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Infomercial

Infomercial

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Infomercials are direct response television commercials which generally include a phone number or website. There are long-form infomercials, which are typically between 15 and 30 minutes in length, and short-form infomercials, which are typically 30 seconds to 120 seconds in length. Infomercials are also known as paid programming (or teleshopping in Europe). This phenomenon started in the United States where infomercials were typically shown overnight (usually 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.), outside of prime time
Prime time
Prime time or primetime is the block of broadcast programming during the middle of the evening for television programing.The term prime time is often defined in terms of a fixed time period—for example, from 19:00 to 22:00 or 20:00 to 23:00 Prime time or primetime is the block of broadcast...

 commercial broadcasting
Commercial broadcasting
Commercial broadcasting is the broadcasting of television programs and radio programming by privately owned corporate media, as opposed to state sponsorship...

 peak hours. Some television station
Television station
A television station is a business, organisation or other such as an amateur television operator that transmits content over terrestrial television. A television transmission can be by analog television signals or, more recently, by digital television. Broadcast television systems standards are...

s chose to air infomercials as an alternative to the former practice of sign-off. By 2009, most US infomercial spending is during early morning, daytime, and evening hours. Stations in most countries around the world have instituted similar media structures. According to tapebeat.com, over $150 billion of consumer products in the US are sold through infomercials.

While the term "infomercial" was originally applied only to television advertising, it is now sometimes used to refer to any presentation (often on video) which presents a significant amount of information in an actual, or perceived, attempt to promote a point of view. When used this way, the term may be meant to carry an implication that the party making the communication is exaggerating truths or hiding important facts. Often, it is unclear whether the actual presentation fits this definition because the term is used in an attempt to discredit the presentation. Hence, political speeches may be derogatorily referred to as "infomercials" for a specific point of view.

Format


The word "infomercial" is a portmanteau of the words "information
Information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

" and "commercial
Television advertisement
A television advertisement or television commercial, often just commercial, advert, ad, or ad-film – is a span of television programming produced and paid for by an organization that conveys a message, typically one intended to market a product...

". As in any other form of advertisement, the content is a commercial message designed to represent the viewpoints and to serve the interest of the sponsor. Infomercials are often made to closely resemble actual television program
Television program
A television program , also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series...

s. Some imitate talk show
Talk show
A talk show or chat show is a television program or radio program where one person discuss various topics put forth by a talk show host....

s and try to downplay the fact that the program is actually an advertisement. A few are developed around storyline
Storyline
Storyline may refer to:* The plot or subplot of a story;* The narrative of a work, whether of fictional or nonfictional basis;* The narrative threads experienced by different but specific characters or sets of characters that together form a plot element or subplot in the work of fiction...

s and have been called "storymercials". However, most do not have specific television formats but craft different elements to create what they hope is a compelling story about the product offered.

Infomercials are designed to solicit a direct response which is specific and at once quantifiable
Quantitative property
A quantitative property is one that exists in a range of magnitudes, and can therefore be measured with a number. Measurements of any particular quantitative property are expressed as a specific quantity, referred to as a unit, multiplied by a number. Examples of physical quantities are distance,...

 and are, therefore, a form of direct response marketing
Direct response marketing
Direct-response marketing is a form of marketing designed to solicit a direct response which is specific and quantifiable. The delivery of the response is direct between the viewer and the advertiser, that is, the customer responds to the marketer directly...

 (not to be confused with direct marketing
Direct marketing
Direct marketing is a channel-agnostic form of advertising that allows businesses and nonprofits to communicate straight to the customer, with advertising techniques such as mobile messaging, email, interactive consumer websites, online display ads, fliers, catalog distribution, promotional...

). For this reason, infomercials generally feature between 2 and 4 internal commercials of 30 to 120 seconds which invite the consumer to call or take other direct action. Despite the overt request for direct action, many consumers respond to the messages in an infomercial with purchases at retail outlets. For many infomercials, the largest portion of positive response they aim for is retail sales, making infomercials similar in impact to traditional commercials where advertisers do not solicit a direct response from viewers, but rather create the commercials with a goal to leave behind messages and brand loyalty
Brand loyalty
The American Marketing Association defines brand loyalty as:# The situation in which a consumer generally buys the same manufacturer-originated product or service repeatedly over time rather than buying from multiple suppliers within the category .# The degree to which a consumer consistently...

 that the advertisers hope will lead people to purchase their product or increase acceptance of the product.

Many traditional infomercial producers make use of flashy catchphrases, repeat basic ideas, or employ scientist-like characters or celebrities as guests or hosts in their ad. The book As Seen on TV (Quirk Books) by Lou Harry
Lou Harry
Lou Harry is an Indianapolis-based writer. His novel, The High-Impact Infidelity Diet, was released in 2005 by Random House/Three Rivers Press. His latest book, "Kid Culture" was released in October 2008 by Cider Mill Press...

 and Sam Stall highlights the history of products as the Flowbee
Flowbee
The Flowbee is an electrically powered vacuum attachment made for cutting hair invented by Richard Eddy, a San Diego carpenter in the late 1980s...

, the Chia Pet
Chia Pet
Chia Pets are American styled animal-shaped terracotta figurines used to sprout chia, where the chia sprouts grow within a couple of weeks to resemble the animal's fur or hair...

, and Ginsu
Ginsu
The Ginsu knife is a product best known for the sales techniques used to promote it.The "amazing" Ginsu knife became known to millions of television viewers in the USA through ubiquitous television advertisements in the 1970s...

 knives. Sometimes, traditional infomercials use limited time offers or claim one can only purchase the wares from television to add pressure for viewers buy their products.

