You may remember the iRenew Bracelet from back in 2010, when it was constantly advertised on TV. It was a hugely successful product, backed by vague claims of energy balancing. You may also remember the class action lawsuit and settlement over iRenew’s false advertising claims, resulting in some customers returning their bracelets for a full refund.
iRenew wants you to stop the skepticism.
iRenew is back, and doesn’t want you to focus on the litigious haters. No, as iRenew spokesperson Art Edmonds says in the new TV spot, “stop the skepticism and wear what works.” Still, we’re not sure is Art is proud of his association with iRenew, as he doesn’t mention it in the extensive list of accomplishments on his LinkedIn profile.
Can the marketers behind Kangaroo Keeper Brite recreate the success of the original Kangaroo Keeper purse organizer by adding a light? There aren’t a lot of new ideas in the As Seen on TV world these days. Adding a new feature to a formerly successful product is what passes for innovation.
AromaTrim was an insanely bizarre infomercial weight loss product from Forbes Riley, one of our favorite As Seen on TV personalities, pitched way back in 1996. Believe it or don’t, AromaTrim is a stinky hunk of plastic that you hold under your nose to make you lose your appetite for your favorite foods.
What does AromaTrim smell like? Limburger, vomit, poop, ammonia? Who knows? We guess you’d need to ask Forbes, because this product hasn’t been on the market for well over a decade. Apparently your $49.95 (?!) got you two stinky plastic blocks with distinctly different but equally awful scents, because different types of food need different stinks to make them repellent.
Ghostbusters star and cowriter Harold Ramis, who passed away Feb. 24 at the age of 69, leaves behind a treasure trove of comedy gold, starting with his turn on Canadian sketch show SCTV in the mid-1970s. He went on to write and direct several cult classics, and appeared in a few, including as Egon Spengler in the two Ghostbusters movies alongside pal and long-time collaborator Bill Murray.
Of course, Ramis’s passing likely closes the chapter on the long-in-development Ghostbusters 3, which is probably for the best. In the 2009 interview below, Ramis talks about working on the third installment. (You can buy the Ghostbusters Double Feature Gift Set at Amazon for less than $14.)
The idea for the cult classic Spinal Tap gestated from a conversation overheard by co-creator Christopher Guest in 1974, according to Legs McNeil’s excellent blog, Please Kill Me. Guest was hanging out at the chic Hollywood hotel Chateau Marmont when he heard:
Manager: All right, well, we’ll take our instruments up to the room.
Bassist: Don’t know where my bass is.
Manager: I beg your pardon.
Bassist: I don’t know where the bass is.
Manager: Where is it?
Bassist: I think it’s at the airport.
Manager: You have to get back there, don’t you?
Bassist: I don’t know, do I?
Manager: I think you better.
Bassist: Where’s my bass?
Manager: It’s at the airport.
Spinal Tap the band made its debut on a late-night ABC sketch comedy called The TV Show, in which they parodied NBC music show The Midnight Special, complete with Spinal Tap writer and director Rob Reiner introducing the band in his best Wolfman Jack impersonation.
“To relieve the tension of that moment, we started ad-libbing these characters.”
“We were shooting a takeoff on ‘Midnight Special,’ just lying on the ground waiting for the machine that was supposed to make the fog effect to stop dripping hot oil on us,” says Harry Shearer, who plays Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls. “And to relieve the tension of that moment, we started ad-libbing these characters.”
To relive the glory years of this great fake band, get the Special Edition DVD or Blu-ray for less than 10 bucks at Amazon, or stream it there for a few dollars less.
Iconic child star Shirley Temple Black, who sang signature hits like “On the Good Ship Lollipop” and starred in movies like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Heidi and Bright Eyes, passed away at age 85 in the San Francisco suburb of Woodside, Calif.
The adorable curly-haired Temple was a top box-office draw between 1935 and 1938, and saw a cottage industry of products featuring her likeness flood store shelves. A nonalcoholic cocktail was even named after her. The movie-going public largely lost interest in Temple after she grew out of childhood, and she retired from acting at age 21. She then pursued a successful career in conservative politics, eventually becoming a U.S. ambassador.
For the most comprehensive look back at Temple’s short-lived but meteoric career, check out the Shirley Temple Little Darling DVD Collection, featuring restored versions of 18 of her classic films, in both color and black-and-white.
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.
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.”