Phenomenon of the mystical infomercial, its role in marketing

This is my favorite time of year. Not because the holidays are over or because of the sense of renewal the New Year brings, but because I love that almost any time I turn on the TV I am bound to run across an infomercial trying to sell something I absolutely don’t need but somehow begin to want the longer they can hold my attention.

From beauty products to kitchen gadgets to exercise equipment, I love them all. Some of my all-time favorites include the Ronco Oven (“Set it and forget it.”), the Tony Little Gazelle Freestyle and, of course, the Snuggie. However, this year there are a few that could easily take that top spot. (See examples of the infomercials mentioned and more, below.)

More than just sharing my favorites, I would like to explore further the phenomenon of the mystical infomercial and what lessons can be applied to business.

Infomercials often become the topic of conversation (at least in my office), and I don’t think I would believe anyone who told me they haven’t been sucked in by at least one infomercial in their lifetime. We laugh at the absurdity of some of the products, but the truth is, if infomercials weren’t effective they would have ended a long time ago. The secret to infomercials is that they have found a way (as silly as it may be) to effectively showcase testimonials and third-party recommendations. I will admit that I have watched many an infomercial and thought, “Wow! If that lady can do it so can I!” or “I’m busy just like that guy; that product is perfect for my lifestyle.”

Regardless of whether you truly believe the endorsements of the people featured, they still legitimize the products they are trying to sell. The lesson here that can be applied to business is that what your customers are saying about your product (good or bad) can have an impact and influence on potential customers. Even if you are the one ultimately providing the platform for these testimonials, others will listen if the endorsements are genuine and results-driven.

Now for the real reason why you are reading this particular blog entry: my favorite infomercials of 2010. If you have a favorite, please share as a comment below or e-mail me directly.

Shake Weight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVogg_0Hhus

Booty Pop: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4EvVErNhVE

Magic Bullet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtpKjgwi4Sc

Ronco Oven: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_2Kd1STO64

Tony Little Gazelle Freestyle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyK-3Em8__c

Snuggie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-df-ISYkGA&feature=PlayList&p=6C2397B2323F8BFC&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=1

Megan Lane is an Account Executive with Imagine Marketing
Contact Megan at mlane@imnv.com.

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