A.J. Khubani, CEO of Ped Egg marketer TeleBrands, credits that portion of the direct-response TV ads, unappetizing as it may be, for the success of Ped Egg, which has sold more than 30 million units in a little over two years, or more than $300 million in total.
In a personal-care industry that's been bereft of big hits recently, that likely qualifies Ped Egg as the biggest new product in the past couple of years, and it's one that's inspired copycats from Revlon to Dr. Scholl's.
For Mr. Khubani, who's seen the ups and downs of direct-response, including bankruptcy reorganization in 2000 and hits ranging from Amber Vision sunglasses to Doggy Steps, for pups who've lost their vertical leap, it's not about style points. It's about giving consumers what they want, based on how they vote with their purchases. Hence, he kept Billy Mays ads on-air for months after the pitchman died.
He's also taught entrepreneurship as an adjunct professor at Princeton, getting laughs when he shows some of his commercials. "They think it's corny," he said. "I tell them it's corny because that's what works. It's schlocky because that's what people respond to."
Mr. Khubani is convinced that the continued success of products like the Ped Egg, even in an era of the DVR when a growing segment of the population can skip his ads, is a testament to the fact that people are still interested in what he's got to sell.
|A.J. Khubani, CEO, Telebrands|
It's not always necessary to be first, just better, he said, pointing to the iPod. But being early doesn't hurt, as he said Ped Egg continues to outsell newer offerings from bigger players. And seeing is believing, as in the Ped Egg shavings and what Mr. Khubani describes as a precursor -- Kao's Biore blackhead-removing strips.
"People can see the fruits of their efforts," he said. Fruits? He may want to stay away from the food business, but Mr. Khubani seems to have the gadget business nailed.