The Power of Infomercials

Some people say that if you just keep saying the same message over and over people will eventually start to believe it. Just ask anyone who complains about people who watch the Fox News Channel or listen to any progressive radio station.

Those media outlets are geared toward people with a particular way of thinking. It’s all feeding the sheep what they want to hear and perhaps even using subliminal messages to help get their point across.

In some ways I suppose its similar to what they did at the movies years ago. There were some theaters who, in their quest for profits would splice in a split second of extra film into the main feature with an image of popcorn. Even though you were unaware of it, your brain had subconsciously picked up on that popcorn image and before too long you were making a bee-line for the concession stand because you suddenly had the urge to have some.

And please don’t get me started about the splicing use in the movie “Fight Club”.

I like to think that for the most part people are pretty smart in making up their minds over who to vote for or whether or not to eat popcorn. My problem with what I like to call “influential media” is that it can not only lean our decision-making in one direction or the other but it can also bankrupt us as well.


There comes a time, usually in the middle of the night if you really want to know, when the mind really does become susceptible to the influence of messages made on television. And these messages don’t come from a political news network. They come in the form of advertising. Those late-night infomercials that peddle everything from exercise programs to space-age blenders.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many sleep deprived nights I’ve spent perusing the channels in a desperate search for a Three Stooges or MASH marathon but instead come across the P90x infomercial. Even though I had seen the entire thing dozens of times and could mimic Tony Horton’s every word, I still had to watch.

So there I was, sitting like a lazy log on the sofa with blood-shot eyes very much pissed that I was going to be useless at work the next morning but parroting every line: “This ain’t no aerobics class from the seventies”….”Do your best and forget the rest!”…

Now I consider myself to be in reasonable shape. I eat right and exercise regularly but still, had a laptop with an internet connection and my credit card been within arm’s reach I may have pulled the trigger right then.

The images I saw: the ripped abs…the sculpted shoulders. I could look that way! And in only ninety days!

That program was immediately followed by an hour-long Montel Williams “special” on the benefits of juicing. Of course, using the only machine he’s found to do the job right.  And one which coincidentally bears his name.

Hmmmm? Exercise AND juicing… The perfect combination. Now this was getting very tempting. I quickly surmised that for both items it would “only” cost me around $400. But I could always use their “easy” payment plan!

Once Montel gave me my final chance to “call now” the urge became too great. I began to reach for the credit card but that’s when something amazing happened. The crazy guy who peddles pillows came on the screen. Now who would ever have thought to do a half-hour commercial just to sell a pillow?

I began watching people sleeping using his soft, comfortable, cool pillow.

God bless the pillow man. His schtick put me to sleep within fifteen minutes and saved me a bundle.

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