Posted by Nicci | Posted in Other Stuff | Posted on 13-07-2011
Tags: As Seen On TV, Infomercials, Instyler, Kevin Harrington, RoboStir, Snuggie
Prime time news program 20/20 on ABC recently launched a special report entitled “Infomercial Nation” that looked at the practices behind infomercial marketing and reviewed several top-selling As Seen On TV products. To introduce “Infomercial Nation,” 20/20 interviewed self-proclaimed “infomercial junkie” Marisa Woolsey, then took a quick look at some of the marketing strategies used to appeal to target audiences and lovers of infomercial products.
In the episode, Marisa Woolsey says that she prefers to be called an infomercial junkie, rather than an addict. Her compulsion to buy infomercial products, she says, comes from an overwhelming desire to know if the products really work as they claim to. When Woolsey’s infomercial buying began to impact the family budget, Woolsey took a second job rather than curbing her spending. She likens receiving a product in the mail to opening presents on Christmas, saying she can’t wait to try out her new purchase. Apparently, Woolsey is a satisfied customer, or else she would likely not keep buying infomercial products. In fact, she enjoys her purchases so much that she has taken her “addiction” and turned it into a service: she has started a blog, Confessions of an Infomercial Junkie. On her blog, she includes video reviews of each product she buys and demonstrates her personal results with each product or tool. Her favorite As Seen On TV kitchen products and beauty products? SodaStream, Ninja Master Prep, Bare Minerals, and the Instyler.
Though the Infomercial Junkie credits a need to know if a product’s claims are genuine with her urge to buy, Infomercial King Kevin Harrison says basic marketing strategies are at play. Harrison, a featured investor on the ABC show Shark Tank, has been involved with over 500 infomercial products and has reached over $4 billion in sales. According to Harrison, there are three basic elements to every successful As Seen On TV pitch:
In the “Tease,” says Harrison, infomercials identify a problem. Whether the problem is as complicated as successfully hanging a picture straight or as simple as covering yourself with a blanket while trying to read makes no difference. The point is that when the pitchman asks, “Has this every happened to you?” you answer with a resounding, “Yes! And it drives me nuts!” Identifying this nuisance in your life makes you realize there has to be a better way.
Next comes the “Please.” In this stage of the infomercial, you are shown the solution to your problem: a blanket with sleeves (Snuggie), a gadget that automatically stirs your pot (RoboStir), a hair styler that leaves your hair sleek and shiny in less time without damaging your hair (Instyler). For many people, finding a solution to the problem identified in the “Tease” is enough to trigger an urge to buy, but just in case it isn’t, the third phase of the infomercial pitch is employed.
The “Seize” is the infomercial’s attempt to seal the deal, to entice those who may be on the fence about the product to go ahead and buy. The most common element of the “Seize” is offering something extra to the consumer. ”But wait, there’s more,” is the common As Seen On TV phrase that triggers the special, limited time bonus offer. Buy one get one free, free with purchase, free bonuses . . . these are all an attempt to convince consumers to go ahead an buy the infomercial product.
Regardless of consumers know about these common marketing elements, their basic needs and emotions are what ultimately influence their decision to buy. If an As Seen On TV product will make their lives easier, will provide a solution to an annoying problem, will help them look better, or will provide comfort, then they are likely to buy that product.
View the entire 20/20 Infomercial Junkie segment here: