Who doesn’t love the infomercial? When it comes to marketing, this is still one of the greatest methods to pull your heart strings and then throw you a scarcity mentality offer that will make you jump off your couch and order something today. Some historians say that Vitamix was the first infomercial ever made, and today infomercials are a lot longer than 30 seconds or two minutes. Some infomercials last as long as thirty minutes. I don’t know what your favorite infomercial was growing up, but odds are you purchased something at least once from an infomercial. Here are my five favorites.
- The Ginsu Knife– (circa 1980)- The original Ginsu Knife. It could cut a slice of bread so thin you could almost see through it. Remember that? This is one of those infomercials that is indelibly etched in my head from my early childhood days. It almost seemed impossible that a knife could do what the Ginsu Knife could do. It could cut through a tin can, it could chop wood, and even after that it would slick a tomato razor thin. Oh yeah, my father bought two of them.
- Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ– (circa 1990)- You have to give it up to Ron Popeil, who is truly one of the masters and legends of infomarketing. From the Pocket Fisherman to the Smokeless Ashtray to the Veg-O-Matic, Popeil was legendary in the infomercial space. Famous for coining the phrase, “But Wait! There’s More!” his most famous infomercial product in my opinion was the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ. The key with this product was the concept of audience participation making this a two way discuss versus a one way discussion. He coined a phrase on this infomercial some of still use today. “You just set it and forget it!” Nobody can forget this iconic infomercial.
- Tony Little The Gazelle Glider– (circa 2000)- Tony Little dubbed himself America’s best personal fitness trainer and made a massive amount of sales when he launched the Gazelle Glider infomercial. He made the phrase “You can do it!” famous as he demonstrated the machine usually with a baseball cap on and his long hair flowing behind. Tony is still around, but his infomercials used to make me crack up when I watched them come on television. His companies have done a massive amount of business and still exist today.
- OxiClean– (circa 2000)- Billy Mays was also one of the best pitchmen to ever show products on an infomercial. I love when Billy Mays says, “It’s mother nature approved, but still safe on your fabrics.” Can you remember when he squirts the OxiClean out of the bottle and it magically removes the stains right out of the carpet? OxiClean still exists today and has more than twenty different types of products on its website.
- The Shake Weight– (circa 2009)- At some point, everyone makes a New Year’s resolution to get healthy whether it be diet or exercise. There have been at least fifty different ab machines guaranteeing that you’ll get a six pack if you use their product. Probably the fitness infomercial that I thought was the funniest appeared through the Shake exercise. This has been parodied on so many different programs, but essentially Shake Weight stated that this was a modified dumbbell that oscillates providing an even better workout. Due to its sexually suggestive nature, the infomercial went viral and you know the rest of the story.
With so many different infomercials to choose from, it is really hard to pick just five. What was your favorite infomercial? Was it George Forman? Chuck Norris? A blender? An ab machine? Let us know at Your Smart Money Moves because I just listed my top five!
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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.