But, wait! There’s more…

Dust mop slippers…you know you’ve needed these…clean your floors at the same time you mosey into the kitchen to get a late night snack.

If you watch tv, you know what I’m talking about: the commercials from hitherto unknown manufacturers offering you a product that addresses some long-neglected need…though usually a need you didn’t know you had. At this time of year, these items proliferate on cable and late night tv as audience members struggle to find the perfect gift for the hard-to-buy-for person.

From bizarre kitchen devices, to beauty products, to garden gadgets, there seems to be a set script these things follow:

1. Introduce unmet need: “have you always struggled to slice a tomato without squashing it?” or “skin still marked by unsightly blemishes?” or “forever fighting the crabgrass at the edge of your garden?”

2. Introduce the product that will answer your prayers…offering it at a fraction of the price one would clearly expect to pay. “Ordinarily, this is a $299 value, but if you call NOW, we’ll send you the world’s sharpest knife, guaranteed to last until the next millenium for just $12.00…”

3. And, here’s the key…once you’re sure you’ve sold them on the extraordinary efficacy of your product, give ‘em more. Here’s the line: “But wait! There’s more! Order now and we’ll send you a second knife, absolutely free.” And, now, reel them in: “But there’s more! Two knives, plus this set of sharpeners and a knife holder all for that one price of $9.99, if you order now!”

Why am I writing about this? Because one of these ads hit the TOTALLY ABSURD button for my husband and me last night: the electric ear wax remover. But, wait! There’s more, if you order now you’ll receive not one, but two of these amazing devices (double-fisted ear wax removal???)…And, there’s more: call now and we’ll send you cleaning tools and a carrying bag. All for $17.99.

I’m not kidding. The perfect present for the guy on your list who has everything. Electric ear wax removers. Merry Christmas to you, too.

Share your favorite tv product deal with us. Let’s keep the shopping season fun.

3 Responses to “But, wait! There’s more…”

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  1. Ken Hall says:

    Ellen, When I married my first wife back in 1969 she came with three young girls ages 1+, 3+ and 5+ and as my wife often worked swing shift it fell to me to watch the girls. At the time I had succumbed to television watching with the girls and as they aged I observed a disturbing phenomenon in their behavior while we watched in vogue programs. While the actual program was being presented the girls attentions were shared between the TV and chattering among themselves; however, virtually without exception when a sales pitch (commercial) was blaring forth their chatter ceased and their attention was riveted to the TV. Initially I believed that it was only the marketing efforts directed toward children that caught their fancy; but, the more closely I observed their reactions and enlarged my data base I became convinced that that what was being marketed mattered virtually not at all.

    I formulated my current convictions about marketing advertisements, to wit, most if not all are targeted at the child/juvenile mind with the intent of creating “hooked” consumers before they are aware that they are being targeted, based on those observations of my step daughters. This in turn led to one of my favorite most oratory arguments, which I am wont to leap upon my soapbox and deliver ad hoc, my contention that marketing is the most damaging, worst, evil, ., ., ., ., and resource depleting invention that mankind ever came up with. Think about it, how many folks would buy any of the multitudinous piles of throw away crap that are foisted upon them via marketing commercials if it were not for the marketing commercials e.g., the vaunted “electric ear wax remover” or Ron Popeil’s latest desktop slicing dicing table top snakehead fish broiler.

  2. Ken Hall says:

    Ellen, When I married my first wife back in 1969 she came with three young girls ages 1+, 3+ and 5+ and as my wife often worked swing shift it fell to me to watch the girls. At the time I had succumbed to television watching with the girls and as they aged I observed a disturbing phenomenon in their behavior while we watched in vogue programs. While the actual program was being presented the girls attentions were shared between the TV and chattering among themselves; however, virtually without exception when a sales pitch (commercial) was blaring forth their chatter ceased and their attention was riveted to the TV. Initially I believed that it was only the marketing efforts directed toward children that caught their fancy; but, the more closely I observed their reactions and enlarged my data base I became convinced that that what was being marketed mattered virtually not at all.

    I formulated my current convictions about marketing advertisements, to wit, most if not all are targeted at the child/juvenile mind with the intent of creating “hooked” consumers before they are aware that they are being targeted, based on those observations of my step daughters. This in turn led to one of my favorite most oratory arguments, which I am wont to leap upon my soapbox and deliver ad hoc, my contention that marketing is the most damaging, worst, evil, ., ., ., ., and resource depleting invention that mankind ever came up with. Think about it, how many folks would buy any of the multitudinous piles of throw away crap that are foisted upon them via marketing commercials if it were not for the marketing commercials e.g., the vaunted “electric ear wax remover” or Ron Popeil’s latest desktop slicing dicing table top snakehead fish broiler (I hope it is obvious that I made that device up).

  3. Ellen Rocco says:

    Ken,
    I observed something similar when my son was very young: he often did other things while the tv was on EXCEPT for the commercials. The one exception to this was Sesame Street which, to my mind, was structured as a series of short bits–like ads–which changed to something new just as the child’s attention was about to wander. I came to the conclusion that ads “worked” for kids precisely because they are short, with lots of fast action and movement.