General Question

girlofscience's avatar

Why are some products marketed on informercials?

Asked by girlofscience (7527points) August 7th, 2008

When a product is created, how and why is it decided that it is going to be marketed as an informercial product, only available on TV? Why would someone choose this route rather than making their product a normal item sold in normal stores? Are infomercial products more likely to be bogus than products sold in regular stores?

(Side question: Why do informercials often say things like “if you call in the next ten minutes” and then display the counting down clock on the screen? Do they really think anyone believes that if they call later, they won’t be able to get the product anymore?)

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9 Answers

flyawayxxballoon's avatar

I imagine that, for the most part, this would be because either a) Nobody would buy it if they just saw it on the shelf. b) They want the product to apply to a specific audience, so they have an infomercial on television channels that are mainly watched by that type of audience. or c) The product is a scam that no stores will sell, so they have to resort to an infomercial where unsuspecting TV-watchers will buy the faulty product.

As for the side question, this is probably because it motivates people to buy it right then instead of just copying down the number and forgetting about it completely. If people feel that they have a limited amount of to buy something, they’re more likely to just go ahead and buy it, rather than take that chance. (And, some people probably believe that they won’t be able to get the product after the time period is over until another infomercial for the product comes on. =P )

jballou's avatar

I don’t know the answer to your main question exactly, but I could take a guess. Depending on your market and where you are, selling your product via a infomercial is more or less the same as selling it out of the trunk of your car. (Theoretically) So if you don’t have the budget or manpower to get your product into a store, which takes time and money, you might do better selling it directly to the consumer. All you have to have is the few thousand bucks to produce the spot (many of which are totally cookie cutter- I’m sure there’s a couple companies just pumping them out)

The bottom line- it’s probably way cheaper. The second bottom line- it’s not that easy to get your product in a store. You have to prove your manufacturing capabilities and market viability and lots of other stuff.

Which brings me to your side question- They probably say this because they have a limited quantity of product to sell, and if they do by chance sell out, they can cover their own ass by simply claiming it will only be available for the next 10 minutes.

This is all speculation though! I have no real idea. I just thought it was an interesting question, and thought I’d take a stab

MrKnowItAll's avatar

Info-mercials are incredibly cheap to broadcast. The are 28:30 secs long, and vary in price (depending upon time of broadcast and audience share) from $100 per showing, to tens of thousands of dollars per showing. They are very effective, and give a great return on investment. It’s a good deal for the advertiser and the broadcaster.

Guess who the Loser is?

Bri_L's avatar

I actually did helped concept write shoot do graphics animations for and edit an info-mercial for a product by RegalWare (the pots and pans people). The product was totally legit. I have no idea why it would be on tv vs in the store especially for an established name. I do know the product worked 100% as promised and continued on after until I left.

(I have a privacy agreement and can’t name the product)

RandomMrdan's avatar

I sometimes wonder why certain products aren’t always found in stores…and I always had an assumption in my mind…I’d imagine most stores are similar to the store I work in, in some ways. Example, Sony pays for a particular part of the store for their product to be placed out. I’d imagine that stores might have particular deals with manufacturers and might be paid not to show particular off branded items that are “knock off”. I also wonder why I can’t keep particular items in stock in my store, and it also deals with the buyers for a company…perhaps the buyers find it too risky to buy and sell a product that is too new? As opposed to buying from a reputable company with a well known name and product like Sony, Phillips, Samsung, Etc.

And I’m sure that an infomercial has a targeted market…time slots and so on…just like if you were to watch cartoon network you will see particular items for kids, or if you watch TV during the day while everyone is at school and work, a commercial might be targeted at a stay at home mom (or dad)?

These are all reasons I suppose, but I’m sure there are more factors involved too.

steelmarket's avatar

The main reason that certain of these products “do not appear in stores” is that most reputable retail chains demand certain volume/warehousing assurances, so that they can promote the product and not have to constantly worry about it being out of stock, having to issues rain checks, etc. And, if they have doubts about the quality of a product, they will pass on it, since they do not want to deal with customer returns.

I am probably just restating what @Random said…

scamp's avatar

Ron made a billion dollars doing this. Others have followed in his footsteps over the years trying to reach his level of sucess.

CMaz's avatar

Informercials main goal is to beat it into your brain.
New and Improved. Latest Technology. The Best. The Greatest.
You see it over and over again.
You will buy it, you bunch of sheep.

What is left over goes to a dollar store or WalMart. The ones that just could not pick up the phone will buy it now. Dumping the rest of the surplus inventory at a discount. Was $19.99 on TV now $9.99 on the shelves. Another selling tool.

If it was really a “good” product, the price might be the same from TV to the Store shelve.

Informercials are nothing more then muzak with a subliminal message in it.

That is why the “AS Seen On TV” logo is such a powerful selling tool in itself. If it was seen on TV it must be good.

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