‘As Seen on TV’ Search: Lots of Promise, No Winners (Yet)

Direct-response TV product marketer Top Dog Direct did not pick any winners at last week’s Shark Tank-like pitch-a-thon in Philadelphia. But it did see lots of very creative folks with lots of creative—and often bizarre—product ideas. Such as a bib made for sloppy adults.

“Love the pitch,” Top Dog’s Bill McAlister said of Maria Merlino’s idea. “It’s a mail-order item. I’m not sure it’s TV. It’s really cool, though.”

McAlister didn’t sign any contracts last week, but he and Top Dog may take their Speed Pitch on the road and invite people around the country to pitch their products. Top Dog, a stalwart in the $2 billion As Seen on TV industry, heard 20 pitches last week. Its past successes have included popular hair product Hot Buns, created by San Diego TV news anchor Taylor Baldwin.

“I’m floored that I could think of something . . . and it’s selling on store shelves and they can’t keep it in stock,” said Hot Buns creator Baldwin.

“It’s all about the next product,” said McAlister. “What happens is these products all die. They all have a shelf life, and you have to find the next one.”

Top Dog pays inventors a percentage of every sale, McAlister told Phylly.com: “I’m of the firm belief that the deal has to be good for everyone involved.”


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