Products using infomercial marketing


The products frequently marketed through infomericals at the national level include cleaning products, appliances, food preparation devices, dietary supplements, alternative health aids, memory improvement courses, books, compilation album
Compilation album
A compilation album is an album featuring tracks from one or more performers, often culled from a variety of sources The tracks are usually collected according to a common characteristic, such as popularity, genre, source or subject matter...

s, videos of numerous genera, real estate investment strategies, beauty supplies, baldness remedies, sexual enhancement supplements, weight loss products, personal fitness devices, home exercise machines, and adult chat lines. Automobile dealerships, attorneys, and jewelers are among the types of businesses that air infomercials on a local level.

Major brands (e.g. Apple, Microsoft, Thermos-Grill2Go) have used infomercials for their ability to communicate more complicated and in-depth product stories. This practice started in the early 1990s and has increased since. Brands generally eschew the "cheesy" trappings of the traditional infomercial business in order to create communication they believe creates a better image of their products, their brands, and their consumers.

Early infomercials


During the early days of television, many TV shows were specifically created by sponsors with the main goal of selling their product, the entertainment angle being a hook to hold audience attention. A good example of this is the early children's show The Magic Clown
The Magic Clown
The Magic Clown was a NBC TV series which ran from 1949 to 1954. The final NBC broadcast was on June 27, 1954. The show then moved to WABD where it stayed until 1958. After that, It was renamed "Bonomo, The Magic Clown" and was broadcast on WNTA from September 29, 1958 to July 24, 1959. The show...

 on NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

, which was created by Tico Bonomo essentially as an advertisement for Bonomo's Turkish Taffy
Turkish Taffy
Turkish Taffy Is a chewy taffy / nougat-like candy, which is currently owned and sold by Bonomo Turkish Taffy LLC. Turkish Taffy was invented in 1912 by Herman Herer in New York ....

. It is claimed that the first informercial for a commercial product appeared in 1949 or 1950, for a blender
Blender
A blender is a kitchen appliance for chopping or liquefying food.Blender may also refer to:Media:* Blender , a music-themed magazine* Blender , a free and open-source software program for 3D modeling, animation, and rendering...

. Accounts vary on whether this was for a VitaMix blender as claimed by Vitamix or from Waring Blenders as claimed in various online sources. Eventually, FCC limits on the amount of advertising that could appear during an hour of television did away with these programs, forcing sponsors into the background; however, few infomercials, mainly those for greatest hits record sets and Shop Smith power tools, did exist during the period when commercial time was restricted.

It is quite possible that the first modern infomercial series which ran in North America was on San Diego
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

-area television station XETV
XETV
XETV is a television station licensed to Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, serving as the CW Television Network affiliate for the San Diego, California area across the international border in the United States...

, which during the 1970s ran a one-hour television program every Sunday consisting of advertisements for local homes for sale. As the station was actually licensed by the Mexican government to the city of Tijuana
Tijuana
Tijuana is the largest city on the Baja California Peninsula and center of the Tijuana metropolitan area, part of the international San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. An industrial and financial center of Mexico, Tijuana exerts a strong influence on economics, education, culture, art, and politics...

, but broadcasts all of its programs in English for the US market, the FCC limit at that time of a maximum of 18 minutes of commercials in an hour did not apply to the station.

After 1984


Infomercials proliferated in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 after 1984 when the Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

 (FCC) eliminated regulations that were established in the 1950s and 1960s to govern the commercial content of television.. Informercials particularly exploded in the mid-1990s with motivational and personal development
Personal development
Personal development includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitates employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations...

 products, and infamous "get-rich-quick scheme
Get-rich-quick scheme
A get-rich-quick scheme is a plan to acquire high rates of return for a small investment. The term "get rich quick" has been used to describe shady investments since at least the early 1900s....

"s based on the premise that one could quickly become wealthy by either selling anything through classified ads or through real estate flipping. These were hawked by personalities such as Don Lapre
Don Lapre
Donald D. "Don" Lapre was an American TV pitchman. He became a multi-level marketing and infomercial salesman. His work involved product packages such as "The Greatest Vitamin in the World" and "Making Money Secrets"....

 and Carleton H. Sheets
Carleton H. Sheets
Carleton H. Sheets is a real estate investor and television pitchman who was notable for television infomercials which targeted real estate business opportunities for amateurs....

, among others.

When they first appeared, infomercials were most often screened in the United States and Canada during late-night/early morning hours. As stations have found value in airing at other times, by 2008 a large portion of infomercial spending is early morning, daytime, early prime and even prime time
Prime time
Prime time or primetime is the block of broadcast programming during the middle of the evening for television programing.The term prime time is often defined in terms of a fixed time period—for example, from 19:00 to 22:00 or 20:00 to 23:00 Prime time or primetime is the block of broadcast...

. There are also entire networks devoted to just airing infomercials all day and night for the sole purpose of cable/satellite providers receiving revenue from the channel operator from any sales for their area, or to fill empty time on local programming channels. CNBC
CNBC
CNBC is a satellite and cable television business news channel in the U.S., owned and operated by NBCUniversal. The network and its international spinoffs cover business headlines and provide live coverage of financial markets. The combined reach of CNBC and its siblings is 390 million viewers...

, which airs only one hour of infomercials nightly during the business week, airs up to 28 hours of infomercials on Saturdays and Sundays during the time where the network's business news coverage otherwise airs. A comparison of television listings from 2007 with 1987 verifies that many broadcasters in North America now air infomercials in lieu of syndicated
Television syndication
In broadcasting, syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast radio shows and television shows by multiple radio stations and television stations, without going through a broadcast network, though the process of syndication may conjure up structures like those of a network itself, by its very...

