You can sell almost anything to me, if you advertise it on television. Ads on my computer annoy the hell out of me. Junk mail and magazine ads get tossed away, unread. But I am easily taken in by gadgets pitched on television.
The formula is timeless. First, there is some poor slob trying to do something the usual way and having a miserable time. It might be a man stabbing his ear with a Q-tip, a woman having to run over the same spot again and again with a vacuum cleaner, or whatever. You name it. The message that comes through is that we’ve all been suffering needlessly all these years with torture devices masquerading as ordinary objects, but our lives are about to be changed forever. Then we see happy, smiling, even laughing people who are using whatever it is that is being promoted. We are then told that, even though it is worth some crazy price, the gizmo is being sold for a mere $19.99 plus shipping and handling. Oh, but wait, there’s more! The people selling these things love us so much that they will give us an additional one for free, if we just pay the additional shipping and handling. That’s a sneaky way of telling us they are actually selling them for $9.98 apiece, unless we only buy one, in which case we pay twice that amount, and, in any case, they are going to soak us with the shipping and handling costs. But who stops to figure that out?
It only takes 60 seconds to get yourself hooked, if you aren’t careful.
Infomercials are even worse, because they spend a whole 60 minutes grabbing you with stories and demonstrations of how wonderful the product is, always with some really appealing guy or woman doing the demonstrating. You know: the kind who could sell heaters on the Equator.
Even if you are the kind of person (like me) who likes to think about something for a long time before finally buying it, you are still not safe. After the initial television campaign has lost most of its hot air and started to wilt, and there are still people who haven’t bought the product, it will inevitably appear in stores and maybe on one or two of your favorite shopping websites. All it takes to grab the attention of someone like me is that “As Seen on TV” logo.
I bought my two Snuggies at my local Walgreens. I got that George Forman Grill at a local housewares place.
I was dying to check out the WaxVac ear cleaner, and I did. It got enough bad reviews from people who bought it to make even me stop short of opening my credit card. I’ll bet that when it finally appears on the shelves of Walgreens or wherever, I will still want to buy one, just to see if it is as bad as those people say it is.
I also have a NutriBullet. So far I love it, but I’ve only had it a few weeks. Besides, I didn’t see the ads for that one on TV. A co-worker told me about it. So that doesn’t count.
I just ordered two Chillows, those things you put on your pillows to keep them cool at night. The TV ad campaign came on at just the right time, when it’s getting hotter here and I haven’t yet gotten my new air conditioner from Home Depot. The Chillow people told me to expect to wait 4-6 weeks for delivery, which means the summer could be halfway over before I am able to sleep with a cool head, but that’s better than nothing, I guess. This product got almost all good reviews. I hope all those people were telling the truth.
Time will tell.