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The As Seen on TV industry has long been ripe for parody, but the fact that it pulls down an estimated $400 billion a year from infomercial viewers makes it no laughing matter. It’s one of the most successful retail platforms in modern history. Yahoo’s Daily Ticker recently talked with As Seen on TV stalwart Scott Boilen of Allstar Products Group about the five top secrets that drive the success of an industry that sells you stuff you never thought you needed. Continue reading →
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 →
Direct-response TV product marketer Top Dog Direct did not pick any winners at last week’s Shark Tank-like pitch-a-thon in Philadelphia. But it did see lots of very creative folks with lots of creative—and often bizarre—product ideas. Such as a bib made for sloppy adults. Continue reading →
Watching him in action in this video, you can see where Vince Offer gleaned much of his humor, if none of his bombast. Al Spino, the original pitchman for ShamWow, was a mentor not only to Offer, but also to the late, great Billy Mays and a slew of other industry big-mouths. On March 12, Spino, who was featured in the 1999 documentary Pitch People, left this world at the age of 78 to hawk As Seen on TV products in the great infomercial in the sky.
“Life’s a pitch!”
Fellow pitchman Andrew Sullivan posted this memorial on his Facebook page:
“Al Spino, my friend and one of the greatest pitchmen ever passed away today at 78 years of age! Al You are a legend, you will be missed, I love you! Thanks for all the one-liners and laughs. RIP my friend and go and find Billy and bally a tip! Life’s a pitch!”
Disgraced infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau’s personal belongings are to be auctioned off to help pay off a $38 million fine from a civil case related to his current federal case.
Auctioneers estimate the sale will bring in just $100,000. Items include an elaborate chandelier and gilt-framed portraits of Gen. George S. Patton and Winston Churchill, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
In a Facebook post, Trudeau calls the gaudy items from his former California vacation home “priceless,” and that they “have my energy infused in them. They are all like amulets.”
DRTV firm Top Dog Direct invited inventors to pitch the next potential As Seen on TV hit product at its Speed Pitch in Philadelphia. The country’s biggest direct-marketing manufacturer and marketer hosted the event at the Liberty Bell/Independence Mall Visitor Center on Thursday, March 6, from 9 a.m. to noon, as reported by NJ.com. It featured a panel of experts on hand to judge participants’ 60-second pitches. Winners were awarded contracts that could lead to their product being sold on TV. Stay tuned to this blog for a run-down on the winning pitches.
Reader’s Digest staff members recently did a hands-on test of 10 As Seen on TV products, and delivered their honest critiques. For “As Seen on TV: What Not to Buy,” writer Perri O. Blumberg enlisted colleagues at the magazine to help “separate the scams from the saviors” of 10 “products we all secretly want.”
The magazine recommends buying six of the 10 products, with the NutriBullet receiving a score of 4 out of 4 (“Order overnight!!”). The lowest-ranking products were Lint Lizard, with a zero out of 4 (“Need we say more?”), and the Twist n Clip, with a 0.5 out of 4 (“Practically a gag gift”).
Here are all 10 products Reader’s Digest reviewed, with their score, recommendation and retail price in quotes.
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.
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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.