 TV series reruns and movies, which were formerly staples during the more common hours infomercials are broadcast (i.e., the overnight hours). Infomercials are a near-permanent staple of ION Television's daytime and overnight schedules; multichannel providers such as DirecTV
DirecTV
DirecTV is an American direct broadcast satellite service provider and broadcaster based in El Segundo, California. Its satellite service, launched on June 17, 1994, transmits digital satellite television and audio to households in the United States, Latin America, and the Anglophone Caribbean. ...

 have objected in the past to carrying ION feeds which consist largely of paid programming.

In the United Kingdom


In the UK, "admags" (advertisement magazines) were originally a feature of the regional commercial ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 stations from launch in 1955 but were banned in 1963. The word 'teleshopping' was coined in 1979 by Michael Aldrich
Michael Aldrich
—Michael Aldrich is an English inventor, innovator and entrepreneur. In 1979 he invented online shopping to enable online transaction processing between consumers and businesses, or between one business and another, a technique known later as e-commerce...

 who invented real-time transaction processing from a domestic television and subsequently installed many systems throughout the UK in the 1980s. This would now be referred to as online shopping. In the 1989, the Satellite Shop was the launched as the first UK shopping channel. Shortly afterwards, infomercials began on satellite television and they became known as teleshopping. Until 2009 UK permitted neither paid infomercials nor teleshopping on mainstream network television. However in 2009 OFCOM
Ofcom
Ofcom is the government-approved regulatory authority for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries in the United Kingdom. Ofcom was initially established by the Office of Communications Act 2002. It received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003...

 allowed up to three hours of infomercials a day on all programme channels. In the UK political infomercials known as 'Party Political Broadcasts' are allocated to political parties according to a formula approved by Parliament and are available only on mainstream radio/network television, are strictly limited and are free of charge. Political parties or politically-motivated interest groups cannot buy advertising on UK TV. There is no prescription drug advertising because, with the single provider health system in the UK, there is only a single buyer for the whole country. Most auto advertising on TV is by manufacturers, however some are from local dealers.

Televangelists


Some US televangelists such as Robert Tilton
Robert Tilton
Robert Tilton is an American televangelist who achieved notoriety in the 1980s and early 1990s through his infomercial-styled religious television program Success-N-Life, which at its peak in 1991 aired in all 235 American TV markets , brought in nearly $80 million per year, and was described as...

 and Peter Popoff
Peter Popoff
Peter Popoff is a German-born American faith healer and the president of Peter Popoff Ministries. He conducts revival meetings and has a national television program...

 buy television time from infomercial brokers representing TV stations around the US and even some mass-distributed cable networks that are not averse to carrying religious programming
Religious broadcasting
Religious broadcasting refers to broadcasting by religious organizations, usually with a religious message. Many religious organizations have long recorded content such as sermons and lectures, and have moved into distributing content on their Internet websites.While this article emphasises...

. A block of such programming appears weekdays on BET
Black Entertainment Television
Black Entertainment Television is an American, Viacom-owned cable network based in Washington, D.C.. Currently viewed in more than 90 million homes worldwide, it is the most prominent television network targeting young Black-American audiences. The network was launched on January 25, 1980, by its...

 under the umbrella title
Wheel series
A wheel series is a term applied in the broadcast television industry to a television program in which two or more regular series are rotated with the same time slot...

 BET Inspiration. Politicians are also known to buy infomercial-length time blocks, as detailed below.

TiVo


TiVo
TiVo
TiVo is a digital video recorder developed and marketed by TiVo, Inc. and introduced in 1999. TiVo provides an on-screen guide of scheduled broadcast programming television programs, whose features include "Season Pass" schedules which record every new episode of a series, and "WishList"...

 uses paid programming time weekly on the Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

 on early Thursday mornings and ION Television on early Tuesday mornings in order to record interactive and video content to be presented to subscribers of their service in a form of linear datacasting
Datacasting
Datacasting is the broadcasting of data over a wide area via radio waves. It most often refers to supplemental information sent by television stations along with digital television, but may also be applied to digital signals on analog TV or radio...

 without the need to interfere with a subscriber's Internet bandwidth. The program is listed as Teleworld Paid Program, named for TiVo's corporate name at its founding.

During the 2007–2010 financial crisis


During the current financial crisis, many struggling individual television stations have devoted more of their programming schedules to infomercials and have reduced syndication contracts for regular programming. There have been stations that have found that the revenue from infomercial time sales were higher than the revenues possible through the traditional television advertising and syndication sales options. However, the reduced ratings from airing infomercials can have a domino effect
Domino effect
The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence. The term is best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes...

 and harm ratings for other programming on the TV station.

A feature length documentary that chronicles the history of the infomercial is Pitch People
Pitch People (1999 film)
Pitch People is a documentary film that focuses on the role the art of the "pitch" has played in society. It was produced in 1999 and includes interviews with many of the pitch industry's greatest salesmen, including Arnold Morris, Sandy Mason, Lester Morris, Wally Nash and Ed McMahon as well as a...

.

In 2008, Tribune Media Services
Tribune Media Services
Tribune Media Services is a syndication company owned by the Tribune Company.The company has two divisions, "News and Features" and "Entertainment Products"...

 and Gemstar-TV Guide/Rovi began to relax the guidelines for listing infomercials within their electronic program guide
Electronic program guide
Electronic program guides and interactive program guides provide users of television, radio, and other media applications with continuously updated menus displaying broadcast programming or scheduling information for current and upcoming programming...

 listings. Previously all infomercials were listed under the title "Paid Programming" (except for exceptions listed below), but now infomercial producers are allowed to submit a title and limited synopsis (phone numbers/websites to order a product/service seem to be disallowed) of the program's content to the listings providers.

