Infomercials. We all know they are the most ridiculous commercials on TV. Poor production, “celebrity” endorsements, pointless products that solve a problem none of us knew we had…the list goes on. YET, they still exist and not only exist, but are thriving.
I had all but forgotten about infomercials the past couple years (I don’t watch too much TV and am cableless) until late last year when I subconsciously was drawn in to learn about the Sham-Wow.
Vince, the headset, a product called “Sham-Wow,” what’s not to love? As much as I knew I should peel my eyes away, I couldn’t help but watch this entire spot. One time. That’s all it took for the product name to be embedded in my head and asking friends if they had seen the commercial and also shared a laugh.
Sidenote – the best part has got to be this line:
“Olympic divers, they use it as a towel.”
I can see it…”Michael Phelps, congrats on your 8 Olympic gold medals…wait…is that a SHAM-WOW?!”
Following my obsession with the Sham-Wow (no, I didn’t actually purchase one), a co-worker tipped me off to the Snuggie. That’s right, the blanket with sleeves. Seriously?
What I’m most mesmerized by is the cult status of this product. Not only has this spot garnered millions of views on YouTube, but the USA Today reports nearly 250 Facebook groups (one page has over 8,500 fans) and almost 300 parody videos about the Snuggie as well. There is even a Web site called Snuggie Sightings.
Over 4 million Snuggies have been sold in just over 3 months. Wow.
Successful infomercials have tapped pop culture and capitalize on some basic word-of-mouth fundamentals. Sure, there is subtle humor, cheesy scripts, overt drama along with utter simplicity and practical application to everyday life. But these are interesting products that give people a reason to talk to one another.
In addition, in the case of the Snuggie, they have allowed the conversation to explode by accepting rather than trying to fight off spin-off spots that mock their product. They’re using content creators to their advantage to naturally help drive word-of-mouth in a very honest, open manner. In other words, it’s marketing genius and a testament to the power of the social Web in it’s ability to propel a “viral” (like David Mullen, I’m tentative to ever use that word, but this is an exception) campaign.