Infomercial Personalities.

John Basedow. Billy Mays. That… uh, that guy with the accent who sells floorsweepers and electric flossers. Even (CASH NOW!!!) J. G. WENTWORTH!!!

Infomercials. I don’t know what’s happening to me, but I’m becoming absolutely fascinated with these people, and as it’s mundane and pointless, I have to share it with you all.

From the freakish mismatch of (“fitness personality”) John Basedow’s head to his body to Billy Mays’s shouted rhymes ("…big or small, Placebo does it all!"), there’s just something about them that draws me in. And it’s not just the strange charisma of the presenters, though they’re certainly the big draw–it’s the overall marketing strategy. The people doing things “the old-fashioned” way who manage to klutz up the simplest tasks; the matching of the cheezy music to the action, the digitally edited sparkles, the marketing gimmicks ("…but for a limited time, you can get not one, but three of our Widgets, plus this amazing Other Product, for the low, low price of only 29.95! That’s a $723.49 value!").

I haven’t started intentionally watching the full 30-min infomercials… yet. But that day may be coming.

(There’s one significant counter-example to this general fascination: That jerk who does the ‘Video Professor’ commercials. How many times can you use the word “product” in a single sentence? Besides which, he doesn’t have people flubbing up their computers before they discover his CDs. Sparks and smoke would be a nice touch…)

You have to hand it to people who can create a 1/2 hour commercial for a vacuum cleaner, or food chopper that people will watch in favor to what is on the other 100 or so channels. Definitely requires some charisma.

That doesn’t explain Mike Levey. The guy and his “Amazing Discoveries” were an unmitigated success but he had the personality and acting skills of damp toast. Then again, maybe he was successful because he was a tool. He was kinda like Joe Geek of the infomercial circuit, which somehow humanized him.

I was watching one for 15 minutes about an electric carving knife. They had me at the first scene, where they cut a frozen pizza in one swish and likewise a whole roasted chicken.
After 15 minutes of not telling me the price, yet repeating some demonstrations for the third time, I turned them off and went to the web, found their site via [] and ordered two, one as a present.

Some salesmen never know when to stop selling and write up the order.