But Wait…There’s More

The book focuses on scamming TV viewers (beyond what media outlets today do for insurance and pharmaceutical companies).

Some excerpts and related youtubes…

The infomercial first entered the pubic consciousness in the mid-1980s, when cable deregulation eliminated the rules that had previously restricted the number and length of commercials that could be broadcast in an hour. When the rules were set aside in 1984, the floodgates opened. (page 8)

Most of the [early snake oil salesmen] products were high in alcohol, which explains why so many people seemed to feel better after a generous swig. (page 9)

A wonderful documentary on the early origin of the business, 1999’s Pitch People by Stanley Jacobs, features interviews with a handful of legendary pitchmen from the era (page 14)

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By 1963 the FCC had forced the networks to adopt a cap on the number of minutes devoted to commercials in a given hour, as well as two-minute limit on any single commercial. The era of lengthy product demonstrations came to an end. (page 18)

Fox Business has yet to attract more than a few brave souls to watch its programming, but infomercial prodcuers have been more than happy to buy blocks of time late at night at a discount. (page 44)

Ostensibly at least, the Flowbee offered people a way to break free from the chore of visiting the barber regularly; now you’d be able to tend to your mullet without leaving the trailer park. (page 45)

Infomercial marketers know that you’ll be much more likely to stop for a moment if you think you’ve landed on a real television show, not an infomercial , and have negotiated deals with the companies that operate the digital program guides accordingly. (page 50)

The economics differ sector by sector, but typically an infomercial needs to factor in a six-to-one markup to make money, which means if you a $60 toaster oven advertised on television, it probably didn’t cost more than $10 to manufacture. (page 62)

While the long list of angry customers might have discouraged lesser entrepreneurs, the Milins have simply moved on. Their persistence has paid off in a new business partner: Donald Trump. (page 105)

[Tom Vu is] doing pretty well for himself. He took home $364,761 for second place at the World Series of Poker in 2007. (page 115)

Multilevel marketing (or MLM) programs turn the purchasers of the products into salespeople themselves, and they’re often totally legal: Amway and Mary Kay turn the women who join their organization into independent retailers. (page 123)

Lapre’s spiel was as distinctive as Vu’s boat-and-babes routine. (He later earned himself a David Spade imitation on Saturday Night Live for his contributions to pop culture history.) (page 125)

Like other products of this kind, Beck’s $39.95 system doesn’t make him any money. The fee just about covers the airtime to market the product. But it gives Beck an easy mark, someone who can be squeezed for more cash at a later date….Coaching programs are the dirty little secret behind many of these courses. People who purchase the product are told by company reps that they can’t take full advantage of it unless they sign up for a coaching service, a personal adviser who will guide them to real estate riches. The coaches can tack on thousands in additional fees. (page 128)

As attention is focused on the shady characters who create the phony infomercials, what tends to get lost in the discussion is that the largest media conglomerates in the world….are the grand enablers. The government has never taken action against a station for airing a fraudulent infomercial. (page 153)

Quackwatch.org (page 161)

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3 responses to this post.

  1. The economics differ sector by sector, but typically an infomercial needs to factor in a six-to-one markup to make money, which means if you a $60 toaster oven advertised on television, it probably didnโ€™t cost more than $10 to manufacture. (page 62)
    This does not surprise me at ALL. Anything I see on TV that claims to be the best thing since sliced bread is usually a scam. BUT, I will always Google any product that sparks an interest along with the word “Review”. Never fails, the reviews come up and the product is dog shit. The My Pillow guy Mike Lindell, have you ever Googled reviews for his pillows? THEY SUCK! I just saw an ad that played on a YouTube video about a monocular scope called the “cosmicscope” that made all of these wild and krazee claims, so I thought this seems pretty cool, lets GOOGLE it for reviews … Should have known better- GARBAGE! They also appear to be 100% fraudulent. Watch the video for the fraud, especially the company address, which is a UPS Store … SMH ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    Buyer BEWARE with this monocular scope
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    Buyer BEWARE with this monocular scope. I love exposing these types of companies!
    Here’s another unfiltered tech review on a 16×52 monocular scope zoom lens for your smartphone. Some refer to these as a spotting scope, monocular scope, telescope, or mono scope. … In this review, I expose these companies’ marketing. I think the ad they are running was shot with a high-powered camera lens like the Nikon P900/1000 or higher, and then posted as if the images were from this particular monocular lens WHICH IS FAKE!


    Reply

  2. My FAV’S:

    This is one I always wanted when I was a kid, the Ronco “Pocket Fisherman” Very cool โœ”โœ”โœ”

    The original TV Pitchman, Ron Popeil of Ronco and his “Smokeless Ashtray” these were popular back in the 70’s ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    Have ALWAYS wanted one of these-The Clapper ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž

    El Guapo’s all-time Fav-The Chia Pet ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ

    This one right here HAS to be Dougieee’s all-time Fav because he is a vegetable, mentally-Veg-o-Matic ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    Reply

  3. Posted by MJF on May 12, 2021 at 11:39 am

    GoPro….doesn’t get any better than that.

    Reply

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