Posted by: Marty Fahncke | June 8, 2007

American Inventor – Review of Inventions (Episode 1)

Light Bulb

In anticipation of my seminar for inventors coming up on June 21st, I’ve decided to watch the show “American Inventor” and provide a review about each episode on this blog.

My perspective will come from my 20 years of experience selling inventions and new products via Electronic Retailing, which includes television (infomercials, home shopping), the telephone (telemarketing, Teleseminars), and the internet.

I won’t comment on EVERY invention shown on the program, as some are so bad, they don’t even require the time to discuss them.

I will focus mostly on the following:

#1 –Inventions I think would be good for Electronic Retailing
#2 – Inventions where I think the judges got it wrong
#3 – Miscellaneous thoughts

So, on with the review of Episode 1:

Invention: Autobib
Inventor: Debbie Soloman
Summary: A bib you wear when you are eating in your car, to keep food and drink off your clothes if you spill.
Comments: This isn’t an electronic retailing product, but I do think it’s a good invention. McDonalds or Sonic should be calling this lady and getting an exclusive on this invention as a giveaway (or upsell) to their customers.

Invention: Motion Flag
Inventor: Not named
Summary: An American flag on a motorized pole which moves so the flag waves even when it’s not windy.
Comments: The judges said no to this, as they thought it was a stupid idea. The VERY NEXT DAY, I saw this item for sale on the shelf at WalMart. Shows you how much the judges know.

Invention: Therapy Buddy
Inventor: Peter Kopelle
Summary: A stuffed animal for adults that plays a recording over and over “Everything is going to be alright”
Comment: This product was turned down in last season’s American Inventor, but the judges let it through this time. It’s a weird invention, and I can’t imagine it will make it very far in the competition. What were they thinking?

Invention: Guardian Angel
Inventor: Greg Chavez
Summary: A fire prevention item. Consists of a tree-top Angel which dumps water over your Christmas tree if it catches on fire. Invented by a fireman tired of seeing people killed at Christmas when their trees catch fire.
Comments: This is a good invention, with a GREAT back story. That’s half the battle right there. If you can tell a good story, that people can relate to, you can sell product.

Traditionally, “preventative” products do not sell well on TV, and they are a tough sell overall. (For example, how many of you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, even though you KNOW you should have one handy?) However, this item has a lot of elements that could make it successful if done just right.

Bottom line, there were only a couple of mildly decent ideas on the show, with no “aha” moments yet.

Stay tuned for more after Episode 2…



  2. Hi:

    Here’s the latest update on Anecia – Last Year’s Winner

    We do a live blog and show recap every Wednesday during American Inventor at

    We hope you will stop by and join in if you can. We have a lot of the former finalists and new auditioners joining in at

    We’d love to add your comments and a link to your site on our live blog.

  3. […] The San Francisco finalist was the Guardian Angel invented by Greg Chavez, which I discussed in last weeks post. […]

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