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 shape. 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 product. 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. Reflection 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 style. 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.