Oh yeah? Compete with this!


Creating defensible competitive advantage and differentiation are something we’re all familiar with. Here’s one product that tries something a little different. I’ll give them points for trying, but really, how defensible is this?

Introducing Throx.  The cure for the missing sock.Yes it’s short for “three socks”.

  • 3 socks — for when you lose 1.
  • 3 socks — for the price of 2.
  • 3 socks — last longer than 2.

When I first saw all this, I thought, you’ve got to be kidding me. But, this is no joke. Throx is a real, AWARD WINNING product! And the guy who created this product, Edwin Heaven, is defined as an “inventor”. He was even on CNBC! Watch the video for yourself.

So where to begin?

First: “the cure for the missing sock”

Is this really that huge a problem? A sock goes missing or gets a hole in it, you buy another pair, or two! Who needs the hassle of keeping track of a spare sock?

Second: “3 socks for the price of 2”

Now that’s a defensible competitive advantage. Not!

Third: “3 socks last longer than 2”

Yeah, well 4 last longer than 3!

Fourth: The name: Throx

Sounds too much like “anthrax” and “pox”. Note to marketers. Don’t name your product something that sounds like a deadly chemical, a disease or an affliction. Anyone remember Ayds appetite suppressant. While named before the AIDS epidemic, the similar sounding name permanently damaged sales of the product once the disease spread.

So Throx, best of luck, but I don’t see a huge success in your future.

But just in case there is a market for “3 instead of only 2” products, I’m officially calling dibs on the following:

3 earrings aka Threerings ™

3 two-way radios aka Threekie Talkies ™

3 mitts aka Tri-Mitts ™

Note: the mitts are each designed with a patented reversible thumb slot so they can be worn on either hand!

And finally:

3 layer thick processed cheese slices (for those really indulgent grilled cheese sandwiches you always wanted, but never have the nerve to ask for) aka Fromage a Trois ™.

Sorry couldn’t resist that one.

Got suggestions for other numerically challenged products, leave a comment.



7 responses to “Oh yeah? Compete with this!

  1. Saeed, I can’t argue with your logic, but I have to admit that “Throx” is clever; makes me think and makes me smile.

    Here’s my submission: “Conthrax” – three contact lenses; comes in handy when your at the party and lose one. I know, this violates your “don’t name your product something that sounds like a deadly chemical, a disease or an affliction” rule, but as a product it might just work. -Michael

  2. Michael

    Thanks for the comment. In the video, the woman on the left said that in it’s current state Throx was a novelty, but needed better branding etc. to make it more mainstream. I think it has some novelty value, but beyond that, I’m not sure. Why buy three socks? Why not just buy 2 pair? Maybe I’m too logical?

    As for 3 contact lenses, I thought of that, but that assumes you have the same prescription for each eye. My understanding — I don’t wear contacts or glasses — is that most people don’t have the same level of deficiency in each eye and must thus ensure they put the left contact in the left eye etc.

    But, I may be wrong on this as well.


  3. Saeed, I didn’t think about that (I don’t wear contacts either). Maybe they should just sell four and call them “quad-tacs” (can you tell I’m not much of a marketer;-). -Michael

  4. I like “quad tacs”. It’s better than 4-eyes! But is it really 2 pair or 4 of a kind?


  5. If you live in Utah, you can have Thrives.

  6. Pingback: Socks in awe: Customer interviews vs. User observation « On Product Management

  7. I don’t see this as defensible at all. The product itself isn’t unique. I ran into this about 20 years ago when I realized it might be nifty for travelers to have toothpaste in a package like a Taco Bell hot sauce. Great idea, but no real way to defend it.

    On the other hand, maybe he won;t dominate all socks sales, but can carve out a niche based on his brand, and retire nicely, and even buy some more outlandish clothes. At first, I thought it was the “invisible man”.