Anthony Jabbour Prof. Luke Thominet English 1020 Infomercial

Anthony Jabbour
Prof. Luke Thominet
English 1020
Infomercial: Genre Critique
You are sitting down on your couch, it is late at night and nothings on television.
As you flick thru the channels the only thing that seems to pop up are infomercials.
Everyone has sat and watched an infomercial maybe out of curiosity; boredom or perhaps
we found ourselves relating to the product being advertised. In this genre critique I will
discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the strategies they use to draw people into their
infomercials, the few weaknesses that it has holds it back from being effective because
they cause people to not be interested in them.
What is an in infomercial? It is basically a glorified commercial of a new product
that ‘promises’ to do something that other products do not. It is typically long and
dragged out anywhere from 15- 30 minutes. Infomercials are a nice way to show your
product off, and how it has helped people or made their lives easier. With all this time its
advertisers can say almost anything they want and apply it to any scenario. With all the
scenarios throughout the commercial, chances are one of them is appealing to its viewers.
There are many different products that have infomercials. The most common
usually fall under the fitness category, (i.e. the Shake Weight, P90x, and the Iron Gym
pull up bar). Infomercials usually try to target a need or desire one might have. The thing
that all these things have in common is they are all exercise equipment and a lot of people
have the desire to lose weight. This is why they are the most popular advertised
infomercials because when people see them and see what they do they want to buy
because they believe it will help change their life.
Let us take infomercial for example. We have all been laying down watching
television when we see that appealing P90X commercial. Someone is trying to lose
weight by dieting, going to the gym, and running. It shows how none of this is working
and the person is frustrated because of this. When showing this part of the infomercial it
is usually in black and white to make you think that this is old and not a smart method.
They will also put big red x’s on the things that the person is doing to show that the
person is doing it all wrong. This is attractive to audiences that are working out a lot and
still haven’t been getting results. Mainly the targeted audience is older people because
there are way more adults that try to lose weight then there are young adults.
After they show different scenarios where people are trying to do something and
failing to do it, they introduce their product. The way they introduce their product is
pretty smart. They show it to you in color to paint the illusion that this is the new
improved way to do what you are trying to achieve. In contrast to the previous method
shown in black and white images. They throw in a little color and excitement at you to
show that their product will bring about better results. This is great strength of
infomercials because most of the time their product is better and presents a better or
easier way to accomplish a task you are trying to do.
An example of this would be in the Shake Weight commercial it shows people
doing curls in black and white; the guy is frustrated because he’s not getting results. After
they turn the screen back to color and show a muscular man happy and getting results
from using the Shake Weight. This is directed at audiences who are trying to lose weight
but are at home watching television instead, the product tries to motivate people to get up
and work out. While doing this they are promoting health and fitness.
After they introduce their product they usually have some good-looking guy or
girl be the host of the product and talk about it. For infomercials about fitness products
such as the Perfect Pushup, they have an ex marine and a ripped guy using the Perfect
Pushup to show that this man is ripped from using it. When people see this ripped man
using the product they think to themselves, “Well if it worked for him it must work for
me.” They don’t just show a ripped guy; once they have your attention because the guy is
attractive and physically fit they bring in an attractive girl using the product who is also
in great physical shape. This is a great strength of infomercials because they can use
people to trick people into thinking that this is how the people in the infomercial got in
The next step in infomercials is one of the most important parts. They appeal to
their viewers on a personal level. They show normal people like you and I who have
struggled with doing something. Then the person who was struggling talks about how the
product in the infomercial has helped them in someway, changed their life, or made a
task a lot easier. The people always look really happy and have great things to say about.
They almost always talk about how its different from other products.
An example of this would be in the Proactive infomercials it shows teenagers and
adults who people can relate too. It shows them with a lot of acne on their face and then
shows a picture of after they used Proactive and the person has a clear and smooth face.
The people come on and talk about how gentile and how nice it was to use. They also go
on to talking about how much more happier they are and how much more confident they
are in themselves. Bringing in normal people like you and I to testify to the perks of a
product is a great method these commercials use. It gets its people watching feel the same
way that the person in the infomercial said they felt, and this makes them want to buy the
The boring part of the infomercial is next, this part talks about the science of the
product. Let us take Proactive for our example. In this part of the infomercial it talks
about what the product does and how it works. Getting all the dirt out, and gently
cleansing your skin and moisturizing it. They also talk about how acne is formed, while
doing all this they are showing you pictures. After they show you pictures of the acne and
how it forms they show you pictures of what happens when the Proactive starts to work.
