Does the mention of success in Dragon's Den/Shark Tank make you want to buy a product?

I occasionally see products advertised online in social media etc with words to the effect ‘a BBC Dragon’s Den
Success!’ somewhere in the text or image. I think this is supposed to encourage me to buy the product. I sort of feel like it does the opposite.

Now, sure, of course if the product is being advertised for sale, then the business is probably not like the embarrassing failure cases we see on the show, where the product is just stupid, or the business itself is not viable, or the people presenting the idea are nutcases, but…

In order for a product to win backing on these shows, I feel like it generally means:

  • it has failed to raise capital by other methods
  • there is a huge and attractive profit margin that got the investors on board (which means the product is possibly overpriced for what it is)
  • the business owners almost certainly gave away a larger share of their business than they hoped to (because that nearly always happens)

Taken together, this doesn’t inspire me to buy the product. I think it actually puts me off a bit.

What say you?

I’m not influenced either way. I am interested in the product if it specifically looks like a thing I need.

The commercial success of the company behind it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with whether or not I could use the product. Companies are highly successful that sells things I don’t want, and a company can be unsuccessful for reasons totally unrelated to the quality of the product.

Indeed, that’s kind of the show’s theme, if it has one; for the most part the people who fail to get deals are focused on the PRODUCT, and fail to present evidence of a BUSINESS.

Generally no for me, but that’s because “as seen on Shark Tank” is just a slightly fancier way of saying “as seen on TV”, and I buy very little in that advertising niche.

Yeah, I guess. I think this case feels (to me) more like it’s saying ‘As rescued from bankruptcy on TV’

At best it’s predatory lending. that said they do have a few success stories.


It is barely different from “This product attracted investment from people who think it will create a profit for them”. And things being in a store kind of does that without the “was on Shark Tank” label anyway.

The one thing I could se it doing is catching my attention and making me curious, when I would have otherwise just passed it by. But, even only knowing the concepts of those shows, it would mean I’d be more on guard than I would be with another item.

“As seen on TV” works better, in that I may have actually seen in on TV, and been curious about it. Seeing that label means I know it’s the version from the commercial. And it’s usually cheaper, if only due to no shipping and handling. So I have wound up trying a few out.

Though what has really worked more recently is seeing people online who I trust review the product. I won’t ever just go out and order it from that, but I might pick it up if I see it around.

My wife and I enjoy watching Shark Tank, especially the reruns, to see if the businesses are still in business. We have made 2 purchases from these searches, some clothing my wife found “extremely cute” for our new great granddaughter that is due in November and an insulated mug that works perfectly as described. My take from watching the older shows is that a surprising number that do get investors but do not stay in business for very long. Mark Cuban has the most of these, I believe his method is to invest to fluff up the business then sell it to someone else making him and the entrepreneur money.

It neither attracts nor turns me off. I’ve seen every Shark Tank episode, so I know then if a product looks like something I’d want to try or not. And I have gone out and bought several things I’ve seen, usually food items that look good. Seeing it later advertised in store doesn’t make me feel anything.

The couple of times I’ve run across products online that said they were backed by a Shark Tank investor, I immediately Googled “(product name) complaints.” There were a few customers who said the product worked, but many, many more who said it didn’t, and the customers who wanted to return the product were having a hard time getting their money back.

I do this pretty much anytime I want to make a purchase that’s more than $20-$30. I want to know if the product is any good and what the customer service is like.

I think these are often quite true, though not always. The other side of the coin is that mainstream financiers often overlook promising ventures due to lack of imagination or unwillingness to take risks. I don’t know what percentage of Dragon-backed ventures are big successes, but certainly many have been, with success stories frequently showcased on Dragon’s Den.

These factors don’t sway me one way or another. Like others, I’ll buy something only if I feel I need it. The only thing I’ve ever bought that appeared on the program is “Walter” brand Caesar mix (named after Walter Chell, the inventor of Canada’s favourite drink) because I love Caesars and had to try it.

The Dragons judged it very good and decided to back the entrepreneurs. They were right, it is good. But what they apparently liked even more was the terrific profit margin. Standard Mott’s clamato sells for around $3.49 for a giant 1.89 litre jug. Walter is priced at around $6.49 for a bottle half the size. This works out to 18 cents per 100 ml for Mott’s, and 69 cents per 100 ml for Walter, so you’re paying nearly four times the price for something that is little more than clamato with a blend of standard Caesar spices. Eventually I stopped buying it because it’s just overpriced, much as suggested by the quote above. But they’re still in business years later, so the value proposition must work for some.

I’m in the UK, so have watched a lot of Dragon’s Den.
Although the investors are attracted by profit margins, they are more interested in increasing sales (by advising on better marketing + entering new areas.) The investors can also ‘open doors’ with their contacts and experience.
Yes, the entrepreneurs are after funding, but also the benefit of having a millionaire investor backing them . And giving away a larger % of the business is well worth doing if the Dragon massively increases the business.

Now that I think about it, the only product I’ve ever bought BECAUSE I saw it on Shark Tank (or the Canadian version, Dragons’ Den) was Potato Parcel. It’s literally a service where they send someone a custom message printed on a potato. I sent my sister a potato with an image of the inside of my nose printed on it. The company’s owners literally came to Shark Tank dressed as potatoes.

Now, you might think that’s the dumbest goddamn idea you’re ever heard of, but they got a deal, 'cause they had a very profitable business. Kevin O’Leary bought in and they’ve been even more wildly successful. So it worked on me.

I watch clips of the British Dragon’s Den on Youtube.

Not all business owners need money. Some need networking partners. Networking can go a LONG way towards increasing sales. The Dragons are prominent business people. They know other prominent business people on a personal level.

Let’s say that you’ve invented some product, and you’re hoping to get it into Target. Can you ring up the retail buyer at Target, and get an appointment? Almost certainly not. But if you can persuade a well-known millionaire to partner with you, that person will quite likely either know the retail buyer, or will know someone who knows the buyer.

Some of the people who appear on Dragon’s Den explicitly say that they decided to pitch to the Dragons, rather than a run-of-the-mill investor, precisely for that networking advantage.

“As seen on TV” stores is a little logo that means “we paid to advertise it somewhere else”. Interestingly enough, it’s one of the few phrases that means the exact same thing in both Swahili & Latin - “This product is utter crap”

Also, any infomerical extended-length commercial that goes into the TV guide with a name rather than Paid Program is being deceptive right from the get-go.

In the real world, it would be months between a deal being made & you actually seeing the product in the store. Given that The Apprentice was basically a paid program for whatever product they were shilling creating a ‘marketing plan’ for that week & that ‘monetize’ (Gawd, I hate that word) is a word; I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see what ever product made a deal this week to be in stores next week to capitalize on the show’s publicity. For anyone who watches it regularly what is the real time to market for products that appear this week?

I’ve never seen an “as seen on TV” product that didn’t take months to come out in stores after it first was advertised on TV. So that seems to line up.

A guy on YouTube reviews the products, and they are indeed mostly crap. But occasionally he finds one that does what it says. And it seems like it’s always the one he found in shops, not the ones he ordered.