Fox's Saturday morning programming


The Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company, commonly referred to as Fox Network or simply Fox , is an American commercial broadcasting television network owned by Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Launched on October 9, 1986, Fox was the highest-rated broadcast network in the...

 announced that beginning in January 2009, all of its Saturday morning cartoon
Saturday morning cartoon
A Saturday morning cartoon is the colloquial term for the animated television programming that has typically been scheduled on Saturday mornings on the major American television networks from the 1960s to the present; the genre's peak in popularity mostly ended in the 1990s while the popularity of...

 programming would be cancelled due to a compensation/distribution dispute with provider 4Kids Entertainment
4Kids Entertainment
4Kids Entertainment is an American film and television production company in bankruptcy since April 2011. It is known for English-dubbing Japanese anime and specializing in the acquisition, production and licensing of children's entertainment around the United States...

, to be replaced by a two-hour block of infomercials under title of Weekend Marketplace
Weekend Marketplace
Weekend Marketplace is a two hour Saturday morning block of paid programming airing on Fox that began airing on January 3, 2009, replacing the 4Kids TV Saturday morning cartoon block that aired using time leased by 4Kids from Fox from 2002 until the last Saturday of 2008...

. This made Fox the first major network (excluding borderline Ion Television) to carry a schedule of paid programming. However, many local stations already utilize Saturday morning slots to air locally-programmed paid programming or programs such as Video Car Lot, which features one dealer presenting their current selection of pre-owned vehicle
Pre-owned vehicle
A used car, a pre-owned vehicle, or a second hand car, is a vehicle that has previously had one or more retail owners. Used cars are sold through a variety of outlets, including franchise and independent car dealers, rental car companies, leasing offices, auctions, and private party sales...

s to encourage customers to visit their lot, or "home tour" programming where a home builder
Home construction
Home construction is the process of constructing a home. Beginning with simple pre-historic shelters, home construction techniques have evolved to produce the vast multitude of living accommodations available today. Different levels of wealth and power have warranted various sizes, luxuries, and...

 records a tour of a model home to entice homebuyers to purchase a plot in their subdivision
Subdivision
Subdivision may refer to:* Country subdivision** Subdivision , a term for an urban or suburban area, especially if recently parceled up into smaller plots for new uses** Census geographic units of Canada , a term used in Canada...

s. Some stations opted to use the extra time on Saturday morning for E/I
E/I
E/I, which stands for "educational and informative," refers to a type of children's television programming shown in the United States. The Federal Communications Commission requires that every full-service Terrestrial television station in the U.S. show at least three hours of these television...

 programming, with infomercials relegated to before or after the block, or even limited to afternoons, if local newscasts are shown earlier.

Criticism and legal issues


In the United States, because of the sometimes sensational nature of the ad form and the questionable nature of some products, consumer advocates recommend careful investigation of the infomercial's sponsor, the product being advertised, and the claims being made before making a purchase. At the beginning of an infomercial, stations or sponsors normally run disclaimers warning that "the following program is a paid advertisement," and that the station does not necessarily support the sponsor's claims. A few stations take the warning further, encouraging viewers to contact their local Better Business Bureau
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau , founded in 1912, is a corporation consisting of several private business franchises of local BBB organizations based in the United States and Canada, which work through their parent corporation, the Council of Better Business Bureaus .The Better Business Bureau, through...

 or state or local consumer protection agency to report any questionable products or claims that air on such infomercials. Some channels, such as CNBC
CNBC
CNBC is a satellite and cable television business news channel in the U.S., owned and operated by NBCUniversal. The network and its international spinoffs cover business headlines and provide live coverage of financial markets. The combined reach of CNBC and its siblings is 390 million viewers...

, include a "paid programming" bug
Digital on-screen graphic
A digital on-screen graphic is a watermark-like station logo that many television broadcasters overlay over a portion of the screen-area of their programs to identify the channel...

 in a corner of the screen during the duration of each infomercial on that channel; other channels, particularly smaller networks such as RFD-TV
RFD-TV
RFD-TV, or Rural Free Delivery TV, is a United States satellite and cable television channel devoted to rural issues, concerns, and interests. The channel's name is a reference to Rural Free Delivery, the name for the United States Postal Service's system of delivering mail directly to rural patrons...

, have publicly disavowed infomercials and have refused to air them.

The FTC requires that any infomercial 15 minutes or longer must disclose to viewers that it is a paid advertisement. An infomercial is required to be "clearly and conspicuously" marked as a "paid advertisement for [particular product or service], sponsored by [sponsor]" at the beginning and end of the advertisement and before ordering instructions are displayed.

Considerable FTC scrutiny is also given to results claims like those in diet/weight loss advertisements. They especially focus on the gray areas surrounding claims stated by "testimonials" because the producer's choice to include a specific testimonial is an action as intentional as writing a scripted claim. The rules controlling endorsements are modified from time to time to increase consumer protection and fill loop holes. Industry organizations like the Electronic Retailing Association, who represents infomercial marketers, often try to minimize the impact of these rule changes. Additionally, the FTC has been enforcing laws regarding testimonials and have filed suits against several companies for publishing "non-typical" and "completely fabricated" customer testimonials to support their claims within the infomercials. In 2006 the first third party testimonial verification company was launched and now independently validates the consumer testimonials used in many infomercials.

