Saturday, April 10, 2010

SkyMall: The Best Mall

Many of you may be familiar with SkyMall, the shopping magazine you find in front of you on airplanes, filled with delightful and zany inventions. For years I've considered it one of the greatest joys of air travel (although you can peruse their products anytime, it's just not the same). If you're familiar with SkyMall, and with me, you might find we're a perfect match-- both creating unique, innovative products that no one else seems to appreciate.

Let me first offer a sample of my own work-in-progress product list. My personal favourite is a fashionable food thermometer, which makes you look chic and trendy while ensuring that you don't ruin the rest of your week by eating a burrito that is hotter at its core than you expected. (It has happened to all of us.) You can even customize it to your ideal food temperature, so nothing is ever too hot or too cold. That's right, Goldilocks, this one is for YOU!

Another invention, to which most of the credit goes to my collaborator and "fraintance" Jeff Hollenbeck, is a lead, pen(cil) stamp used for standardized testing. When fellow students are losing precious seconds filling in circles like monkeys for multiple choice questions on the ACT or SAT, you can just stamp, stamp, stamp your heart away with this mechanism! To be totally honest, this idea is becoming less and less marketable with the onset of computerized test-taking. But who knows how many students could advance their scores on the ACT/SAT in this year alone with the release of the lead stamp invention?!

By comparison, SkyMall features such unusual products as tools for "potty training" your cat to use your personal toilet (seen here), a ball-point "spy" pen boasting a hidden video-recording device (seen here), and a "gentle" alarm clock that slowly emits light, rejuvenating fragrances, and soothing nature sounds to wake you up over the course of a half an hour (seen here).

The only weakness to SkyMall, other than the fact that I am not on their team, is their marketing. First of all, they make no effort to get noticed on ground (not just in the sky). The do not circulate or publicize outside of airplanes (and the internet), and in doing so they're missing out on expanding their customer base to elderly or sick people who don't travel, people who are afraid of planes, and people who don't have enough money to fly (but who might be willing to splurge on a secret spy pen). Now, I will explain a second weakness in marketing. Listed under the heading: "The Greatest Gift... is to help others help themselves" in SkyMall magazine are the "E-pen," which removes unwanted facial hair on women, and an anti-snoring aid, amongst other products. These items should never be gifts. SkyMall needs a loyal customer base; giving these gifts to one's friends might end the friendships and thus would not provide such a stable base of support.

Hopefully, it can be understood by the preceding discussion that SkyMall and I are a match made in heaven. We are both dedicated to innovation in the daily lives of common people. We both see the importance of potty training our cats, spying in our day-to-day encounters, and testing the temperature of food before we take the risky leap of taking a bite (presumably they would like this product as well). My hope is that someone from SkyMall reads this and sees that I could be capable of writing catchy blurbs for their products, critical analysis of SkyMall corporate growth and loss, or coming up with the product lists for each magazine. My more realistic hope is that you have gained a new appreciation for SkyMall and will do a thorough read-through of the magazine the next time you travel on commercial air.

Notes: Credit goes to Shira Kresch for reminding me of the joys of SkyMall. On an unrelated note, let me offer my apologies for coming off as a profit-driven, capitalist swine in this post.


  1. Skymall is second only to sharper image in their magazine-based shopping epicness.

  2. Hahahaha. :)
    Skymall, here Julie comes!