When you hear “infomercial” you might picture a suburban mom on a fruitless quest through her cluttered kitchen cabinets to find a single matching container lid from her 10,000 piece Tupperware collection. Or a hapless man engaged in a heated but ultimately ill-fated wrestling match with his garden hose.
What was once an ad format no self-respecting agency would deign to touch after the 90s has suddenly found itself in vogue again, thanks to a growing consumer taste for all things nostalgic and kitsch.
The infomercial is no longer reserved for bacon bowls and Snuggies. Startups and big brands alike are embracing the format — with a few modern twists.
Fast-talking pitchmen like Billy Mays and Vince Shlomi (aka the ShamWow Guy) have been replaced by endearingly quirky character actors. Ad run times that once pushed the 30-minute mark on late night TV have been cut down to a more YouTube-friendly five minutes. And the all the unabashed cheesiness you’d expect from an infomercial is now intentionally engineered by teams of creatives.
Leading this new wave of viral, tongue-in-cheek infomercials is Utah-based agency Harmon Brothers, whose fresh spin on the once-tired ad format generated over $100 million of revenue in 2016 for their clients. Not to mention hundreds of millions of views on social media.
Other agencies and brands are feeling out the trend. And the results aren’t just funny — they’re also driving real brand awareness and sales. We’ve picked a few of the very best to inspire your next ad campaign. Check them out below and decide for yourself: Are infomercials here to stay?
7 Infomercials You’ll Actually Want to Watch
To highlight the benefits of this startup’s unique polymer mattress, the folks at Harmon Brothers created the raw egg test — “a super easy way to tell if your mattress is awful.”
In the infomercial, an actress dressed as Goldilocks adheres four raw eggs to the underside of a 330-pound sheet of tempered glass, and then drops it onto a Purple mattress to see if the eggs break. The eggs survive the drop onto the Purple mattress, but crack when dropped onto traditional box spring models.
The demo is reminiscent of classic hard-sell infomercial presentations, but stays funny and refreshing thanks to some well-timed quippy lines from Goldilocks. The YouTube comments speak for themselves:
This is the first ad that actually entertained me… what just happened.