Let’s Get Quirky

Three ideas. One winner. To the victor go the spoils. I’ll explain the stakes at the end of this post.

PlayMaker T-Shirt: The PlayMaker T-Shirt lets you draw up plays for sports on the shirt with your finger (similar to running your finger against the grain on a carpet) and then wipe it clean with a swipe of your hand so only your teammates know their routes. Perfect for pick-up football.

Pit Bull Deodorant: This new twist on deodorant prevents dreaded pit stains from ever forming by infusing deodorizing chemicals with non-toxic laundry crystals. When your shirt soaks up sweat, it also absorbs the cleansing crystals, prepping it for a proper clean hours before you drop it in the wash.

Curve Spray Bottle: A spray bottle that sprays just as well horizontally as it does vertically (see diagram below).

Before you reply to the poll, consider this: I’m thinking about submitting one of these ideas to Quirky.com. Quirky is a site that takes a single idea, crowdsources it to refine and design the concept, and then builds, produces, and sells the product. The originator of the idea can make a fair amount of money, and everyone who contributes to the design and refining process owns a very small share as well.

The “catch?” It’s brilliant, really. To submit an idea, you have to pay $99. Seems steep, but really it keeps out a lot of ideas that should either be Googled first (they already exist) or are just plain bad.

So. Are any of these ideas worth the $99 it’ll take for me to submit it?

Daily Quickie: If you’ve seen Inception, read this article about the various possibilities that the end suggests. I’m a proponent of #3. Also read Blank Slate Press author Fred Venturini’s fascinating take on the ending.

14 thoughts on “Let’s Get Quirky”

  1. I voted for the deodorant, even though I think the curved bottle would market and sell better. The reasoning behind my vote is that you can probably concoct a bottle like that for cheaper than submitting an idea for $99 then only making some of the profits.

    • Good point. I’m also somewhat suspicious of the profitability of the bottle. I think they could either be sold empty so that people could fill them with Windex, or they could come with some cleaning agent already on the inside.

      No PlayMaker? You don’t want football-playing men drawing out plays on your chest?

      • I just don’t see the playmaker as a versatile product. It’s so specific… very few people would actually need it. I mean, just from a commercial standpoint, I can imagine these:

        Happy housewife spraying windex out of her bottle horizontally to shine up that glass coffeetable (yes, we have one and I hate it. It’s ALWAYS dirty. I didn’t buy it though…it came with the boyfriend). Maybe something about not wasting anything (reduce part of the reduce/recycle/reuse program)

        Family members playing sports or out running around with friends or mowing the lawn etc. And then a visual of how the pit stains are going away already. Cut to product with VO “Works so you don’t have to.”

        A 20s age guy in dress clothes running full speed from a pit bull. (very Axe type of advertising with this one) Then he leaps through the air (over a raising drawbridge in Manhatten, obviously) and his pits are visible and the frame freezes to show that he has no pit stains forming. Then he makes it to the other side of the bridge, no dog in pursuit still. Cut to him in same clothes sliding up next to hot chick in a posh restaurant. Cut to product with VO “It’s that tough.”

        But I’m having issues visualizing a pick up football game with average and hot guys in 20-30s using a play eraser shirt thing. Every time I think of it, I imagine silly frat boys who don’t look real. Would guys really buy it? I don’t know.

        • Your mind works like a commercial. Well done. I like the Pit Bull one a lot. Maybe I could cast Brad Pitt in the role.

  2. Seriously, I love the spray bottle idea! Such a simple and instantly recognizable solution to a problem that does cause me some irritation, especially because I do pinch pennies and try to be environmentally friendly by using products to the last drop. I cut my moisturizer and toothpaste tubes in half with a scissors when I’m running low, and keep scooping the goop out. Then I just insert one half of the plastic into the other half, and the products usually last several more days to a week. So, if someone sells that curvy spray bottle, I’ll likely be all over it.

    • So I ask this question to you and others: Do I propose the spray bottle as an empty bottle, or do I include something in it?

  3. I really like the playmaker t-shirt and the pitt bull, but I voted for the spray bottle. Here’s why:

    – I worry that no one will buy the playmaker t-shirt. Would you? I think most actual pickup football players are satisfied using their finger and drawing imaginary routes. The playmaker also may cause them to get made fun of as they pull a marker out of their pocket during a game.
    – I think the Pitt Bull is the best idea, but I’m wary of its viability. I’m not sure it’s safe to put cleaning products directly on your body like that. I’m worried that you might poison people, and I feel like the cleaning + sweat protection idea is one that deodorant makers have probably been pondering for decades without making this combination happen. I worry that there must be a reason…
    – The spray bottle. Easy. Helpful. Awesome (as long as it doesn’t already exist). I feel like I’ve heard of this before.

    Great ideas though! Honestly, if I were you, I’d dip back into the March of Mad Ideas. You had some darn good ones in there that are still valid and interesting over 2 years later: https://jameystegmaier.com/2008/04/the-final-four/

    • Well, let me clarify the PlayMaker t-shirt: You draw on it with your finger and it leaves a distinct trail, kind of like if you draw a line in velvet by moving your finger against the grain. So there’s no marker involved. Based on that, I think I would buy it as an upgrade to an existing shirt. Like if I had the choice between a regular Under Armour shirt and one that you could draw plays on, I’d choose that one.

      As for Pit Bull, I think it’s possible. We put all sorts of chemicals on our skin every day (including whatever they use to dry clean clothes…that stuff can’t be good!) But maybe you’re right–maybe deodorant makers have already tried this.

      You may have heard of the spray bottle before on this blog–I posted the idea here about two years ago.

  4. On the spray bottle, be sure that the head twists independantly of the straw, so you can spray directly up as well.

    I can see TONS of applications to a temporarily writable t-shirt, but more for comedic messages. Imagine Trevor having an iron-on he could change the message on at his whim. But I don’t like the thick fiber idea, like velvet (it’ll get REALLY hot). Maybe something light and temperature sensitive, like a mood-ring fabrick. Or something to do with those old pin things we had as kids, where you put your face on it, and suddenly you can your face on the other side of the pins.

    I’ve never had a problem with Pit stains, so I have no comment on this… other than ler Lorenna’s commercial. Pit stains are usually long-term. You’re not talking about eliminating sweat, you’re addressing it with detergent. So the moisture will still be there.

    How fleshed out do these have to be to send them in?

    • I think the more fleshed out they are, the better the chance they have at getting selected.

      And I didn’t actually envision velvet sporting shirts :). I picture a normal-looking t-shirt that had a special material for the writing.

  5. You need another poll option… If you really believe – I mean REALLY believe – in your product idea, don’t give it away to Quirky. Make it yourself.

    The spray bottle’s a winner, but I’d do a patent search first. Not to rain on your parade, but there’s no way that hasn’t been thought of already. If it hasn’t, and you have a some serious cash/heart to put into it, you could be a rich man.

  6. I hate all those, “give us your idea, and we’ll make it, and give you pennies on the dollar for it, but feel good about yourself that your idea was actually produced” things. Quirky is even worse – they make you pay them for the privilege of making more money than you on your own idea. No thanks.

    I like your bottle design better, but yeah, research rules for new product ideas.

    • Really? Hate is a strong word. I feel like a lot of people aren’t equipped to make choices about industrial design and factory choices and product placement and shelf life and all that. But more than anything, I think those services give people like me–people with full time jobs that are actually pretty good (and I already have something on the side anyway)–a chance to make their product come to life.

      But I hear you about pennies on the dollar.


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