Ever came across long ads on TV about gyms, kitchen appliances or quirky home decor at midnight? Many TV channels air these commercials post-midnight as an additional source of income by selling ad space. These ad-like shows are infomercial examples and a great channel for capturing audiences across demographics. They help you build brand awareness at scale.
Today, as we embrace digitization, these infomercials are seen across video platforms lasting for only 3-5 mins.
In this article, we will explain what an infomercial is as a channel of advertisement, share infomercial examples and also show you how to write an infomercial script.
What is an Infomercial?
Infomercials fall under the long-form video format which explains a product or concept in a detailed and entertaining way. During the prime time of television, infomercials lasted about 20-30 minutes without any breaks.
Today, infomercials usually last 3 to 30 mins depending on where it is aired. On YouTube, generally, the infomercials are 3-10 mins long. While on television, late-night infomercial ads can go beyond 30 mins.
Here’s an infomercial example themed on climate change –
What is an infomercial advertisement?
When an infomercial is specifically made to sell products, it falls under the infomercial category of advertisement. Dietary products, health supplements, and kitchen or home appliances are popularly sold in this format of the ad. These ads usually include a toll-free number for advertisers to quickly book an order.
Here’s a playlist of food products-based infomercial examples –
Infomercial v/s Commercial ads
A commercial usually lasts 10-30 seconds and is aired between TV shows. YouTube ads that are shown before you watch a video also fall under commercials. While an infomercial is aired without any breaks lasting for as long as 60 minutes.
How long is a short infomercial?
Short infomercials are about 2-3 minutes long and suitable for Youtube videos, Instagram reels or ads across digital platforms. These are designed to be reusable across platforms and seasons.
What makes an effective and successful infomercial?
A well-made infomercial will have the following characteristics:
Immediately catches your attention
A good storyline such that you stay tuned till the end
Will showcase the problem faced by consumers in a relatable and straightforward way
Emphasizes how their product truly solves your problem
Gives a good demo of the product
Follows a full sales cycle within the duration of the infomercial
Includes an unbelievable offer on the product
A call to action that induces a sense of urgency
A successful infomercial is memorable enough to form an impression on the viewer and make an immediate purchase.
How do you write an infomercial script?
Today’s generation will not easily respond to the sketchy infomercials you saw decades back in the early 1990s or 2000s. For a generation with less attention span, you must get creative and know what ticks them. They expect good video quality and being tech-savvy means they require more convincing.
In the internet era, many ads either get ridiculed via memes, protested or become viral. Usually, either way, you get publicity.
In this section, we briefly explain to you how to write an engaging infomercial –
Step–1: Draft the infomercial concept
To build a concept, you start by answering the below questions –
What problem does your product solve?
Which target user do you want to show in the infomercial ad?
How does your target user perceive the problem? How do they describe it?
What message do you want to communicate?
What makes your product unique?
Who competes with your product?
What offer do you want to give your potential customers?
What is your budget? This generally is a key factor to know the length of the ad in the video creation business
Step–2: Write the infomercial script outline
Hire a professional video or ad script writer or an agency and share the answers in Step–1 as the brief with them. They will help you craft scenes, write dialogues, hire actors, and direct the infomercial.
Usually, infomercials have the following general ‘hero-villain’ outline. Here’s how you will write one for a vacuum cleaner brand –
Problem: Buildd a scene where the characters face the problem of manually cleaning the house. You can show how the husband or wife has to multitask at the same time with kids running around. Overall, create a relatable and slightly exaggerated scene to hit the sentiments of the viewer.
Solution: Showcase how your vacuum cleaner seamlessly cleans difficult areas of the house. Showcase its special technical features and product attributes that make it an appealing solution.
Win trust: Share why your vacuum cleaner comes from a trusted brand. Showcase customer testimonials with before-after scenes. Ensure the people who share testimonials cover your user personas and product use cases.
Call To Action: State your offer and create a sense of urgency. You can ask them to visit your website, scan the QR code or call on a toll-free number to book the vacuum cleaner.
Keep editing the script till you reach a point of consensus and creative satisfaction.
Step–3: Shoot the infomercial video
You can either shoot the infomercial live or record the video and premier it as an advert. Live infomercials require practice and a dedicated host. You can even take questions live from the viewers by asking them to call you. Viewer interaction improves engagement and trust.
While if you’re going to shoot, record and upload the infomercial, then ensure its content is reusable. Your script shouldn’t have content that is seasonal or specific to events.
How to write a one-minute infomercial?
One-minute infomercials are like elevator pitches. You need to highlight the problem, state the solution and why people should choose your solution within a minute. The key to a good one-minute infomercial is to keep it clear, short and without any jargon.
