When is a gimmick not a gimmick?

There’s no such thing as a new idea; for every clever thing you can think of or flash stunt you can do, somebody will have already thought of it before. Except that every now and then, something sneaks through that hasn’t been done before, something genuinely new. And those things are often immediately labelled as gimmicks. It’s catch 22 for inventors – your brilliant new idea is either not that new or, if it is a first, we obviously don’t need it or someone would have already invented it. Jeez we’re hard to please at times.

We get plenty of ‘New Best Thing Ever’ type emails dropping onto our digital door mat and I try to treat each one fairly, with none of the scepticism previously mentioned. The usual make or break question for me is whether the product is an overly complicated way of achieving something we can already do. Remember the urban legend about NASA researching a special multi-million pound space pen, while the Russians just used a pencil? So, all this preamble is building up to a product called Ventz. It’s a little plastic device that clips on the inside of your jacket cuff and flows air up your sleeve.


Timing-wise it’s not perfect for us here in the UK – take a look outside, could you think of anything worse than a cold breeze up your arms? But thinking of hot summer days, with my arms sticking to the lining of my jacket, makes me wonder if there’s something in it? We’ll get a couple in to test and see what the crack is, but there’s a little voice in the back of my head whispering ‘vented jackets already exist’, or is that just my inner sceptic?

You can get hold of Ventz here.