#atozchallenge: Infomercial

infomercial =
infomation + commercial


A TV like the one we had at home when I was younger. (source: homeimprovementbasics.com)

Until about thirty years ago, TV stations in the US went off the air for a few hours every night (in the early days, they’d also go off the air in the middle of the day). I don’t think there was any regulation about this; I think it was more a case of running out of material to show their viewers. With the advent of cable TV in the 1970’s and 1980’s, more channels began keeping later hours, and pretty soon it was standard operating procedure to stay on the air all the time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including Sundays and holidays. This included not just the network stations and cable channels but also the local independent stations, ones that weren’t affiliated with the networks and who had to license their programming from syndicators. Many cash-strapped stations, not wanting to go off the air but not having anything to show in the wee hours of the morning, would look for programming that would actually pay them to broadcast it.

Thus, the infomercial was born. These are usually a half hour to an hour long, and are a more detailed discussion of the product they’re selling. For example, they might feature an interview with the author of a diet book, where the author will share some information from his book, and tell you where to find it in his book. Or it might be someone selling a juicer who demonstrates a few “delicious” recipes someone can make with it.

Shel Silverstein wrote a song that Steve Goodman did on his last album, Affordable Art, about someone who falls asleep with the TV on and buys everything advertised in the infomercials that run all night… (one case of mild profanity; be careful at work!)

Ever buy anything from an infomercial?


15 thoughts on “#atozchallenge: Infomercial

  1. Not watched one or bought anything. We could watch TV 24/7 but it would be a challenge to find something original a lot of the time


    1. A lot of the ones I’ve seen are get-rich-quick schemes where the only one that gets rich is the person doing the commercial. I get calls all the time who want to buy my house so they can remodel it and “flip” it, sell it again for a lot more than they bought it for. They get the idea for doing that from some guy who sold them a book for fifty dollars on one of those commercials. Guess Barnum was right, there’s a sucker orn eveery minute…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We bought some NuWave cookware with their burners. Very happy with it. My brother and sister-in-law bought them first, so when my mom saw them on an Infomercial we called. We’ve also bought Wen hair products from an infomercial. I now find myself (occasionally) looking for products featured on Shark Tank. Recently I bought balance board because I saw it on Shark Tank… πŸ™‚


  3. I once bought some classical music cassettes from an infomercial, but other than that.. nope. I do, however, have a friend whose entire garage is FILLED with nothing but infomercial items. Just this weekend he commented how he went to Walmart for milk and eggs and came home with a vacuum and a mop. He says “How does this keep happening to me?” And the running joke response is now “Was it tagged ‘As Seen on TV’?”

    #AtoZChallenge I is for Imbruglia


  4. The Christine Lavine song “What Was I Thinking?” also contains a verse about buying useless “stuff” from late-night infomercials.


  5. I think there have been a few I was interested in purchasing, but I never pulled the trigger on it. Lot’s of garbage sold at night. LOL Yes, some may be good, but I think overall they were products we could all live without.


  6. That Shel Silverstein/Steve Goodman song was fantastic. So funny!
    And yes, I have bought a few things from Infomercials… Hasn’t everyone?? πŸ™‚

    Michele at Angels Bark


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