The Techniques of Infomercials and Why They Work
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Jan 21, 2012

The Techniques of Infomercials and Why They Work

In the brand management and marketing industry the idea of an infomercial is largely frowned upon. This is understandably so due to the overly enthusiastic infomercial presenter, annoying catchphrases, and obscure products present in all infomercials. However, despite this apparent repulsion infomercials do exceptionally well in this modern environment of advanced branding and marketing techniques despite the ongoing development of digital platforms and social media. Surprisingly, figures show that infomercial advertising brings in over £91 billion of revenue each year so it’s quite clear that something is working. But of course we know that, as we all have some infomercial product stashed away at the back of our kitchen cupboard and have at least once been glued to the infomercial television screen.

The Negative Perception of Infomercials 

First of all, let’s have a look at why infomercials have such a bad reputation amongst branding and marketing officers. The look and feel of infomercial advertising with the eager salesman and testimonials seem a bit downmarket. Thus for many brands that rely on the ‘cool’ factor or have an upmarket brand image, infomercials could tarnish the brand. Also, brand advertisers simply believe that infomercial videos simply do not work. With the advanced marketing techniques and high budgets of campaigns today, it is commonly believed that something that simple cannot be effective.  Finally, TV infomercials run against the grain of advertising in general and therefore against all the knowledge of an advertiser.

Advantages and Techniques of Infomercials

Now let’s look at the advantages of an infomercial and what techniques make the infomercial products sell. The most obvious advantage is production costs; an infomercial costs about a quarter less than most regular television ads. Second of all, because of the length of infomercials, the advert acts as a self-contained unit or presentation. Thus if you have a product with a specific function that sets it apart from competitor products, that cannot be fully explained in a slogan or in small print, infomercials will fully explain, answer any questions of doubt a viewer may have, and then re-explain the infomercial product. Just have a look at this example for fitness equipment, the 'Standing Ab' machine. Believe it or not, infomercials are engaging and convincing and if done properly, converts into sales. But wait, there’s more!

Neuro-linguistic Programming 

The addictive quality that some television infomercials seem to possess can be accounted to a very specific technique used by infomercial producers, namely neuro-linguistic programming. Neuro-linguistic programming refers to a specific take on communication, personal development and psychotherapy that was developed in the seventies. It states that there is a connection between neurological processes and language in certain patterns of behaviours that have been learnt through experience. Although not supported by scientific evidence, its application was made popular by Tony Robbins, a self help guru, motivational speaker and infomercial expert. Whether or not the psychotherapy behind infomercials is correct or not, there’s no doubt that the infomercial’s call to action phrases get viewers dialling

Author Bio: Penny Munroe is an avid writer in the branding and marketing techniques used to sell products and services. After being persuaded into buying a steam mop and steam cleaning machines on an informercial, Munroe decided to look into why infomercials are so convincing, even though most of us are so repelled by them.