing about the test launch that is scheduled for July, with the full line hitting shelves early next year. Originally planned for September, the Launch was pushed back due to high retail distribution demand. Procter & Gamble took a risk letting their competitors know about Tide Pods five months before it is available, but the brand is confident its patents will protect the product. “I don’t imagine that this is going to be able to be copied in any way that it will become a threat,” P&G Chief Executive Robert McDonald was reported as saying by Fox Business News.

Tide Pods follows in the footsteps of Tide Stain Release single-dose gel packets, launched in 2009, which have become the Stain Release line’s most popular product. Can a pod-ful of innovation and a $150 million marketing load change consumer thinking and habits? One thing is for sure: It will all come out in the wash.