Since the 1990s, federal and state consumer protection agencies have either successfully sued or been critical of several prominent informercial pitchmen, including Kevin Trudeau
Kevin Trudeau
Kevin Mark Trudeau is an American author, radio personality, and infomercial salesman best known for promoting alternative medicine. A number of his television infomercials and several of his books, including Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About, allege that both the U.S...

, Donald Barrett
Donald Barrett
Donald Barrett is the founder and president of ITV Direct, an infomercial company producing infomercials for broadcast in the United States. Almost all are related to health and nutrition, or in the company's words, "products that positively impact people". He has also promoted Lorraine Day, and...

, and Matthew Lesko
Matthew Lesko
Matthew Lesko is an American author, self-proclaimed federal grant researcher, and infomercial personality. He has authored over 20 reference books telling people how to get "free" money from the United States government...

. Don Lapre
Don Lapre
Donald D. "Don" Lapre was an American TV pitchman. He became a multi-level marketing and infomercial salesman. His work involved product packages such as "The Greatest Vitamin in the World" and "Making Money Secrets"....

, a salesman notorious for his get-rich-quick scheme
Get-rich-quick scheme
A get-rich-quick scheme is a plan to acquire high rates of return for a small investment. The term "get rich quick" has been used to describe shady investments since at least the early 1900s....

s, committed an apparent suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 while in federal custody awaiting a trial for several dozen counts of fraud
Fraud
In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation...

.

Parodies


The Infomercial format has been widely parodied:
  • In a sort of self-parody, the movie Santo Gold's Blood Circus features a musical number in which mail-order jewelry salesman "Santo Gold" Rigatuso (who financed the film) advertises his wares. Santo Gold promoted the film heavily in its infomercials.
  • A skit in the cartoon series Tiny Toon Adventures
    Tiny Toon Adventures
    Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures, usually referred to as Tiny Toon Adventures or simply Tiny Toons, is an American animated television series created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. It began production as a result of Warner Bros....

     has an infomercial hostess trying to sell a clothesline for $39.95, but has to include additional offers to try to justify the high price.
  • In the Garfield and Friends
    Garfield and Friends
    Garfield and Friends is an American animated television series based on the comic strip Garfield by Jim Davis. The show was produced by Film Roman, in association with United Feature Syndicate and Paws, Inc., and ran on CBS Saturday mornings from September 17, 1988 to December 10, 1994, with...

     episode "Dream Giveaway", Garfield
    Garfield
    Garfield is a comic strip created by Jim Davis. Published since June 19, 1978, it chronicles the life of the title character, the cat Garfield ; his owner, Jon Arbuckle; and Arbuckle's dog, Odie...

     dreams of attempting to give away Nermal in an infomercial, but no one wants to take him.
  • In the 2003 live-action film The Cat in the Hat
    The Cat in the Hat (film)
    The Cat in the Hat is a 2003 American slapstick comedy film loosely based on the 1957 book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. It was produced by Brian Grazer and directed by Bo Welch, and stars Mike Myers in the title role of the Cat in the Hat, and Dakota Fanning as Sally...

    , the cat performs an entire talkshow-style infomercial spoof for a magical (but disastrous) cupcake maker. In the spoof, the Cat plays the roles of host and guest/expert.
  • In the direct-to-video movie The Lion King 1½
    The Lion King 1½
    The Lion King 1½ is a 2004 American direct-to-video animated film released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment on February 10, 2004. The film is the third installment in the Lion King series. The DVD went to the Disney Vault in January 2005...

    , Pumbaa sits on the remote in mid-movie and the screen switches to a jewelry infomercial from QVC
    QVC
    QVC is a multinational corporation specializing in televised home shopping. Founded in 1986 by Joseph Segel in West Goshen Township, Pennsylvania, United States, QVC broadcasts in five countries as QVC US, QVC UK, QVC Germany, QVC Japan and – QVC Italy to 200 million households...

    .
  • Quebec-based Têtes à Claques
    Têtes à claques
    Têtes à claques is a French-language humour website created on August 16, 2006. Over one million short videos are watched per day, making it one of the most popular francophone websites in Quebec and Canada. As of March 2011, there are 184 videos...

     has produced several informercial parodies in French.
  • The comedy duo Tim Heidecker
    Tim Heidecker
    Tim Heidecker is an American actor, comedian, musician, writer and director. He is one half of the comedy team of Tim and Eric...

     and Eric Wareheim
    Eric Wareheim
    Eric Wareheim is an American actor, comedian, writer and director. He is one half of the comedy team of Tim and Eric. Wareheim, along with Tim Heidecker, created the television shows Tom Goes to the Mayor, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Check It Out! with Dr...

     have produced several infomercial parody segments that are showcased on their oddball comedy show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
    Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
    Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is an American sketch comedy television series, created by and starring Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, which premiered February 11, 2007 on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim comedy block and ran until May 2010...

    , notably one for a CD-ROM-based version of the internet called the "Innernette". It employs many of the cliched infomercial hallmarks and phrases such as enthusiastic demonstrations, and outlandish claims of user satisfaction.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic
    "Weird Al" Yankovic
    Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic is an American singer-songwriter, music producer, accordionist, actor, comedian, writer, satirist, and parodist. Yankovic is known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and that often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts...

     parodied infomercials in the song Mr. Popeil, a homage to inventor and infomercial spokesperson Ron Popeil
    Ron Popeil
    Ronald M. Popeil is an American inventor and marketing personality, best known for his direct response marketing company Ronco...

    , on his 1984 album "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D
    "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D
    "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D is the second studio album by American signer-songwriter "Weird Al" Yankovic, released on February 28, 1984, by Rock 'n Roll Records. The album was one of many produced by former The McCoys guitarist Rick Derringer...