This gets people to believe the product works because usually when they show this part
they have a doctor who explains it. After the doctor explains the process, he or she will
say that they recommend it to all their patients and that it works on great every time.
The same goes for a physical fitness product. They will show you how the
product works and how its working your muscles in different areas. They will also show
you the muscles you are working when working out a gym and the product will work
more muscles then your average lift at a gym. This shows the people how the product is a
better work out and that it is easier. An Example of this would be in the Shake Weight,
they show you that six minutes of using the Shake Weight works your biceps better then
doing 45 minutes of curls at the gym. When people see this they think that they should
get it because working out for six minutes sounds a lot better then working out for 45
minutes. This is a strength because it sounds easier and once they have a professional
explain how the product works the viewers are convinced that it works. Appealing to its
viewers through advertisement, pictures, and applying scenarios to relate to all are
strengths of infomercials.
As with anything that has strengths there are also weaknesses. In an infomercial
one weakness is that they usually are on late at night. The problem with this is that not
many people watch television late at night so there are a lot of missed viewers that could
be potential buyers. When they have them late at night it’s usually on a special channel
that is known for having infomercials late at night. This is a huge disadvantage because
don’t sit down and watch television and think, “I’m in the mood to watch some
infomercials.” The problem with this is that people will avoid that channel so they won’t
even see a glimpse of the product. If viewers completely avoid the channel they will
won’t even be exposed to the product being advertised.
Another weakness of infomercials is their length. Ranging between 15 to 30
minutes, it is grueling. Who wants to watch a 30-minute commercial? Most of them are
long and boring anyways so this is a major factor that makes people not want to watch
them. Also most people know that infomercials are just a bunch of garbage. You rarely
hear people talk about how they purchased something off an infomercial that they are
watching. This is a major weakness because once people get the idea in their head that
infomercials are nothing but lies then they will get no viewers. The last weakness of
infomercials is the fact that most of them are only in one language. This hurts them
because there is a large audience they are missing from just being in one language. They
could of made a lot more sales if they would of put their infomercial in Spanish or
another language.
There are many different strengths and weaknesses of infomercials. As you can
see they have many great ways to draw you in and trick you into thinking that their
product is the best. They also have great strengths that show you scenarios of their
product working and changing many peoples lives. They also have many weaknesses that
hurt them because it makes people not want to watch them like their long length.
Unfortunately the weaknesses really hold it back because everyone knows that no one
likes infomercials. This was everything you need to know about infomercials and I hope
you walked a way knowing a lot more then you did about them. We covered the strengths
and weaknesses of the genre, as well as the way set them up. I hope that now you can
pick up on the little tricks they use to draw you in and change your mind.
This paper was a lot different for me. I felt a lot more confident writing this paper,
partly due to the fact that I did so bad on my first paper and I’m trying really hard to
improve. I went in to the writing center for this paper just like the last one. The difference
between this one and the last one is that I really payed attention to the things that Matt
was saying. I compeletly changed my paper and rearranged it. He pointed out to me that
I was very repetitive in my rough draft and that I didn’t use enough examples.
I went through my paper and took out many lines that I didn’t need. Most of these
lines were unnecessary so I’m glad he pointed them out to me. I also am becoming better
at looking at little things to write these papers. I did a few things different for this paper.
I wrote my paper in a quite place and took my time with the paper and didn’t think about
how long it would take me to finish the paper. I payed more attention to my organization
of my paper as well. I believe that the way I organized my paper is good and makes
sense. I think that on this paper transitioned a lot better between paragraphs.
This topic was a lot easier for me to write about than the previous to papers. This
is because I could relate to infomercials a lot because I’ve seen them my whole life. With
the other papers I was new to writing analysis, I had never done a paper like that before
so I think I just had to cross that bridge and be opened to doing this new king of writing
This is my reflection on this paper. Overall I think I did a lot better on this paper
and I think that this is the best paper that I’ve written in this class so far.