I am keenly aware of the sneaky deception contained within the infomercial. I am not alone, many consumers are, yet the profitability margin proves the hook and lure process has withstood the test of time. A quick glance on the web reveals the first infomercial previewed in 1949 for the Vitamix blender. (http://thefw.com/worlds-first-infomercial/) I remember seeing these infomercials up into the 70’s! Vitamix may have been the first televised Infomercial but the components contained within the pitch were perfected long before. If you are an avid TV or movie watcher of old you will remember the medicine shows. Usually chronicled in westerns or other series from that same time period. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine_show) Demonstrations for products no doubt have existed since man discovered his ability to create an idea and gather a crowd. With limited access to information and even other relatives, reviews were a bit hard to come by back then. Today we are fortunate and within a matter of seconds have access to millions of critiques.
Television commercial producers have access to that very same intel and use it to research their target audiences. A script is then generated based on their findings, and at the end of the process, the exquisite creature is chosen to bloviate for the item(s) you didn’t know you needed and can no longer live without. The actor really cares about you, he/she wants you to succeed as he/she exits stage left with your money. Lighting is the key to featuring their magnificent commodity. As you sit there and allow you head to be filled with useless nonsense the real pitch begins, this item has the power to give you back your time! Now tearing yourself away is likened to ripping your super glued fingers apart as you hastily grab your smart phone from the back pocket of your designer jeans. Did you reach for it in anticipation of heading to your trusty review site? Not likely, you are hanging over the ice now as panic sets in, you MUST order in the next 5 MINUTES or suffer the tragedy of not obtaining the bonus item(s)! Ring! Phone Ring! Don’t be Busy! Hello, Caller…Plop! you just hit the ice.
Now on the Outside of the infomercial, looking on, you know it’s all garbage. You will chat with your peers later about how ridiculous the presentation was, regaling the silly claims. Leaving out the fact you pulled off your sandals and wandered into the grass to feel the fresh green blades under your feet. Minutes after your purchase the spell left your body and you shook your head. The dream was over or has it just begun? Plagued with guilt you can’t bear disappointing that nice young man or sweet girl on the phone. Maybe you don’t want to look stupid. Non-the-less your order will arrive as promised. Hopefully not for three easy payments. Your wild thought process kicks in, you rationalize this miracle pan will supersede the others and will truly be non-stick this time. It won’t plunk as loud in the trash can when the claims prove to be false. The last one you purchased is still warm in its box.
Due to the rising popularity of these half-hour long, frenzy-filled fabrications, Infomercials have become Infonetworks. Twenty-four hours a day, Seven days a week, these networks were created to showcase these awesome feats of product pushing. Not only that, but advertisers for legitimate useful goods have now realized their magical power (for a higher than normal price). If you can’t sleep because you have no idea what piece of jewelry will shine the brightest on your date next Saturday, rise up and run to the TV! There is no sense in suffering through this awful uncertainty. The hosts (personal shoppers) if you will, are always waiting just for YOU, to aid YOU in your selection. You can even call in and discuss the entree you plan on eating as your menu brushes ever so gently against your diamond tennis bracelet. Hurry into those slippers there are only 5 left!
Now you may be saying at this point you would never fall for this fairy tale! Right? Consider then the car in your driveway. Is it new? Did you buy it at a lot? Well if the answer to either is yes, you were most likely a part of a real life, up close and personal, infomercial. They even handed you the keys, to try it out for yourself. Pointed out what it will do for you, and how it will make your muffin taste better as your jetting to work. If not a car lot then maybe a furniture or electronics store. Your new sectional is so large it can seat half your neighborhood. All of your friends in a Kumbaya moment witnessing that historic touch down as you munch on gourmet popcorn. With your 72-inch multi-play TV, you can watch more than one game at once.
You may think your strong now, and maybe you can resist advertisers. But I bet it hasn’t always been that way. Especially if you’re a woman in your late 40’s or early 50’s you probably wondered if babysitting the bratty neighbor kid would net you enough money to purchase the Rhinestone and Stud Setter by Ronco circa 1978. If you missed your chance I know a “Prime” place where you can obtain it, the price ends in .95, and it’s AMAZING! Your five minutes ended long ago so you’ll have to suffer the loss of the bonus product.
The moral of this LONG post is to inform you that somewhere, sometime, someplace an advertiser who knows you personally from your web searches, is lurking in your sidebar. Maybe if not there, then leaning on the shelf in your favorite store on that end-aisle display. Call Scotty, get those shields up! Don’t let that tractor beam pull you in! Imagine you’re the actor, the original Star Trek has long stopped filming, you’re out of work and desperate! Would you sell to yourself? Probably not.
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Live Long and Prosper,
***Note: If you live within the strike zone of Irma, our thoughts and prayers are with you***