     (Popeil himself used the song in some of his infomercials). Well known pitchmen like Popeil and Billy Mays
    Billy Mays
    William Darrell "Billy" Mays, Jr. was an American television direct-response advertisement salesperson most notable for promoting OxiClean, Orange Glo, and other cleaning, home-based, and maintenance products on the Home Shopping Network, and through his company, Mays Promotions, Inc...

     have been the inspiration for many of these parodies.
  • Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

    s "Bassomatic" skit featuring Dan Aykroyd in the 1970s may have presaged the genre.
  • In the "Home-Cooked Eds" episode of the Cartoon Network
    Cartoon Network
    Cartoon Network is a name of television channels worldwide created by Turner Broadcasting which used to primarily show animated programming. The channel began broadcasting on October 1, 1992 in the United States....

     series Ed, Edd & Eddy, the Kanker Sisters decide to watch infomercials after taking over Eddy's house in yet another misguided attempt at affectation.
  • Robot Chicken
    Robot Chicken
    Robot Chicken is an American stop motion animated television series created and executive produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich along with co-head writers Douglas Goldstein and Tom Root. Green provides many voices for the show...

     has parodied numerous infomercials, along with their hosts. Popular examples include Billy Mays
    Billy Mays
    William Darrell "Billy" Mays, Jr. was an American television direct-response advertisement salesperson most notable for promoting OxiClean, Orange Glo, and other cleaning, home-based, and maintenance products on the Home Shopping Network, and through his company, Mays Promotions, Inc...

    , Mick Hastie, and Cathy Mitchell
    Cathy Mitchell (television personality)
    Cathy Mitchell is a well known face to the American public when it comes to "As seen on TV" products. For many years, she has hosted numerous infomercials, such as, the Turbo Cooker, GT Express, GeMagic, Microcrisp, and many more...

    .

Political infomercials


In the United States the strategy of buying prime-time programming slots on major networks has been utilized by political candidates for both presidential and state office to present infomercial-like programs to sell a candidate's merits to the public. Fringe presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche
Lyndon LaRouche
Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Jr. is an American political activist and founder of a network of political committees, parties, and publications known collectively as the LaRouche movement...

 regularly bought time on CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 and local stations in the 1980s. In the 1990s Ross Perot
Ross Perot
Henry Ross Perot is a U.S. businessman best known for running for President of the United States in 1992 and 1996. Perot founded Electronic Data Systems in 1962, sold the company to General Motors in 1984, and founded Perot Systems in 1988...

 also bought network time in 1992 and 1996 to present his presidential policies to the public. The National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association
The National Rifle Association of America is an American non-profit 501 civil rights organization which advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights and the promotion of firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection...

 has also aired programs via paid programming time to present their views on issues such as gun control
Gun control
Gun control is any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to restrict or limit the possession, production, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of guns or other firearms by private citizens...

 and other issues while appealing to the public to join their organization.

2008 Presidential Campaign Use


Hillary Clinton bought an hour of primetime on the Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Channel
The Hallmark Channel is a cable television network that broadcasts across the United States. Their programming includes a mix of television movies/miniseries, syndicated series, and lifestyle shows that are appropriate for the whole family...

 in 2008 before Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday
In the United States, Super Tuesday, in general, refers to the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party's presidential candidates are officially nominated...

, and on cable sports network FSN Southwest
FSN Southwest
Fox Sports Southwest is a regional sports network that operates in all or parts of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arkansas...

 in Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 before that state's primary to present a town hall-like program. Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

's 2008 presidential campaign has used infomercials extensively. His campaign established the Obama channel on satellite TV networks throughout the campaign season. And, a week before the 2008 general election
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

 presidential candidate Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 bought a 30 minute slot at 8 PM ET/PT during primetime on seven major networks (NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

, CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

, MSNBC
MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

, Fox
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company, commonly referred to as Fox Network or simply Fox , is an American commercial broadcasting television network owned by Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Launched on October 9, 1986, Fox was the highest-rated broadcast network in the...

, BET
Black Entertainment Television
Black Entertainment Television is an American, Viacom-owned cable network based in Washington, D.C.. Currently viewed in more than 90 million homes worldwide, it is the most prominent television network targeting young Black-American audiences. The network was launched on January 25, 1980, by its...

, TV One
TV One (Radio One)
TV One is an American television channel based in Silver Spring, Maryland and primarily owned by Radio One and Comcast Corporation. It targets African American adults with a broad range of programming...

 and Univision
Univision
Univision is a Spanish-language television network in the United States. It has the largest audience of Spanish language television viewers according to Nielsen ratings. Randy Falco, COO, has been in charge of the company since the departure of Univision Communications president and CEO Joe Uva...

 (with Spanish subtitles)) to present a "closing argument" to his campaign. The combination of these networks reportedly drew a peak audience of over 33 million viewers of this half hour program, making it the single most watched infomercial broadcast in the history of US television.

Children's programming


Although not meeting the definition of an infomercial per se, animated children's programming in the 1980s and early 1990s, which included half-hour animated series for franchises such as Transformers
The Transformers (TV series)
The Transformers is an animated television series depicting a war among giant robots who could transform into vehicles, other objects and animal-like forms. Written and recorded in America, the series was animated in Japan and South Korea...

, My Little Pony
My Little Pony
My Little Pony is a brand of toy ponies marketed primarily to girls produced by the toy manufacturer Hasbro. These ponies can be identified by their colorful bodies and manes and a unique symbol on one or both sides of their flanks...

