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As Seen on TV - Why Infomercials Work

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 2 6

All you Need is a Phone and a Credit Card

It's e

Late Night Infomercials
asy to order products featured in late night infomercials. It's also tempting.

If you're a night owl, insomniac or a new mother, you're probably well versed in the wide range of products that are pedaled on late night television. Chances are you've also picked up the phone and had your credit card ready.

Fitness programs and exercise equipment are some of the top sellers, along with skin care products and small appliances. CD compilations, psychic hotlines and adult chat lines have also been successfully marketed through infomercials.  Maybe you still have a ThighMaster stored away somewhere.

The most succesful infomercials sell millions of their products over the phone, online and eventually in stores. While the merchandise or services may be different, the one minute, two minute or half hour television commercials have many things in common.

Are you ready for the secrets of best selling infomercials? Operators are standing by.


Celebrity Power Sells

Your Mom may like Meaningful Beauty skin care products as much as Cindy Crawford, but Cindy's endorsement is what makes the product sell.

Over the years Jane Fonda has made the call to fitness, George Foreman introduced viewers to healthy grilling, Dianne Warwick hawked the Psychic Friends Network and quarterback Fran Tarkenton teamed up with Tony Robbins to promote personal power.

Sometimes the infomercials themselves turn their pitchman into celebrities.

Vince Offer was a little known comedian and film director before he hit the airwaves wi

Vince Offer
th ShamWow, SlapChop and the Graty. His unique voice, high powered sales pitch and headset have turned him into an advertising icon.

Ron Popeil was one of earlier marketers. He made the Pocket Fisherman and Veg-O-Matic famous. Perhaps his most memorable product was Ronco Spray On Hair. Popeil took balding men and sprayed on "hair" from an aerosol can. Did it look real? No, but that didn't stop tens of thousand of people from ordering the product.


Don't Forget the Little Guy

Cindy Crawford is going to be beautiful no matter what she puts on her face, so buyers want to see what happens to real people when they use the product.

Real life testimonials are a powerful marketing tool, particularly when they show a before and after transformation.

The pudgy guy who gets the ripped six pack after using Bowflex is going to increase s

Magic Bullet Deluxe Blender Set
ales. The idea is, if they can do it, you can do it.

Kitchen appliances are often sold in group settings. After watching a Magic Bullet informercial, viewers are left wondering how they ever threw a party without one.

Another popular form of infomercials are created in a talk show format complete with a live audience that oohs and aahs and cheers for the product.


Make it Unique

Infomercials showcase products that are new and revolutionary. That does not necessarily mean that they are  good, but they are unique and because they are new and exciting, they are marketed as something everyone should be the first to own.

Before the merchandise or programs hit the airwaves, few people had heard of Chia Pets, Ginsu knives, the Bowflex workout system, power juicers or Snuggies.

Today, products like Proactiv acne treatment, the Thighmaster and Snuggie blan

Snuggie Blanket
kets are household names.

Repeat With a Sense of Urgency

There's not a lot of new information delivered in an infomercial. A number of key points are selected and they are constantly repeated and hammered home during the telecast.

There are regular breaks where viewers are urged to buy the product. The pitch man reminds customers that this "is a time limited offer' and "operators and standing by". Often the phone number and website address are shown in the crawl at the bottom of the screen throughout the infomercial.

Viewers are constantly reminded that the product is "not available in stores".

Interestingly, the more successful the infomercial is, the more likely it is that it will appear in stores. That's because there is often pressure from customers for retailers to carry the merchandise and many people who don't make a purchase during the infomercial will buy it in the store because they remember the name.


Infomercials are Big Business

Over the years, infomercials have generated sales that add up to billions of dollars.

People who want to market their product through infomercials increasingly turn to specialized marketing companies. The production of infomercials and purchase of air time can be costly. Experts evaluate the product, create a budget, and shoot and edit the infomercial. They then test the infomercials in focus groups and make changes to ensure the product is attractive to a wide viewing audience.

Increasingly, infomercials are moving out of the all night slot and into morning and afternoon time slots.

Because many of the items are reasonably priced they are often heavily marketed around Christmas.

Infomercials are so slick and so powerful they are often used by politicians.

Take a look at this ShanWow infomercial. How many of the key ingredients does it have?


ShamWow with Vince Offer


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Comments

Jun 1, 2012 3:04am
mommymommymommy
You are so right about new moms! My twins were up around the clock for months when they were twinfants, and I knew every infomercial by heart...and I even bought a few items, too. Great article about As Seen on TV products and why they sell!
Jun 22, 2012 8:47am
Ascentive
Great article!
So far I have not bought anything directly through the TV offer but I later on in a store. Some of the items are really great.

Thumbs up!

~Anja~
Jun 22, 2012 10:09am
usedtoitall
I bought a snuggie! lol I guess I shouldn't admit that.
Jun 22, 2012 12:28pm
JJEstephan
I love infomercials and infomercials love me. I have a Snuggie, I have Personal Power, The Ninja, The Vidalia Chopper, P90x, Insanity, 10-minute trainer, Slim in Six, the magic pancake flipper thing that works like s***, the Shark, the egg shell remover thing that only works with certain size eggs, Carlton Sheets No money down training, and probably a few others I can't remember. I have been actually very happy with most of my purchases. The pancake thing, the egg thing, and Carlton Sheets was disappointing. The Vidalia Chopper is king in my kitchen with the Ninja a close second. The Shark will sharpen any knife in seconds. P90x transformed my body and I have even made some money with it(not my body, but selling P90x and other Beachbody stuff).
Great Article!
Jun 22, 2012 3:37pm
Derby
My son was in great shape before he got P90x. Now he is a rock! The product really works.
Jul 9, 2012 10:08am
Marlando
Wow-great informative article. Incidentally, I've written an info in the past and sure enough they can and have created a lot of rags to riches stories. Andway 5 big stars from me.
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