15 successful infomercial examples for inspiration
In this section, we list some of the best infomercial examples that will help you understand them better. You can observe them in terms of how they present their problem, connect their product as a solution and call to action.
One of the most popular infomercial examples out there was produced by Harmon Brothers. It instantly shot the toilet startup to success. If you read the YouTube comments, people praise the actors, the science behind the product and how funny it is to watch. It explains a health concept in easy-to-understand language and animation. This 3 mins ad received 66 million views within 4 months of its launch.
The Palace ad is one of the infomercial examples that breaks the ad-making rules. It includes bad acting, poor animations and backgrounds – everything that’s undesirable. It indeed stands out as its effective infomercial, taking the viewer of this generation by surprise. Many major media publications like Forbes, Adweek, and Fast Company covered the ad.
This single ad generated eight-figure sales and 834k views for the NERD Skincare brand. The quirky and funny nature of the ad was unseen in the beauty industry, which constantly focused on delicate messaging. The simple explanation in the ad also makes it easy to understand.
The Magic Bullet
Many home appliance brands use infomercial advertisements to reach their target audience. The Magic Bullet ad is a typical example that generated billions in sales for the brand. They talk about recipes and changes in lifestyle one experiences on using this blender. This makes it relatable and aspirational for its target audience.
One of the unique infomercial examples includes an ad by Purple Mattresses. It starts with an unusual experiment of knowing bed standards using raw eggs. With a catchy start, it progresses towards the pain point of not having many choices in mattresses and brings in its product. It also gets some inspiration from Goldilocks with its dialogues and costumes.
With a unique product of an oversized blanket with sleeves, The Snuggie hits the trivial problem of blankets being too big to maintain while watching TV. Or, not being sufficiently long enough, hence exposing hands. The product’s weirdness makes it a must-watch among infomercial examples. Today, many influencers across social media, celebrities and YouTubers enjoy showing off their Snuggies and walking around in those red cloaks.
Among some unique infomercial examples, this one shows how to sell a simple wrapping paper. It starts with a messy problem scenario about the tangling of wrapping papers. It presents its solution in 3 simple steps, namely, Pull, Press and Wrap. This makes it easy to digest and remember. It is a simple ad that focuses on being clear and useful to its viewers.
Chatbooks brings in one of its user personas, a working mother with 3 kids to bring in the relatability and struggle. It uses storytelling to present its photo printing company seamlessly. The ad has garnered a whopping 7.8 million views till now.
GE takes a hand at infomercials, where it sells its LED light bulbs for this ad. It gets into elite aesthetics starring actor Jeff Goldblum. The infomercial explains how the light bulb works, how to install it and how to maintain it. It also tries to justify its pricing and features with a simple comparison to real-life examples.
Ronco GLH Formula Spray-on Hair
Nobody likes losing their hair, and this infomercial knows it well. The Ronco Formula Spray is a bizarre product that convincingly explains how it helps you grow your hair back. It uses both men and women as the target audience and shows how it covers bald spots. Watch it to know how to craft demos and testimonials from users.
Slap Chop guy or Vince Offer presents this chopper product as a stress buster to have a good day! It's a typical fast infomercial you see post-midnight on TVs with continuous demos and showcasing of features in action. Notice how each action creates a ‘wow’ experience as he demos his product.
Setting the temperature of the bedroom is always a fight when you’re sharing a room. This infomercial is funny and stresses the problem of maintaining temperature while sleeping and plugs in its heating and cooling system for the bed. It seems overdone in some places, so watch it to know how to balance your content. It has 360k views on YouTube alone.
This infomercial of Jiffy Fries is a typical infomercial with a problem-solution-demo presentation. You can view this to check out how they have included their brand name ‘Jiffy’ across the storyline. It also presents various scenarios where fries go in to make it more relatable.
Speaking about your product and the problems it solves isn’t enough. How does your product fare against what users already use to solve the problem? Why should they choose your solution? Watch this infomercial to understand how to present your product in comparison to potential existing solutions customer use.
Heinz with Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran with his usual charisma simply states his fine dining experience in a ‘fancy’ restaurant. It’s funny as it mocks the whole fine-dine experience as Ed seamlessly brings in Heinz ketchup to ‘complete’ his served food. This infomercial is only 1 min. It’s among those infomercial examples that show how to present the experience your product promises without focusing too much on the details of features. The ad has 7.6 million views!
You can explore more such ads available as playlists on YouTube to get into the rabbit hole of infomercials. Do watch the ones from the 1990s to get an idea of how times have changed. The greatest ads with the most ROI have always managed to take the viewer by surprise and then convince them about how their product improves their life.