Criterion et al
First off I don't disagree with any of the comments on the web site because as I had indicated, it's still a work in progress and I have been focusing most of my energy elsewhere lately. Eventually the site will get revamped, and re-focused. Part of the reason why the website isn't as simple and direct as it eventually will be is that I had been waiting until the patent was filed. Because the invention is SO SIMPLE, I have been very concerned about someone beating me to the punch if I disclosed more information. That's why in the side-by-side lamp demo you see the EFFECT of the product but NOT the product itself. There's another reason for playing it coy and that's because it's part of an initial marketing strategy. For that same reason (and others), I chose the rather ambiguous name for the product.
I had people suggest taking a more direct approach with regard to the name but I wanted it to be a bit more creative. I also wanted to include the word "Magic" from the start because it seems that's a virtual requirement for just about everything Billy Mays is pitching these days and yes, I was once under the delusion that he would just jump at the chance to pitch my incredible, unbelievable, life-changing product.
Then I woke up and was jolted back to reality. The idea was to pique people's curiosity as in: "Magic Toob? What the hell is that??" Then when someone actually SEES the product it's like "Oh, I get it, the Magic Toob is actually a Magic TUBE
!" Will I be right in this approach? I'll have to get back to you on that! I was convinced at the start and I still am that once I actually show people the product they'll instantly figure out how it works. But don't take my word for it. Go to http://www.nimblejackenterprises.com
and you can see another video that shows the toob actually being installed on the bulb clip. (That will be the package I'll soon be sending to A.J. Khubani...
) Eventually when the Magic Toob site gets revamped, that video along with the side-by-side demo will both be front and center. And quite frankly, after seeing those both of those videos anyone who can't figure out how the product works or what it does might actually be too stupid to live...
Back to the rather unusual marketing campaign. Well since I don't expect a call from the Discovery Channel begging me to be on the show Pitchmen anytime soon and because TV advertising is ridiculously expensive, I've come up with a sort of "guerilla marketing" approach. So if you'll all indulge me while I sketch it out for you, you can then please feel free to offer any critiques you may have. Don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings!
Okay, so I first looked into becoming a supplier to all of the following: Home Depot, Lowes, GE, Wal-Mart, Sears, Trader Joes, Ace hardware, etc. Virtually all of them have a way to apply to become a vendor. But unfortunately (pay attention all you newbies out there!) I kinda put the cart before the horse on that one. When you fill out one of those applications they ask for things like a picture of your product: Sorry, patent's not filed yet, can't really show it to ya! Company name? Nimble Jack Enterprises. But don't go lookin' for it at ThomasNet cause it ain't there! Moving on... Number of employees? Ummm... <ahem> One. Annual sales? Ahhhh... Zero. I think you guys get the picture. However, now that I have patent pending status and all the (bogus) protection that offers, hell, they can have all the pics they want now! Of course, the annual sales questions is still a bit sticky...
Okay back to the guerilla marketing. The plan is to make up a bunch (hundreds) of free samples and try taking them some small independently owned hardware stores, etc. The samples all say "FREE SAMPLE!" in big bold letters and they all show a picture of the product similar to the one on the t-shirts that are being printed as I type this. BTW, the t-shirts: 100 Hanes Beefy T's (very good quality). The cost was $724.00 and the shipping is free. So that $7.24 per shirt. If I give them all away that's pretty short money for what amounts to 100 walking billboards displaying the product! Both the samples and the shirts have the web address on them. This is where the real guerilla marketing campaign comes in. I just signed a contract with a young guy who already has a fairly large You Tube following. (For anyone who's interested I can send you some links to some of his videos.) I found him through and ad for interns that I posted on Craig's List. I posted it in four different categories at $25.00 per for a total of $100. Again, fairly short money. (I've gotten about two dozen responses and I'm still getting them!) So the plan is to have this kid with somewhat warped off the wall sense of humor create a series of viral videos about the Magic Toob. Think of something with an absurd plot line right out of Austin Powers. In each video (in which every single indoor scene has at least one very crooked lampshade in the background), there's all kinds of talk about the product but you never actually see it. The theory here is basically one of reverse psychology, i.e. if you want something to spread like wildfire, just tell people it's a secret! The plan is for a series of videos each of which will have an over-the-top style designed to make the viewer think that nothing less than the fate of the entire world rests on getting this miraculous new product into the hands of the consumer. Each video ends in dramatic cliffhanger fashion leaving the viewer anxiously awaiting the next episode, or so I hope! Am I crazy? Maybe. Or perhaps crazy like a fox. My young would-be Mel Brooks has gotten thousands and in some cases, tens of thousands of views on his other You Tube work soooo… we'll see!
Okay, this post is already way too long so let me quickly try to address some of Crit's comments. As stated (and perhaps overstated) the website will get totally revamped from what you see today. In the meantime, please check out the Nimble Jack Enterprises site (also a work in progress) and check out the video that actually shows the product. [A little aside here. When you view that video try not to notice how dinged up my hands are. I had a hand model all lined up but alas it turned out he was not master of his domain. That's for all you Seinfeld fans out there!
) Now with respect to Crit's comments, I took a look at the StraightShade site and you can color me underwhelmed. I will positively smoke that guy! LOL! Seriously though, while I get the theory behind it, I can't see it posing any sort of challenge if and when the Magic Toob gets off the ground. That product appears to be targeted primarily to the mini shades used on chandeliers and because they so small and lightweight, I'm not even convinced that the swiveling bulb clip will even work. It certainly doesn't look as though it would be very useful for table lamps unless you live on a boat perhaps. And unless I'm mistaken, that's something that would only be effective as part of a newly manufactured shade which does nothing to address all the crooked shades already out there. Lastly, based on the picture shown, it appears to made out of brass coated steel which is the norm for virtually all bulb clips (trust me on this, I've done my homework!) and over time that stuff will inevitably rust. When that happens, so much for that free moving swivel action.
Crit also mentions "US patent 5,462,105". Did you look that one up dude? That patent applies to window shades. Now you could be right and perhaps my idea has been done before but it sure as hell didn't show up on the rigorous search that Russ Weinzimmer & Associates took three weeks to complete. I spent over an hour on the phone with him and a member of his team going over everything they did find in excruciating detail and there simply isn't anything similar out there that's been published anywhere so I'm fairly confident that the idea is unique.
There's a LOT more to the Magic Toob story (or should I say "saga") but I've taken up enough eyeball time for now. Please continue with the critiques as they are most valuable because I think one of the worst mistakes an inventor can make is to fall in love with his or her own idea. Think back to the Pitchmen episode that featured the Grab It gizmo that that guy spend $13 million on, yikes!