Admit it. Just be honest. I won’t judge…

But you have either sat at the edge of your seat in anticipation – OR (more likely) you have actually succumbed to the dark forces of the infomercial.

It’s OK. We’ve all been there.

Infomercials – which we all know and mock – are an incredibly powerful and profitable form of communication.

Why? Because if you didn’t buy whatever the pitchman or pitchwoman was selling (but so many of us do buy), at the very least, you remember what was being sold – thus the jokes. Hilarious. All fun and games but those pitchmen know if you don’t buy the first time you see it, they can and will wear you down. And more likely than not, you will buy…or be seriously conflicted that you did not. Then the joke’s on you.

did this happen? The infomercial, when done to perfection, takes its sales pitch and superglues it to your brain. It is the ultimate in sticky information. You literally can’t get it out of your head. And once there, you are much more likely to buy.

Famous TV pitchman Billy Mays (may the big guy rest in peace) was a master of the infomercial. He was a legend in the industry. You may know Billy. He came to fame as the OxiClean guy (it looks like crude oil, add OxiClean and it suddenly looks like water! – buy this product!) and went on to amazing fame as a pitchman – to the point he had his own TV show about how he selected and pitched products on TV! If you have never seen it – Google “Billy Mays” – it’s an education in how sales happen.

is Billy Mays a legend? He knew how people make decisions.

Not to get too academic, but we make decisions in a certain area of our brain – the right side (or the right “hemisphere” for the smart kids) and it’s the side of our brain that can process contrast. To end the lesson, it’s also the part of the brain where we make decisions. But what is contrast?

Contrast is not the weird thing deep in your TV remote menu or the really important thing in your friend’s fancy camera lens…

Think of contrast this way…here are a few examples: “Right or wrong,” “Get busy living or get busy dying,” “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” “To be or not to be…”

Contrast is the black vs. white or old vs. new of a great pitch. It’s the heart of the infomercial. Fat you vs. Skinny you (buy the treadmill). Dirty house vs. Clean house (buy the vacuum). And we buy it. We get sold on and by contrast.

Don’t worry. It’s OK. If you ever had the urge, or actually bought that treadmill or 20 second ab wheel (I bought 2 generations of those), it’s because the pitches were in your head – or really your brain – specifically where your brain processes contrast and makes decisions.

Gotta go. I’m totally buying the FlexSeal Holiday package tonight. Who doesn’t want rubber in a CheezWiz can?! I can seal my entire house from leaks and get like 20 extra cans. Can you say ultimate stocking stuffer? You are welcome Dad. Happy Holidays.

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