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What Infomercial Ads REALLY Mean

Updated on December 31, 2013
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing online for over 8 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—anything from hamsters to office work.

Watching TV at the Crack of Dawn

Are you watching television during the strangest hours? Are you up too late at night or too early in the morning? Chances are, you have stumbled upon some infomercials. Maybe some might even seem appealing to you. Who doesn't want to lose weight, have clear skin, wear jeans that feel like pajamas, find a comfy bra, cook an amazing meal, and get rid of those dark circles? Have you ever wondered what the infomercials are really trying to tell you? I am here to help you figure out what infomercials really mean.

Each infomercial has its own style, yet each are similar in a sense. They want to sell you a product that, in all honesty, you probably really do not need. Infomercials try to convince you that your life will not be the same without that pasta maker or bra, but if you have lived this long without those items, I assure you, you probably still don't need them. Let's explore the meaning behind some popular infomercial phrases and gimmicks.

Free Trial - You Pay Shipping and Handling Charges

A free trial! Really? That sounds too good to be true. Well, that is only because it probably is too good to be true. Eventually, you are going to have to pay in some way. Those shipping and handling charges in the small type of the bottom on the screen? They are probably going to be outrageous. That free trial? Do you have to give them a credit card over the phone? Oh, it is not going to be free.

They are probably going to give you some type of subscription and automatically charge the card if you do not cancel. Always ask about that. Maybe they will give you a large amount of whatever you are buying and then charge you if you do not send it back after 30 days. Always ask what all of the conditions are for this order before you process it. Trust no one!

Highly Skilled Customer Service Reps are Waiting to Assist You

Or are the waiting to try to talk me into more items I do not need? Oh wait, yeah, that is what they are really standing by to do. The customer service representatives have been trained to ask leading questions and encourage you to buy more than necessary. If you get an associate on the phone who is not too pushy, you are lucky. Chances are, she or he is not doing the job the way the company has specified.

Never give more information than needed on the phone. When the sales person on the phone determines your "weak spot," he or she is going to tear into you and try to convince you to buy even more items. If you are not careful, you will find you have bought 3 times what you intended to buy by the time you hang up that phone.


Buy One Get One Free

What a great deal! If I buy one item, I can get one free? Wait, but there's more! If I dial now, I can even get another item free! That is amazing. Sign me up. Hey, wait a minute... what is this stuff actually worth?

You know how much the items are worth? When you buy your one item and get two free, divide the total paid by three. When you have the answer, you will know the true value of just one of the items. Honestly, it probably is not even worth that much. If you are paying $20, it is probably worth about 5 bucks, if that. Sorry!

They purposely overprice this stuff just so they can make you feel special about this "one time only" deal. However, whenever you turn in, I'll bet that one time only offer is repeated plenty of times. Now, do you still feel special? Probably not.

If You Call Within the Next Hour, You Will Get a Bonus

I will bet there is an infomercial playing all the time somewhere at any given time. If you call at any time, I am pretty sure they will give you the deal. I mean, seriously, are they going to lose a sale? This is just another gimmick so you will call as soon as possible. So don't buy into it. Call them when you feel like it and insist on the bonus deal.

Do you realize while you were reading this you missed an opportunity to call and get some random infomercial stuff? Remember... supplies are going fast! Don't let me stop you. Oh wait, but I am sure you don't want it now anyway... right?

As Seen On TV

Have you ever bought anything from an infomercial?

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Submit a Comment
  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    I think it depends on the company. My mother once took part in a deal like that, and they did want both products back. I think some companies are all about better customer service now, so I would suspect some let you keep the 2nd product. Good luck!

  • Tamara Lea profile image

    Tamara Lea 

    5 years ago

    Because I have never bought anything from TV..... (Shocker, I know!) when they offer the free item (plus the S&H); If you return the paid item, do you return the free item too, or are you able to actually keep it for free?

    I was curious, because I thought about buying Haute Polish, however I've been through buying items before and returning them, but never from TV and nothing was ever free.



    Just looking for info from people that have purchased from the TV infomercial world.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    I have also been tricked into buying something off the TV a time or two myself. I think we've all been there. Not all of the products are terrible, but most are not great.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • Moon Daisy profile image

    Moon Daisy 

    5 years ago from London

    Great hub! I hate infomercials, you can just tell that those people are trying to screw you over! They're just too "perfect" and what you're saying sounds so insincere it's laughable.

