Category Archives: Advertising

SciMark Report: Pastafina by Chef Tony Ready for Comeback?

The Pastafina miracle cooker by Chef Tony Notaro, a retread of the Pasta Express, which debuted way back in 2006, could see new life in the direct-response TV sales market, according to product prognosticator Jordan Pine of SciMark Corp.

“I liked this product when it came out originally, and I think this revival version hits all the same, correct notes,” Pine writes at his SciMark Report blog.

Pine likes how the Pastafina commercial is shot, as well as pitchman Chef Tony’s skills: “The magic was always watching the pasta move as it cooks, and the production team has captured that. Tony is also in his element pitching anything Italian, and it shows in the passion he puts into his delivery.”

The current Pastafina As Seen on TV offer is two of the miracle vertical pasta cookers plus two recipe books for $10 plus S&P. Here’s where to order.

Here’s the original Pasta Express spot from 2006:

Post Links to Clutter-Free YouTube Videos With ‘Surprisely’

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New site adds element of ‘Surprisely’ to YouTube vids

When you’re enjoying a video of, say, a mailman battling a ferocious feline or an owl and a cat playing together in a tree, the last thing you want to see are those annoying pop-ups containing links to other videos or advertisements. Other things, such as top reader comments, video title and view count can also be annoying because they influence our perception. A new site has done away with these things, providing a clutter-free, more enjoyable YouTube viewing experience.

Just plug the video’s URL into the very simple interface at the Surprisely site, and it plays a full-screen version of the video with all the metadata scrubbed. To send or post the video, just copy the URL from the address bar. The link doesn’t even tell your email recipient or Facebook followers the name of the video, offering a surprise element that’s been all but lost to cynical web surfers. Surprisely is a surprisingly innovative use of Google’s YouTube Data API.

“Like telling a punchline ahead of the joke”

“In 2012 it occurred to us that the context of YouTube was affecting our relationship to it,” Surprisely cocreator David Lewandowski told Wired. “The video title, the view count, runtime, related videos, top comments—all of these shape your response to the content, often to its detriment. It’s like telling a punchline ahead of the joke.”

 

Infomercial Queen Forbes Riley to Host New TV Talk Show Series

Forbes Riley, long the doyenne of health-and-fitness infomercials, is hitting cable networks this spring with a new series of her Forbes Living TV talk show.

The fitness infomercial queen’s new series is aimed at athletes and exercisers of all skill levels who are looking to improve a personal best or master their sport or fitness regimen.

“Whether you’ve mastered a fitness routine or have become a pro at a favorite sport, there’s always room for improvement,” reads a news release about the series. “And to continue seeing results, fitness enthusiasts and athletes can’t stick to the same routine. Finding new challenges and ways to further develop and perfect skills is important to achieving peak performance.”

Forbes Living TV features celebrity interviews, and has pitched legendary products like the Living Well HealthMaster Fruit & Vegetable Emulsifier, Estrinol menopause relief and the SpinGym. The show airs on cable networks including WE and ION, as well as Fox and ABC broadcast stations.

Forbes Riley, who claims the mantle of “America’s Most Loved Health & Fitness Innovator,” has been a familiar television face for decades, as an actress, spokeswoman and TV host. She is in the Fitness Hall of Fame, and has sold over a billion dollars’ worth of products.

Infomercial King Kevin Trudeau to Remain Locked Up

Pitchman Trudeau pleads for mercy

Product pitchman Kevin Trudeau will remain behind bars for his cat-and-mouse asset-hiding scheme, despite his throwing himself at the mercy of a court.

“I would even submit myself to water-boarding.”

“I will do anything to get this over with,” Trudeau said at a federal hearing in Chicago. He even offered to undergo torture: “I don’t want to spend another day in prison more than I have to. I would even submit myself to water-boarding.”

Trudeau will spend at least another six weeks in jail. He was first put away in November 2013 for contempt as he battled the Federal Trade Commission, which had accused him of scheming to avoid payment of a $37.6 million sanction. The FTC went after him for making false claims in late-night infomercials for the book The Weight-Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About.

Commercial: Stay in School . . . or Get Blown Up!

Bikinis + beach + trespassing = death!

An Australian advertising firm has resurrected the spirit of those 1950s “educational” shock films with a slick commercial that warns young people of the potentially deadly consequences of skipping school to frolic on a beach.

Four friends hit the road in a microbus, then trespass behind a chain-link fence to get to a pretty perfect beach. While they’re performing said frolicking, we see the young people start getting blown up one by one in an explosively blood-red manner until there’s just one bikini-clad girl left, staring at the gore she’s now covered in—the dark-magenta remains of her now-blown-up friends. Then the camera pulls out for the big reveal: According to a sign on the fence, they’ve trespassed onto an explosives testing site. Then these words appear on the screen: “This is what happens when you slack off. Stay in school.”

“It’s a bit of a f–k you to advertising.”

The ad is “about contradicting standard advertisements — it’s a bit of a fuck you to advertising in general,” said ad cocreator Henry Inglis of production company Henry & Aaron, which made the film for the nonprofit Learn for Life Foundation. “It’s playing on those idealized commercials of people breaking free from their confines. We completely reverse that.”

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The Apple ‘1984’ Super Bowl Ad That Almost Wasn’t

That classic Orwellian ad by Apple that made Super Bowl commercials as popular as the game itself was actually reviled by the company’s execs, who attempted to yank ‘1984’ before it aired.

“We showed them a rough draft, and they thought we were insane.”

This year’s Super Bowl XLVIII marks the 30th anniversary of this iconic spot, and of the Macintosh computer it touted as a hip alternative to IBM’s products. If it hadn’t been for Steve Jobs’s love of the commercial—and some ad execs who didn’t follow orders from the top—Super Bowl XVIII viewers’ jaws wouldn’t have dropped as the muscled blonde athlete ran through director Ridley Scott’s dystopian vision wielding her mighty hammer of freedom from the mundane.

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Yabba Dabba Don’t: ‘Flintstones’ Sold Cigs, Sexism

Kids who grew up in the 70s and 80s were treated to a more kid-friendly version of those beloved prehistoric working stiffs, the Flintstones. But when it started out in the 60s, The Flintstones was a Honeymooners clone made for adults. This was obvious from the content of the 1960 to 1966 original run, featuring domestic and blue-collar situations. Can kids really relate to getting laid off, working a thankless, dead-end job, or getting into trouble with the little lady?

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Snuggie Clone ‘Unlikely to Succeed’

In one of his latest weekly roundups, direct-response product prognosticator Jordan Pine of SciMark Corp. declares it’s probably too soon to introduce a Snuggie clone, an idea that peaked a few years ago. TeleBrands’ Goody Hoody, opines Pine, is chasing what “was clearly a fad.”

“Trying to bring it back — even in a new and improved version — is a little like trying to bring back Zhu Zhu Pets, the Furby or any similar craze product,” writes Pine.

Of course, Telebrands founder A. J. Khubani passed on Snuggie several years back and missed out on the biggest As Seen on TV phenomenon of all time. Must still be a sore spot with A.J.

Facebook, Google Unkind to Marijuana Advertising

Young woman smoking a marijuana joint
Facebook, Google cold to pot ads

The big Internet companies are behind the “high” times when it comes to legal weed. Even though they’re able to localize advertisements to niche geographical markets, Google and Facebook currently refuse to run ads from the burgeoning marijuana industry in places like Colorado and Washington state, where it’s now legal to buy and sell the once taboo drug for recreational use.

“It’s pretty ridiculous and short-sighted — not to mention hypocritical — for them to leave those legitimate ad dollars on the table,” wrote Taylor West, of the National Cannabis Industry Association, to GigaOm.com. “We are told that our posts ‘violate content guidelines,’ or something along those lines.”

Facebook cites — but does not define — “risk” associated with running pot ads. “The risk of attempting to allow ads promoting the drug in certain states or countries where it is legal is too high (no pun intended) for us to consider at this time,” Facebook rep Tim Rathschmidt wrote to GigaOm.

Twitter is also cold to pro-marijuana advertising, reports AdWeek.com. But  marketing insiders tell AdWeek they expect this to change when the industry’s huge returns become evident. And when the celebrity endorsements start going viral.

“Snoop Dogg can be the Michael Jordan of the weed market,” said Nick Adler of lifestyle marketing firm Cashmere Agency.

It’s only a matter of time until Snoop and other pot luminaries, like Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson, are being courted with huge deals to endorse what was once the scourge of society.