Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mira-Cool -- Repackaged Cool Surge?

Just in time for our first warm day in a while, today's Star Tribune had an ad from the Universal Media Syndicate for something called Mira-Cool.

As it's described in the ad, it sounds indistinguishable from the Cool Surges they were marketing last year, which I wrote about here.

Close up of Mira-Cool and Cool Surge
Even better, Consumer Reports did a test in 2009 that concluded, "Because of its negligible cooling in our tests, we've given the Cool Surge portable air cooler our Don't Buy: Performance Problem judgment."

What was the test CR put it to? Here are the details:

We controlled conditions around [a 200-square-foot] room to simulate an 85°F dry summer day with a relative humidity of just 57 percent.

...Our string of sensors showed the device failed to appreciably lower the room's overall temperature during a four-hour test.

We also tested the Cool Surge at an even drier, desertlike setting of 25 percent relative humidity, again, at 85°F. Even in these conditions, which are suitable for an evaporative cooler, we measured a mere 2 degrees of cooling during the four-hour test.
Of course, I don't know that the Mira-Cool is the same exact machine inside as Cool Surge. Here are the similarities, based on the generalities available in the two ads.

Side by side view of the Mira-Cool and Cool Surge ads
  • Cool Surge "uses about 96% less electricity than air conditioners." Mira-Cool "uses 95% less electricity."
  • Both promote the idea of "ice cooled air" (no hyphen), courtesy of two reusable ice blocks that are included. (Just like the kind you'd put in a picnic cooler... you have to keep refreezing them in your freezer every four hours, a detail not provided in the ad).
  • Both ads have quotes from an Operations Director named Chris Gallo or Christopher Gallow. Huh. What's up with the spelling change?
  • It's even the same price -- $298 plus shipping, and you get a second one for free (except the shipping, which I understand from Consumer Reports and other sources runs about $50 per unit).
From looking at the two ads, it's clear that at least the outer shells of the two coolers are different, although they appear to be the same dimensions. It will take another review by Consumer Reports to find out if the Mira-Cool performs any better than Cool Surge.

Amusingly, the four photos across the bottom of the two ads are identical... except they're not the same photos. Instead, the photos have been reshot with the same content:
  • An older woman with her cooler, holding up some type of certificate or bill or something. It's even the same document, with a big red triangle in the upper right corner...just not the same woman. (They've given her a dog in the Mira-Cool ad. Nice touch, there.)
  • A young girl rolling the cooler from left to right through a doorway.
  • A family with mom, dad, two boys, and one girl playing a board game.
  • A woman sleeping in a darkened room while the cooler looms over her.
Repackaging the ad, repackaging the product... I wonder why? Didn't they build up any brand equity in the Cool Surge name last year?

One difference between the two ads: I didn't notice any claims about Mira-Cool being "eco-friendly," unlike last year's Cool Surge ad.

Here's a list of my past posts about the Universal Media Syndicate, its many products, and its parent company, Arthur Middleton Capital Holdings.


Trish said...

I purchased the cool surge and love it!!
It works just as I was told also! I live in thousand oaks ca, no high electric bills for me! trish

Daughter Number Three said...

Trish, what's the relative humidity like in Thousand Oaks? How much/how often do you have to change out the ice blocks? What were your electric bills like before and after you had the Cool Surge? Did you consider using a regular fan, or have you compared the two?

Cell said...

I just purchased two of them over the phone without looking at the reviews. The ad was printed in a way that is definitely misleading!!! I thought it was an official announcement from the city but apparently I was all wrong. This is in fact a scam and I can’t believe I had fallen for it – spending $400 on two fan-like machines that should cost no more than $50. I am calling them to cancel the order tomorrow and if they don’t process a refund, I’ll file a complaint against them. Thinking about it makes me furious.

I hope this comment can save some of you from being ripped off.

Yada said...

I haven't baught a kool serge yet, but I want one! I have a ton of those artificial ice blpcks just sitting around gathering dust. Now I can put them to good use. Thanks for highlighting this innovative product. I now there's a downside, like there is with everything on the market, but with my surplus ice blocks, this is a know-brianer!!!

Daughter Number Three said...

Yada, what part of Cool Surge do you think is innovative? The part that is the same as running a fan over one of your artificial ice blocks?

It seems odd to me to spend $300 plus shipping just so you can make use of your artificial ice blocks.

You should read about Cool Surge on Consumer Reports to see what they had to say about it.

Gabriela Amari said...

Thanks for the heads up..I was taken in as well..I saw the ad in Metro newspaper in Bklyn, NY, also a two page ad..I was tired and didn't do my usual research. While on the phone, I also started was offered the discounted price on One MIRA-COOL and was told that they had a number of units with "cosmetic blemishes" and couldn't sell them at full price and for two payments of $98.50 could order one. The original price was $149 but they added the shipping. I Googled Mira-Cool and instantly regretted my decision! All of the reviews were pointing to a Bad Buy. My first payment is pending from my bank so I cannot cancel until tomorrow. The good news is, I have a customer service number, my confirmation number and the unit won't ship until Sept. 17 so I should be able to cancel my order Tomorrow. I will post on my FB Page Not to buy this product!

Thanks again Trish!

Gabriela Amari said...

Oops..I meant to say that I started to tell the cust. svc. lady that I wasn't interested and then she offered the alternative deal..Still tired! ;)

P.S. People! Don't buy this product!