    I fell for it once and bought a steam cleaner after watching the infomercial for it, (although I bought it from a shop, not from the TV - scared me too much!), but you know that it was rubbish. Water leaked everywhere. All these things turn out to be sub-standard and completely cheaply made, I'm sure.

    I especially hate/(but like - in an ironic way) the ones where famous celebrities go on there to "endorse" the product - you know they're so desperate for cash that they're actually selling their soul. That's real car-crash viewing.

    Sometimes I catch one by accident and it's somehow just so fascinating for me that I keep watching it, and although I really want to turn to a real channel with a real programme on, I just have to keep watching...

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thanks for the comment. And yes, they can definitely convince you to spend when you should not.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    This is so true, I too have been sucked in by the temptations form infomercials and there is always a catch. Great hub! Here are some other interesting ideas. You wont regret it...visit

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Yes, there is always a catch. :-) Thanks!

  • Cantuhearmescream profile image


    6 years ago from New York


    I have to admit some of those exercise infomercials make me feel guilty about the row of oreos I'm working on... :-)

    Some of these are just over the top, but others are pretty good at what they do and they talk with such excitement that they almost have me buying into it... but if they're a paid programming, late at night... there's a catch, there always is... and you can usually find it in the small print or the "wait there's more" as you mentioned. Great hub, really

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    FlourishAnyway - I've seen that cake pan. I have to admit, it looks pretty cool. Thanks for you comment!

    Cantuhearmescream - I end up watching them sometimes, too. The workout DVDs and exercise equipment always looks so appealing. And I still kind of want Pajama Jeans. Thanks for the votes!

  • Cantuhearmescream profile image


    6 years ago from New York


    This is too funny. You know what I don't understand; how do I end up on an infomercial and why don't I change it? I think they're all stupid and they're all gimmicks but somehow I get sucked in to at least listening to their pitch for 10 minutes.

    Gotta love that "just pay separate process and handling" sure, free is great but $19.99 in charges isn't exactly free is it? And how many Perfect Pancake Makers does one person need?

    Voted up and Funny


  • FlourishAnyway profile image


    6 years ago from USA

    I have the cake pan that lets you make checkerboard cakes (like chocolate and vanilla checkerboard).

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    8 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Yes, I suppose there must be people ordering those products. I guess I can see the appeal of just leaning over, grabbing your phone, and ordering a product. There is something to be said for never leaving your couch. Thanks for the comment!

  • Mr. Happy profile image

    Mr. Happy 

    8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    These things (the infomercials) must work (as in people must pay for the garbage they are offered) because I keep seeing the same ones over and over while flipping through channels at unorthodox hours. If nobody would buy all the useless stuff advertised then, perhaps we would have less of them.

    I know a few people who got suckered in bad deals from television infomercials. Can it become an addiction too, maybe?

    Very good blog. Cheers for writing it!

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    8 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    That is so true. Free stuff really does distract a customer from the crappy other stuff they are actually buying. I cannot imagine it was fun selling encyclopedias door to door. Isn't it funny sometimes to look back on past jobs and think, "How did I ever do that?" Thanks for the comment and the vote up!

  • Cogerson profile image


    8 years ago from Virginia

    Great hub....great advice to follow....when I was working my way through college....I actually sold encyclopedias door to door...the lessons I learned in selling encyclopedias...can be seen on the infomercials....the free stuff is just to take your mind away from the fact that the main item you are getting free stuff....which makes the crappy stuff look better....voted up and useful

  • Jeannieinabottle profile imageAUTHOR

    Jeannie Marie 

    8 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    I am glad you enjoyed the hub. I can't believe the crazy infomercials I've seen recently. I had to write this after seeing the Ahhh Bra. They offer to send you 6 bras for the price of one! But the price of one is $60 plus you must pay separate shipping and handling for each one. I am pretty sure in the end you pay more than the 6 bras are worth. At any rate, that was my inspiration.

    That brownie pan does look pretty nice. I have those green bowls that are supposed to keep your food fresh for like... forever. They are pretty nice, too, but I did not order those from the TV either.

    Thank you for the comment!

  • nycgrl profile image


    8 years ago from New York

    hahaha too funny...working in marketing for the last 6 years I know all of these gimmicks so I never fall for them...however its funny that you mention the perfect brownie pan because I did buy that. But I bought it at Target with a coupon just this year after all the hype. And it does actually make awesome brownies I must say.


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