By Zoe Samuel on March 18, 2018
Infomercials are the evolution of the pitch, an age-old practice in retail. Pitchmen used to cruise boardwalks, putting on shows where they would sell items like potato peelers for what seemed like nothing, but was in fact a 10,000% markup. Pitchmen started out selling snake oil, but as cheap manufacturing developed, some of their products became useful things. Some of these were such good sellers that producing a TV show about the product suddenly became worthwhile.
Late night television used to be a time for stations to broadcast a test signal and send their engineers home to sleep. Today, late night TV is dominated by pitchmen and women hawking everything from products to fix a cracked windshield to products that promise fitness without the effort and sweat of going to the gym. Infomercials themselves can be entertaining, and icons like Billy Mays and Vince Shlomi made their names selling products like the Shamwow and Oxiclean, both of which graduated from TV-only sales to stores across America.
Did you tune out the infomercials or did you sit on the edge of your Ab Rocket, wrapped in your Slanket, eager to hear every word? Could you recognize a product from just one major hint? Are you an infomercial expert? Put all those late night TV sessions to use and take this quiz.