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Sunday, September 24, 2006

& it Tastes Great!

I just watched a Dateline NBC piece about infomercials. Dateline created a pill that they claimed would moisturize your skin "from the inside out". They hired a production company to make the infomercial and a doctor, a host and a group of testimonial people that all said how effective the product was. The problem was, the product wasn't effective at all. It was really...Nestle Quik! The host (who shall remain nameless since we have the same agent) lost all credibility when she acknowledged that, despite her claim, she'd never tried the product. What's the difference between an actor in a 30 second commercial and a host of a 30 minute infomercial? Well, in the first you're "an actor" playing a character, probably even given a different name (He likes it, hey Mikey!). In the latter, you're being yourself and if you say you "use it and like it", you should really use it and like it! I understood the difference between acting and endorsing when I was six. I was hired to promote arguably the worst flavor of ice cream Baskin Robbins ever created. I graced the posters and smiled my way thru the campaign. But when I made personal appearances and people asked me if I liked the flavor, I honestly said that I preferred Jamocha Almond Fudge. As a post script, I saw the host from the infomercial on the season premiere of Criminal Minds and ...she's a really good actress!


Octolad said...

Infomercials are a guilty pleasure of mine -- a perverse artform. When I occasionally watch one, I'm learning what persuades the insomniac public with disposable incomes -- a peek into human behavior.

The evil part of infomercials is that when you doze off during Leno, you can sleep all night with the infomercials blaring into your unconscious mind and injecting materialist shallowness into your soul. There are few worse feelings than snapping awake on the sofa at 4:00 in the morning to see a paid "audience" cheering, oohing, and aahing on cue for some cheaply made device that processes old produce into nasty nutrition juice. It makes one wish for mental floss! :-)

Brophtron said...

I hadn't really thought of the difference between infomercials and commercials. I still remember those "Amazing Discoveries" infomercials that pretended to be regular shows. Those guys definitely seemed like actors to me.

If only we could rely on companies to put out only quality goods at decent prices and only advertise to those who would really want the things that they sell!