Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More ShamWow, Bullet Blender, & Ron Popeil.

The comments on the last post got me thinking of other memorable pitches. But first, if you haven't seen the Shamwow commercial, here is a short version.

Two readers suggested the Magic Bullet Blender, one of my favorite "love to hate" infomercials. It's the ad that has the older lady smoking in the corner and the smarmy 80's type, "thirty-something" couples sitting around a kitchen counter. I disliked it so much I even watched the Spanish version. Really. And I do not speak Spanish. The part I don't get is that every vegetable that they put into the magic blender has already been chopped so that it fits. If I am chopping already why not just chop some more?

I had almost forgotten about the godfather of TV pitchmen, Ron Popeil. He invented the "Veg-O-Matic," which was so well known that it was spoofed on Saturday Night Live. His ancestry in the business goes back to Atlantic City boardwalk days like that of Billy Mays. He and his hairplugs annoy me so much I can't take my eyes off his infomercials. Which reminds me, does anyone remember the spray on hair "thickener" for the balding. It was a spray paint with fibers in it that, when applied, colored the bald spots of your head. Really. I am not making this up. I remember Ron Popeil spraying this stuff on the bald spot on his head.

Popeil invented dozens of products including the best selling Rotisserie Grill whose ad had the wonderful "hook" line, "I am selling these grills at the special television low price of $99 -- but only if you can tell three people where you got it." Genius.


Lizzie said...

I think I remember Ron Popeil selling a food dehydrater, not sure though. I do remember vaguely him spraying what looked like brown spray paint on people's heads. How disturbing!

I must tell you I've never used the magic bullet blender for chopping just making my protein shakes. I like the fact that I can blend it in the cup so there's not a lot of blender parts that need to be washed.

My kids were entranced with an infomercial selling the "Jawhorse" the other day. It's a clamp and a sawhorse put together so you can supposedly do two man jobs on your own. I don't know if it really helps but I know that I cracked up every time the guy said "jawhorse" lol!

Here's a youtube clip

Francis Shivone said...

Liz -- Ron Popeil did have a dehydrator, you are correct. I have not seen the Jawhorse, can't wait.

The hair spray was the most jaw dropping product I have ever seen advertised.

Kenny said...

Fran, Ron Popeil is a GENIUS. When I was a kid he was hawking the pocket fisherman. Do you remember that? It was about a foot long and was a Swiss Army fishing pole with everything you needed to catch and clean fish. It was, to my young eyes, the greatest thing I had ever seen. I BEGGED my parents for one. Hell, I didn't fish, but I was SURE I would if I could just get my hands on the Pocket Fisherman!!!

He was also, I think, the first Mr. Microphone producer, too.

It is a good thing I work at CSTM, because I'm a sucker for infomercials and would have a parade of UPS guys coming to the house. My current favorite is the H2O vacuum. So cool. Some ex-pothead just applied bong technology to a vacuum cleaner and came up with the coolest home appliance advance of the last 10 years.

Lizzie said...

Wow, I didn't realize there was such a field as "bong technology" ;)