Do you need a blanket that is also an outfit? What about a knife that can cut through a nickel? And don’t even get me started on all that fitness equipment that must be missing from your life! If you’ve ever been awake between the hours of about 2 am- 6 am, you know what I’m talking about: Infomercials.
As seen on TV products are an empire bringing in billions of dollars each year.
Infomercials have become famous, or perhaps infamous, for being over the top, sometimes cheesy, often times for selling unnecessary products. I mean, does anyone really need a knife that can cut through a quarter? I’d rather spend the thing than slice it in half. According to the Infomercials Inc. website, about 9 out of 10 infomercials are flops. But what about those select few who really make it? How much money do these “As on TV” products actually bring in? Check it out!
1) Bowflex: Bowflex was first launched in 1986, and has promised buyers a “rock hard body” and the ability to go from “fat to fit” in each of its incarnations since. So far, over 2.5 million of these home gyms have been sold across the world.
2) Proactiv: Proactiv wasn’t always the celebrity-endorsed acne product that it is today. When it first came onto the infomercial scene in 1995, the spokesman was Judith Light, the former “Who’s the Boss?” star. Not the worst candidate, but in the 2000’s Proactiv decided to start paying big bucks for younger, more popular celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, and yes, even Justin Beiber. Their investment has certainly paid off, though. Last year alone, Proactiv brought in about $800 million in revenue.
3) The George Forman Grill: This grill has used the face and name of the famous heavyweight boxer to its advantage since 1994 when it first came onto the scene. The grill markets itself as a “lean, mean grilling machine,” but it turns out, it’s also a moneymaking machine. In 2009, the George Forman Grill sold its 100 millionth unit after only 15 years on the market, making (or rather, remaking) the former heavyweight champion a millionaire many times over.
4) P90X: Now this fitness program hasn’t been on the market nearly as long as the famous Bowflex, but it is rapidly gaining in popularity. P90X is an intense three-month combination of strength training, cardio, yoga, martial arts, and plyometric workouts. According to a recent New York Times feature, the product’s success lies in its drastic before and after photos. Since its debut in 2005, over 3 million copies of the workout have been sold, and the P90X Empire now brings in about $400 million a year.
5) ShamWow: In just 4 years, the ShamWow has become one of the most recognizable infomercial products, largely thanks to the very recognizable pitchman, Vince Offer. Offer originally discovered the absorbent towels at a flea market, scraped together about $20,000, and began filming his own ad to sell the chamois. Though Offer won’t offer much information on his profits, we do know that the ShamWow has since sold millions.
6) The Snuggie: This robe/blanket/ultimate garment for comfort or laziness first debuted in 2008, and was an immediate hit. In just the first five months of Snuggie’s life, it sold over 4 million units, and since, has become somewhat of a cultural phenomena.
7) The Ped Egg: This little foot scrubber has climbed to success with a combination of clever marketing and a pretty reasonable price tag (just $9.95). The little guy uses 135 stainless steel micro-files to remove calluses and dead skin to “give your feet the incredible baby soft look.” Today, over 35 million Ped Eggs have been sold.
8) Slendertone: Everybody wants that perfect body with those rock-hard abs, right? And what better way to get them than by doing… nothing? Well, that is what Slendertone says you can do with their product. This belt has an electronically stimulating pulsing system and comes with a price tag of $86.99. Does it work? Just ask the over 2.5 million people who have bought one.
Are you guilty of some late-night shopping? Which “As seen on TV” products do you have?