The best security software is made in America, according to PC Matic. “Where in the world is your security software developed?” asks PC Matic CEO Rob Cheng in the PC Matic ‘Foreigner’ TV commercial. And that’s a question I hadn’t thought to ask myself over the years – but now that the question is raised, do I want to trust my computer’s security to a foreign company with potentially questionable loyalties? Continue reading
Problems with your Windows laptop or desktop computer, including Windows XP? PC Matic’s new TV commercial features real users and their uncompensated reviews and testimonials about the popular computer security suite. Continue reading
What exactly are you paying for?
Proactiv has become the go-to acne treatment for today’s young adults. Guthy Renker, the company that markets Proactiv and Proactiv+, spends $200 million a year to run TV commercials convincing pimply youth that Proactiv is more effective than drugstore products like Clearasil or Stridex. Instead, they’re shelling out big bucks for Proactiv’s three-part “system” that sure seems to work for the acne-free celebs who shill for the product. Continue reading
TurboTax Canada, the online tax filing service, has launched the clever “My First Time” ad campaign targeting millennials, in which cool, swinging young people describe their “first time.” Wink wink. But the first time they’re talking about isn’t hot, steamy sex. They’re talking about filing taxes.
The infomercial-fail montage is a web video art form that first appeared in 2009. For as long as there have been infomercials, there have been infomercial parodies, which seems almost redundant since the infomercials themselves are already in so-bad-they’re-good territory.
“that parallel world where people have a really hard time performing everyday tasks”
The advent of Internet video and easy editing software has given us priceless fast cuts of the best-worst moments in the infomercial universe, that parallel world where people have a really hard time performing everyday tasks. The first such montage, according to KnowYourMeme.com, was posted by online video curator Everything Is Terrible on FunnyorDie.com back in 2009.
In 2010, a second montage appeared on YouTube (above). The vid’s popularity (it’s been viewed more than 2.3 million times) helped drive the infomercial-fail montage into the mainstream, and the compilations were soon appearing all over the net, including on Huffington Post and blogs like Infomercial Problems.
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 project brings to mind the 1970s commercials of experimental artist Chris Burden, who purchased late-night slots for his own weird films.
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.”
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.