Kickstarter Videos: The New Infomercial?

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Those petitions for pay on the new crop of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.com seem hip and modern, but they’re really just something with which American consumers are all too familiar: the infomercial.

Chances are, without the carnival barking and zany antics of showmen like Ron Popeil and Billy Mays, the slick revivalists of the long-form commercial would still be going the traditional route of snagging dollars to launch their weird products. After all, the twenty- and thirtysomethings hawking things like the Duo Coffee Steeper likely grew up on a steady diet of “set it and forget it.”

“What’s more, the form of these short Kickstarter films genuinely mimics those of their ’90s predecessors,” writes Cale Guthrie Weissman at Pando Daily. “Someone’s talking into a screen, there’s an issue to be solved, they provide a kitschy and inoffensive way of presenting the issue and its solution. Honestly, the only main difference between most of these videos and late-night infomercials is the wardrobe, and the feigned live audience.”

As the crowdfunding model becomes more mainstream, it’s only a matter of time till there’s barely a difference between what the hip young things are putting before our eyes, and the commercials of their forebears, those master petitioners who invented the cornball pitch.

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