With its name derived from words ‘information’ and ‘commercial’, infomercial may be defined as a television form, type of commercial which also offers viewer certain information. It is mostly from 15 to 30 minutes long and it is often designed in such a way that it looks like informative TV program. Because it lasts longer than usual commercials, there’s plenty of time to catch viewers’ attention and offer them insights.
Infomercial doesn’t try to cover that it is promoting something. It is a legit form of commercial. However, some infomercials try to make the customer forget what he’s actually watching by making it look like an interview, talk show, footage from the local promotion etc.
The information part can’t be expected to be highly educative and engaging. The goal that needs to be achieved is to give people knowledge about the problem they are having and the solution that the product from the infomercial offers. The topic is usually simple and the approach is subjective.
Storytelling is a very powerful marketing tool. The creators of infomercials remembered that at some point and decided to try merging those two. That phenomenon has its own name now, ‘storymercials’, and it represents story-based infomercial scripts that have the goal to engage customers in a natural way.
Some of the tactics often used in infomercials in order to sell the product are:
catchphrases – they may seem funny, sometimes even dumb, but everybody remembers them;
repeating the essence – basic ideas are being said over and over again, until they start to sound like catchphrases;
guest celebrities – people just like them on TV, doing random stuff; having celebrities certainly makes the numbers get higher;
guest‘experts’ – even if there is a doubt about their competence, people just seem to trust them; the logic is simple: if science says it’s good, it must be worthy;
limited time offers – creating time pressure turned out to be a successful tactic; if left with a time to think, people may decide they don’t need the product;
unique TV offers – or ‘not sold in store’ tactic; it shows that the offer really is unique and that there is no way to find the product somewhere else; that implies that no better price can’t be found, either.