, Go-Bots and Bravestarr
Bravestarr
BraveStarr is an American space Western animated television series. The original episodes aired from September 1987 to February 1988 in syndication. It was created simultaneously with a collection of action figures. BraveStarr was the last animated series produced by Filmation and Group W...

 were often described by media experts and parents derisive of these types of series as essentially program-length commercials, as they also sold the tie-in
Tie-in
A tie-in is an authorized product based on a media property a company is releasing, such as a movie or video/DVD, computer game, video game, television program/television series, board game, web site, role-playing game or literary property...

 toy lines and food products for the shows within commercials. The Children's Television Act of 1990
Children's Television Act
The Children's Television Act was enacted in 1990 in the United States to enhance television's potential to teach the nation's children valuable information and skills. The Act requires each full-service television station that offers children's television programming in the U.S...

 was instrumental in ending this practice and setting commercial limits. Currently, any advertisement for a tie-in product within the show is considered a violation of the FCC rules and is considered a "program length commercial" by their standards, putting the station at risk of paying large fines for violations.

These regulations do not apply to cable networks; for instance, Disney Channel
Disney Channel
Disney Channel is an American basic cable and satellite television network, owned by the Disney-ABC Television Group division of The Walt Disney Company. It is under the direction of Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney. The channel's headquarters is located on West Alameda Ave. in...

 currently features tie-ins for virtually all of its shows instead of commercials, while only going as far as promoting DVD and CD versions of those programs. However, as seen in the aftermath a case where the characters for shoe company Skechers
Skechers
Skechers is an American shoe company headquartered in Manhattan Beach, California, founded by CEO Robert Greenberg. Greenberg started Skechers in 1992 after he left LA Gear which he also founded. Skechers was started with his son as a distributor for Doc Martens; they launched their own shoe line...

's children's shoe commercials were adapted into a full-length series, Zevo-3
Zevo-3
Zevo-3 is an French-American animated television series that currently airs on Nicktoons. It is based on three characters that previously appeared in Skechers commercials , although they have been redesigned...

 for Nicktoons, effectively cable networks usually use FCC rules as a basic guideline and rarely stray away from the basic tenets of the CTA to avoid risking their reputations with parents, consumer advocates and other groups which would argue for equivalent FCC controls for cable networks as broadcast networks for children's content.

Daytime programming


A new genre of locally produced television rose in the mid-2000s as local television stations (especially those affiliated with the NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 and Fox networks, where NBC gave up the most programming time) saw network time on weekday mornings after 9am
Daytime television
Daytime television is the general term for television shows produced that are intended to air during the daytime hours on weekdays. This article is about American daytime television, for information about international daytime television see Daytime television....

 returned to local control and saw new national talk shows either fail or not attract the right demographic to a timeslot. Beginning with Daytime on Media General
Media General
Media General, Inc. is a media company based in the Southeastern United States. Its major properties include newspapers such as The Tampa Tribune, the Winston-Salem Journal, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, as well as numerous television stations, such as flagship station WFLA-TV.The company was...

-owned station WFLA-TV
WFLA-TV
WFLA-TV, virtual channel 8, is the NBC-affiliated television station in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida. The station is the flagship station of its owner and operator, Media General. Its transmitter is located in Riverview, Hillsborough County, Florida. WFLA is the only station in the market to be...

 in Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Tampa is a city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County. Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The population of Tampa in 2010 was 335,709....

 in the early 2000s, a new format featuring the structure of a traditional locally-produced daytime show with the usual format of light talk, health features, beauty tips and recipe segments which was popular up to the early 1990s when expansion of newscasts became a much less expensive, more dependable form of revenue came into use. Some of these shows, such as WKBW-TV
WKBW-TV
WKBW-TV, channel 7, is the ABC affiliate for the Buffalo, New York television market, and is one of many local Buffalo TV stations seen over-the-air and on cable in Canada. Its transmitter is located at 8909 Center Street in Colden. The station is owned by the Granite Broadcasting Corporation, who...

's AM Buffalo
AM Buffalo
AM Buffalo is an American television talk show based in Buffalo, New York. The program has aired on WKBW-TV since its founding in 1978 and is hosted by Linda Pellegrino...

 in Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

, seamlessly made the transition from a traditional local talk show to a paid program with little notice.

This type of program usually features light talk designed to draw in mainly a stay-at-home female audience, followed by presentation of products, services, and packages by local businesses; for example, a basement waterproofing system might be discussed by the representative of a company in that business with the hosts, along with perhaps a special offer for viewers. These segments, though carefully disclaimed after concerns were brought up about the original program model of Daytime, are designed to give a business a detailed presentation of their service that might not be possible in a traditional thirty-second or one minute ad.

Though locally produced, the programs are also presented by hosts which are not associated in any way with the station's newsroom, or by a host who formerly anchored a station's newscasts and may be looking for an easier and less harried work schedule. Under most guidelines, hosts cannot appear in newscasts and in productions run by the sales department at the same time, due to ethical concerns about sponsorships influencing newscasts. Thus, news anchors and reporters cannot host these shows, nor can hosts of these shows appear in newscasts as reporters; for instance, in the case of the aforementioned AM Buffalo, host Linda Pellegrino was forced to resign her post as a weather anchor on WKBW when AM Buffalo began adding sponsored segments. In fact, if a breaking news event takes place during the program, it is usually cut off with only a quick pause and no mention by the host that they are sending viewers to the news desk for details on the story. In definition, these programs can be considered infomercials, albeit not exactly meeting the letter of the definition.

Other broadcasters as have adopted the model are:
  • Meredith Corporation
    Meredith Corporation
    The Meredith Corporation is a media conglomerate based in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The company has two divisions, National Media and Local Media.-History:...

