In the infomercial universe, horrors lurk around every corner!
The cold, hard reality of everyday life, the dark underbelly just beneath the surface of the mundane, the lurking horrors that await us at every turn of our workaday lives, are exposed by the brilliant actors in this series of infomercial GIFs.
Infomercials are a public service announcement warning us of what’s about to leap out at us from behind that closed kitchen cupboard, the nasty spill that’s going to destroy everything you’ve worked so tirelessly for your entire miserable little life, the countless hidden household dangers that threaten to embarrass, to maim, to force you to jump out a plate-glass window—on fire!
The horror of exploding tacos!
Among our favorites of these infomercial GIFs is the woman with the exploding taco. The horror! The terrorists have clearly won.
Never attempt to pour a beverage!
But wait, there’s more! A big lesson of infomercials is that you should never, ever attempt to pour a beverage without using some kind of As Seen on TV device.
God did not intend for iron to go in dryer.
If you’re this stupid, no product can help you. Everyone knows this won’t work unless the iron is still plugged in.
A word on containers and depth perception
In the infomercial universe, people are dumb and have terrible eyesight and depth perception. Witness the hands attempting to place a lid on a container overflowing with food. Will it work? Well, no—you’re going to wind up with a gigantic, soul-killing counter mess. Surely there’s a product that will come to your rescue.
Long risk lists may “reduce consumer comprehension”
The Food and Drug Administration is embarking on a study that could lead to major changes in how TV commercials for prescription drugs communicate health risks from using them. The FDA is concerned that those endless lists of warnings of insomnia, nausea, suicidal thoughts and diarrhea could reduce consumers’ ability to discern the most important, or actionable, risks, reports the New York Daily News.
The FDA is worried these lengthy risk lists are “often too long” and may “reduce consumer comprehension” to possible side effects. So it plans to survey 15,000 adults online by having them respond to four versions of a drug commercial.
TV viewers who tune into KTXA Channel 21 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area this Friday, Feb. 7, at 3 a.m. may not know just what to make of a new “infomercial” that’s not really selling anything. The 28-minute spot, featuring a gentleman who looks a lot like Steve McQueen whittling a walking stick and promising viewers the secret to immortal life, is part of an art exhibit by Texas artists Good/Bad Art Collective.
“Curtains,” an interactive experimental exhibit running through Feb. 16 at Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, invited visitors to see the set where the infomercial was filmed, and even help make the infomercial.
“At turns humorous and interactive, dark and thought-provoking, CURTAINS uses the dying medium of the infomercial to highlight the transience and ephemeral nature of the human experience,” reads the museum’s website.
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.”
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 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?