'How Infomercials Work'

December 15, 2009
By Anonymous

If one were to walk past a ‘Snuggie’, the blanket with sleeves, on the shelves of Target, would they pick it up? Chances are no, because the concept looks dumb when you read from back of the box. Then why is the ‘Snuggie’, the white elephant gift that didn’t mean to be, one of the most popular items on the market?
It seems the magic of Infomercials turned the snuggie- pumpkin into a profit juggernaut carriage. There’s nothing like seeing a product on television and the bleached bright smiles of the people using it. If that woman is proud of looking like a dork, wearing her snuggie to her son’s football game, then why shouldn’t I? Of course, the infomercial only focuses on the woman and not her son who, I’m sure, looks mortified and is denying that the woman in the ‘Snuggie’ is his mother.
Maybe it’s seeing the product in action. Or maybe people want bragging rights, “See that?” They can point to the television when it comes on screen. “I have that.” But maybe it’s that people just want something they have seen on television. The product is essentially a television star. The item goes through make up and is in front of a camera and under stage lights. It is well known and would be stopped on the street for an autograph if it could. Buying a product from an infomercial is like owning a mini-celebrity. And everybody wants a piece of fame, no matter how small.
It’s the enchantment of seeing it in action. It is owning a piece of what’s behind the glass of the television. And it is the closest most people will get to being a celebrity, they can order one. It’s owning memorabilia from a era. Will people write the ‘Snuggie’ into history books, to be taught to children for decades to come? No. But the buyer will remember it. They will remember it like it was a ring from the Lord of the Rings movies, or a light saber actually used by Darth Vader instead of a mass manufactured product from a 1-800 number. All that will be remembered is that it was on television at one point.
So how do infomercials work? They tap into what everyone wants. And everyone wants their own slice of fame.

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