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Episode 63 – Think Like Ron Popeil – Infomercials

Brand Archetypes
Episode 63 - Think Like Ron Popeil - Infomercials
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Taking brand tips from infomercials for your products and services.

Kids today live in a world where they have almost unlimited options of what we’re now referring to as “screen time.” 

All forms of screens: TV, tablets, mobile phones, and other devices.  However, despite all that screen time, there’s a possibility they don’t know what an “infomercial” is.  Even if they know what one is, they probably don’t remember the very first ones.  Do you?  

If you lived through the 80s and 90s and into the 2000s, you’ll remember greats like Shame Wow,  The George Foreman Grill, The Shake Weight (Kirsten Wiig), Oxi-Clean with Billy Mays, and who could forget The Thigh Master with Suzanne Summers?

So, all of these products have something in common. Can you guess? They were all pitched by wackadoos on late-night TV, but that is not what we are after here.

From a brand perspective, they’re examples of a line of products that formerly didn’t have a special name, were given one, and then elevated to a place worthy of half-hour infomercial shows. And it works. You remember the names of these products decades later. 

Should You Create Infomercials?

So, are we saying everyone should create an infomercial? No, not really. But there are some really valuable lessons that can be taken from the formula of what infomercials did for the products they were promoting. 

Even after almost half a century, these products stick in our mind more than most products because THEY WERE GIVEN AN IDENTITY AND A BRAND!  They were separated from their competitors and made to look and feel special.

If a company has a product or a service where the industry describes it generically, there could be branding (and marketing) opportunities here. 

For example, it used to be that a grill was just a grill.  But then boxer George Foreman evolved into a pitchman and we were introduced to the “George Foreman Grill”.  Can you think of any other grill, before or after, that has a unique name and identity… not just the company name?  

As a side note, Kevin mentioned the history behind the creation of Kingsford Charcoal. You can find the store here.

Branding Offensive or Hard to Relate to Products

Let’s say you’ve got a product that is just, simply, outwardly “offensive” to a lot of people.  Something like cow manure. Cow manure, as a product is HUGELY important in the world of agriculture!!  HUGE! But, how can you differentiate your cow manure from all the rest? I mean, poop is poop, right?

Introducing “Dairy Doo!” It’s an all-organic sustainable composting material for both home and agribusiness.  It has a cute little cow in the logo, they even have their own website.  

Where nobody wants to even think about cow manure, EVERYBODY wants a little Dairy Doo!  It’s FUN, right?! 

Listen to our full episode to hear how Kevin and Amy think some lawnmower companies and automakers get it right and get it wrong with their branding.

Ron Popiel, we hope you’re living life large right now.  Thanks, not just for inventing the infomercial, but for showing us all how to create a brand for an individual product … how to give it life … how to differentiate it … how to make it truly memorable.

Now, go put on your Snuggie, your Moon Boots, and use your Squatty Potty while you think about your brand some more. 

THE WRAP-UP

We may have perked up your interest, but we realize this is a really big idea and could get overwhelming really fast.  If you’d like a little help moving forward, feel free to give us a call.

Follow us on all the social media @BrandArchetypes.

Kevin & Amy

Kevin Skarritt and Amy Zander are the co-creators of the Brand Archetypes podcast and co-authors of the book by the same name. Explore the world of Brand Archetypes and find out how they can transform your company!

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