I spent a good portion of my day on Sunday sitting in front of the TV and zoning out. I can't really recall exactly what I watched (other than Breaking Bad at night) other than the things that annoyed me. Specifically re-runs of The O.C. that The Boss was watching, and the seventeen different infomercials that aired over the course of the day.
After being yelled at ten or eleven times by the pushy voice-over announcer guy to Call Now and purchase under-the-bed shoe organizers or spice racks or weight loss supplements or do-it-yourself pedicure kits or some other random crap, I began to realize that most of these infomercials followed the same basic formula. I paid attention to the next few that aired to confirm my thoughts. Here are my findings:
- Come up with a "new" and/or "revolutionary" product that will make some simple, mundane task "easier", "hassle-free", involve "less clean up" or "less preparation", and reduce the time to perform the task by at least 50%.
- Show multiple video clips of incredibly happy and overly excitable people using the product to show how amazing it is. Must have requisite shots of big, fake smiles, feigned surprise, and dramatic overacting at how amazing said product is.
- Hook the viewer by telling them that this product is available for a limited time only, but if they were to call Right That Moment, they could get their hands on their very own [Product Name] for a very small cost (plus shipping and handling). For more expensive items, break it down into three easy payments.
- Then, just when the viewer has their phone at the ready to call in and place their order, tell them that if they call in the next ten minutes, they can get a second [Product Name] absolutely free (just pay additional shipping and handling). For more expensive items, offer to reduce the number of monthly payments by one payment.
- Cut to the final screen where it recaps the amazing offer and its limited-time-only price, and the phone number to call to place an order. Repeat the phone number approximately nine times as quickly as possible.
I've never bought something from an infomercial before, and I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a new product being hawked on my TV when I actually thought it was an interesting item. If I truly thought it was worth buying, though, I'd just go to my local Walgreens and look in their "As Seen On TV" section. They've got everything from PedEgg's to Shake Weights.
And just because I thought it'd be fun, I created my own mock-up for an infomercial product. Click on the image below for the hi-res version.
Happy Monday, folks.