The other night I was up late watching TV Guide Network (now called TVGN to be cooler), and I believe it was around the 2am mark when it turned from normal programming to official “late night” programming. AKA the time when all the infomercials come out to play.
Because I was only half paying attention to what was on my TV, I kept it on, and I’m so glad I did because I was introduced to so many items I never knew existed or never thought needed to be invented in the first place. But because they were so many that I watched in succession, I never thought about how every commercial was the same until now.
Basically all these companies use the same exact template to create the perfect infomercial, and every single time we get sucked into them. All you really need to do is fellow five easy steps and you too can make thousands of dollars from a ridiculous overpriced item.
1) Pose a Question
Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Can you never find your car keys in your purse? Tired of burning your hands on a hot plate? Are you extremely gullible when it comes to 3am advertisements?
These questions are posed right at the beginning of the commercial, such as the above for Pajama Jeans in the first 6 seconds. Perhaps this is a way to engage the customer as soon as the advertisement starts – like ‘hey, you on the couch! I’m going to get your attention by guessing an everyday struggle in your life!’ Why yes, Billy Mays (RIP), I do spill wine on my white carpet a lot, how did you know?? Oh maybe because if you’re constantly drinking red wine and spilling it in the middle of a night, you might be an alcoholic an have bigger problems than any stain remover can fix – but he’ll try.
2) Give an over exaggerated Example
If your target demographic answers ‘yes’ to your questions, they’ll keep watching once they see a black and white (or sepia) toned shot of someone, much like the jamoke sitting at home, giving an example of said problem. For the Pasta N’ More product, this suburbian mom just doesn’t have enough hands to hold all her items to make pasta. PASTA. As in a pot, water, and pasta. And when did she get all those items? There’s absolutely nothing in her kitchen!
3) Describe the item you’re selling
Alright, folks. Here’s our chance to lure them in with your new product – which is usually just a reimagined or improved version of something that already exists. Like the Air Curler – which is a replacement for those pesky curling irons you always burn your hands on. Also make sure that it looks super easy, and that even the dumbest of dumbs can make it work with ease. Because the Air Curler looks not dangerous at all.
4) “Customer” Reviews
Unlike the Magic Bullet commercial which is approx 30 minutes long and plays like a really bad sitcom about a group of adults the day after a swingers/key party, a lot of these ads feature people who swear by the item and how it changed their lives. Like how the Chillow impacted Robin P’s sleeping habits (at :50) so much that she doesn’t have migraines anymore! Who knew a cool pillow pad could be a medical marvel!
5) BUT WAIT!
Alright, enough, enough, just get to the chase and give your customer the price. BUT THEN SWEETEN THE DEAL BY TELLING THEM THERE’S MORE! Keyphrase to use here is: BUT WAIT! Basically, just throw in an extra Chip Wizard (as seen in 1:30 of the following vid), because you know it doesn’t cost $19.95 to make one, it’s more like $5 each. And that’s when you add an additional item that’s related, like the salsa maker, so the viewer feels like they’re really getting their money’s worth.
Alright, you got it? Now you can make the perfect infomercial.
Like this one featuring Joey Tribbiani:
Or this one for paper towels!