Ask Mike: Glass Cleaner on DRTV?

Irina asks:

"You have mentioned that the product needs to be a stand alone and not an add-on to an existing product. Now this got me a bit confused in regards to my product which I am thinking of putting on DRTV. My product is a streak-free, natural, safe, glass cleaner that can be used for glass, mirrors, electronics, screens on tvs, computers, ipads and more. The market test was very positive. From your professional point of view do you think I should launch DRTV, is it an add-on?, any suggestions will be appreciated? Thank you."

Stand-alone products are much easier to get on the market than add-ons and accessories.They can be used right out of the box, never need approvals from third parties (except, perhaps governmental approvals) and are not limited by the market share of another product. A remote control for Sony TVs does not stand alone. A universal remote control that works on all TVs (and more) does stand alone (everyone owns some kind of TV).

Since it does not need a special device made by someone else to apply it or wipe it up, your glass cleaning liquid stands alone.

If you can get a reputable DRTV company to test or launch your product you should go for it. The cost of creating and testing a 2-minute spot runs around $50,000-$100,000 depending on how the deal is structured, how excited the other parties (producer, media buyers, fulfillment house, telemarketers) are about your product and the cost of test inventory.

If you are thinking of doing the whole thing yourself, I strongly urge you to test it first on QVC or HSN. Success on home shopping TV does not guarantee DRTV success. However, the opposite is generally true: if your product fails on QVC/HSN then it is very unlikely to succeed as a DRTV spot.

You should take steps to increase the value of your intellectual property by protecting it. Patent protection for the ingredients of your glass cleaner is probably impossible and would likely be worthless anyway. But a product name should be trademarked (I don't know about the one you used in your question). You should also get an Internet domain name that corresponds closely to the product name. Relative to a patent a trademark is inexpensive (as little as $325 if you do it yourself) and a domain name is dirt cheap (approx $12 per year).

Names are critical in DRTV spots. They help paint the picture and ideally will ring in consumer ears for years and years after the spot is gone.

Now to the bottom line. Should you launch a glass cleaning product in a DRTV spot? I wouldn't do it with my own money. If I could get a deal with a royalty between 2-5% I'd jump on it.


For more than two decades Mike Marks has been active in creating and marketing new products and forming new businesses. As founder of Invention City and co-founder/partner of WorkTools, Inc., Endeavor Products Company, and Accentra Inc., he has managed the design, manufacturing, marketing, patenting and licensing of products such as the Gator-Grip® Universal Socket the Black & Decker PowerShot® staple gun, the PaperPro desktop stapler and more. Over the past ten years products developed by WorkTools have generated over $350 million in retail sales and over $8 million in royalties. Mike has negotiated a wide range of contracts, established manufacturing operations in Taiwan and China, managed national and international sales, run public relations/advertising campaigns and written and produced television commercials and video news releases. Prior to founding WorkTools in 1986, Mike worked as a commercial photographer and photojournalist in New York for clients such as American Express, Nikon and Newsweek Magazine. Mike graduated from UCLA in 1978 with a degree in Economics.

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