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.
You may have thought Ronco’s long and storied history ended when the firm declared bankruptcy back in 2007, but wait, there’s more!
Ronco, recently acquired by consumer products company CD3 Holdings, is relaunching their brand with a new pitchman, well-known TV infomercial and home shopping personality Marc Gill. Marc follows in the footsteps of legendary Ronco founder Ron Popeil, the “set it and forget it” inventor and pitchman who founded the company back in 1964.
Marc has been named HSN Brand Ambassador and will start showcasing Ronco’s innovative cooking products on shopping channel HSN in February 2014.
“The official press release today naming me the new Brand Ambassador for Ronco, the very company that inspired me to start my journey, is an amazing milestone for me and I am incredibly grateful!” — Marc Gill
Marc is an award-winning pitchman and has appeared in dozens of successful infomercials. He’s worked hard and we congratulate him on his new role pitching products for As Seen on TV’s most iconic brand! Learn more about Marc at his website, www.butimnotstoppingthere.com.
OK, GLH Formula is definitely not new. But it is new to our site. While no longer advertised on TV, we just learned this historic product is still available for purchase. Invented by As Seen on TV pioneer Ron Popeil, GLH is short for Great Looking Hair, and it’s a spray-on powder that clings to and thickens hair, covering bald spots for men and hiding thinning hair in women. The GLH Finishing Shield and GLH Shampoo complete the system.
Vegetable choppers were the mainstay of the pitchman’s pitch at county fairs and on boardwalks decades before Ron Popeil introduced the Ronco Veg-o-Matic, the only As Seen on TV product in the Smithsonian Institution. Not satisfied with knives and graters, hungry consumers are always looking for a new way to slice a whole onion in seconds or prepare a mountain of julienne fries. The latest entry in this crowded market is the Slice-O-Matic from Telebrands, with name and function more than a little similar to its institutionalized predecessor.
Before there was Billy Mays, before there was Anthony Sullivan, before virtually all the pitchmen and women opertating today, there was Ron Popeil. The man behind classics like the Pocket Fisherman is still pitching at age 74. Here’s his latest product, the Ronco Chef & Go Cooker. It looks like an oversized Japanese rice cooker. Your Savvy Shopper owns a rice cooker, and the perfect rice it cooks every time means it is the most useful countertop appliance I’ve ever purchased. If I could own a multi-funciton cooker that also baked muffins, steamed veggies and cooked chili, I’d be in culinary heaven. And now I can has! Thanks, Ron!