    , which uses a modified form for their national/local hybrid program Better
    Better (TV series)
    Better is a syndicated lifestyle television show. It airs weekdays on 80 stations across the United States. The program is produced and distributed by Meredith Corporation which was first founded as a publishing company back in 1902. Better gets its name from Meredith's flagship publication, Better...

    .
  • LIN Media, which features the same format with localized titles on many of their stations (on WLUK-TV
    WLUK-TV
    WLUK-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Fox River Valley area and Northeastern Wisconsin. Licensed to Green Bay, Wisconsin, the station broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 11 from a transmitter on Scray's Hill in Ledgeview; the station also broadcasts in...

     in Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Green Bay is a city in and the county seat of Brown County in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, located at the head of Green Bay, a sub-basin of Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the Fox River. It has an elevation of above sea level and is located north of Milwaukee. As of the 2010 United States Census,...

    , it is known as Living with Amy, while WNAC-TV
    WNAC-TV
    WNAC-TV is the Fox-affiliated television station for the state of Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts licensed to Providence. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 12 from a transmitter on Homestead Avenue in Rehoboth, Massachusetts...

     of Providence, Rhode Island
    Providence, Rhode Island
    Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

     brands their program The Rhode Show, and Hampton Roads
    Hampton Roads
    Hampton Roads is the name for both a body of water and the Norfolk–Virginia Beach metropolitan area which surrounds it in southeastern Virginia, United States...

     station WVBT
    WVBT
    WVBT is the Fox-affiliated television station for the Hampton Roads area of Southeastern Virginia that is licensed to Virginia Beach. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 29 from a transmitter in the Driver section of Suffolk...

     calls their program The Hampton Roads Show).
  • Journal Communications
    Journal Communications
    Journal Communications, Inc. is a publicly traded media company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It publishes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a daily newspaper, and it also owns television stations, radio stations and weekly newspapers, among other businesses.-History:The Milwaukee Journal was...

     also features a format called The Morning Blend on many of their stations, which is much closer to the Daytime format.

Infomercial companies


Traditional infomercial marketers source the products, pay to develop the infomercials, pay for the media, and are responsible for all sales of the product. Sometimes, they sell products they source from inventors.

There is also a well-developed network of suppliers to the infomercial industry. These suppliers generally choose to focus on either traditional infomercials (hard sell approaches) or on using infomercials as advertising/sales channels for brand companies (branded approaches). In the traditional business, services are usually supplied by infomercial producers or by media buying companies. In the brand infomercial business, services are often provided by full service agencies who deliver strategy, creative, production, media, and campaign services.

Use of infomercials around the world


The infomercial industry was started in the United States and that has led to the specific definitions of infomercials as direct response television commercials of specific lengths (:30, :60, :120 seconds; 5 minutes; or 28 minutes and 30 seconds). Infomercials have spread to other countries from the US. However, the term "infomercial" needs to be defined more universally to discuss use in all countries. In general, worldwide use of the term refers to a television commercial (paid programming) that offers product for direct sale to consumer via response through the web, by phone, or by mail.

There are few structures that apply everywhere in the international infomercial business. The regulatory environment in each country as well as that country's television traditions have led to variations in format, lengths, and rules for long form commercials and television commercials selling direct to consumer. For example, in the early 1990s long form paid programming in Canada was required to consist only of photographs without moving video. (This restriction no longer exists).

Many products which started in the US have been taken into international distribution on television. And, each country has local entrepreneurs and marketers using the medium for local businesses. What may be called infomercials are most commonly found in North and South America, Europe, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

In many countries, the infrastructure of direct response television distributors, telemarketing companies and product fulfillment companies (shipping, customer service) are more difficult and these missing pieces have limited the spread of the infomercial.

See also

  • Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising is a form of communication used to persuade an audience to take some action with respect to products, ideas, or services. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common...

  • Advertorial
    Advertorial
    An advertorial is an advertisement in the form of an editorial. The term "advertorial" is a portmanteau of "advertisement" and "editorial." Merriam-Webster dates the origin of the word to 1946....

  • Brokered programming
    Brokered programming
    Brokered programming is a form of broadcast content in which the show's producer pays a radio or television station for air time, rather than exchanging programming for pay or the opportunity to play spot commercials...

  • Direct response television
    Direct response television
    Direct Response Television, or DRTV for short, includes any television advertising that asks consumers to respond directly to the company --- usually either by calling an 800 number or by visiting a web site. This is a form of direct response marketing....

  • Informative advertising
    Informative advertising
    Informative advertising is when advertising is carried out in an informative manner. The idea is to give the ad the look of an official article to give it more credibility. Also, informative ads tend to help generate a good reputation....

  • Marketing
    Marketing
    Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments...

  • Sponsored film
    Sponsored film
    Sponsored film, or ephemeral film, as defined by film archivist Rick Prelinger, is film made by a particular sponsor for a specific purpose other than as a work of art: the films were designed to serve a specific pragmatic purpose for a limited time...

  • Television advertisement
    Television advertisement
    A television advertisement or television commercial, often just commercial, advert, ad, or ad-film – is a span of television programming produced and paid for by an organization that conveys a message, typically one intended to market a product...

  • Air flow ball
    Air flow ball
    Air flow balls are small, plastic balls, often used in physical training because of their many gaping holes, which help reduce backspin and increase friction, thus hampering the ability to travel long distances...

  • Abdomenizer
    Abdomenizer
    The Abdomenizer was an abdominal exerciser invented in 1984 by Canadian chiropractor Dennis Colonello and marketed through infomercials by the Fitness Quest corporation of Canton, Ohio. It was an almost flat, saddle-like piece of thermoformed plastic, about 2 by 3 feet, with handles and a...