It was Christmas week in late 2016 when I first caught wind of an As Seen on TV “spin broom.” In that case, it was the Hurricane Spin Broom. Obviously, I was already keenly aware of the Hurricane brand from the Hurricane Spin Mop and the Hurricane Spin Scrubber. So I know that when Hurricane slaps its name on a new product, there will probably be a few dollars backing an upcoming marketing push.
Although that didn’t really manifest right away, I did notice two more spin brooms started advertising about a month later: Roto Sweep and Turbo Tiger Sweeper.
Roto Sweep’s pitchman kept dropping the “Fuller Brush Company” name, but I was rather surprised to see that the Fuller website made no mention of Roto Sweep. Nor did its Facebook page. I reached out to a Fuller customer service rep for clarification – and she hadn’t heard of Roto Sweep either! “Licensing,” I thought. I still don’t know for sure, but that continues to be my theory.
The Turbo Tiger Sweep has remained on the fringes, but Roto Sweep has practically exploded over the past month. It seems that the entire world is suddenly interested in this bright red spinning broom pitched by the quirky guy in the gray shoes. And I get it, because it is a very innovative design in the way the outer brushes protrude to grab debris up against baseboards. The fact that it doesn’t require electricity is another plus. The built-in dustpan? Awesome.
With as many As Seen on TV lawsuits as I’ve followed over the years, I figured there must have been an “original” in this category. Hurricane fired first, so was that the original?
As it turns out, the original wasn’t really on my radar.
It took some digging, but I eventually ran across an old QVC video on YouTube of a product called Easy Edge (which I’ve also seen stylized as “EasyEdge” and “EasyEDGE”) that looked very similar to these other three items, right down to the bright red plastic seen on Roto Sweep.
The more I dug, the more I realized that this was the first spin broom with this design, invented by a man named John Iside several years ago. And, perhaps not surprisingly, I was able to order one for about $16 and shipping right from QVC – and it arrived two days before expected. No “double offer” or mandatory “get one with additional processing” or “four to six weeks delivery.”
So I put my Easy Edge to the test, and it worked wonderfully. I can tell that it’s made of high quality materials and that Mr. Iside painstakingly crafted this sweeper with the consumer in mind.
So what does this mean if the As Seen on TV industry adopted his design? Can they be sued? Are these blatant knockoffs of Easy Edge?
Can they be sued? Of course. Recent history shows how litigious these As Seen on TV companies are, and that’s not a fight that is easy to wage or win. I’ve seen some egregious wins in court, even when a product was blatantly copied. So, no, I don’t think Easy Edge will pull that trigger, even with QVC on its side.
And that may leave things wide open. The current As Seen on TV status quo usually finds nearly identical items from competing companies – released at almost the exact same time – with the consumer left to figure out if there is any discernible difference (and usually there isn’t).
For example, I own both the Atomic Beam Lantern and the Bell & Howell TacLight Lantern – and I can barely tell them apart. The only real difference is the shade of plastic and the logo. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were made in the same factory with the same machinery.
Have you followed the lawsuits of Copper Chef vs Red Copper vs Gotham Steel? How about the expandable hoses or fast-fill balloons?
So in 2017, I think we’ll have many months of competing sweepers on the market, with Easy Edge, Roto Sweep, Hurricane Spin Broom, and Turbo Tiger Sweep all currently in the mix. And that doesn’t even count all of the counterfeits and knockoffs on Amazon. But I don’t think this will end up in court because the original is quite easy to discern.
What I find the most ironic, however, is that Easy Edge is the least expensive of all of them and the first to arrive online, yet it’s the least known.
Can a QVC exclusive overcome an avalanche of As Seen on TV marketing? Probably. In fact, my sources tell me that Easy Edge has benefited to some extent from the arrival of these other spin brooms.
As of this June 2017 update, both Roto Sweep and Hurricane Spin Broom are available in stores for about $20. It seems that Telebrands/Bulbhead’s marketing behind Hurricane Spin Broom has (not surprisingly) won this war for now.
I have a nice three-way comparison video you may want to peruse. My results found that Roto Sweep performed below the others, despite its nearly identical design to EasyEdge.
If spin brooms don’t become the “next big thing” in the As Seen on TV world, my next guess would be metal garden hoses, and there are already a few of those in stores now. Look out for those to push bigtime in the Spring and Summer.
Updated June 2017.