I was up the other night unable to sleep. It happens. Not often, but enough to know that late night television is jammed with 30-minute infomercials. Celebrity promos encouraging us to purchase all sorts of products. From Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty (let’s just agree the woman is gorgeous and even after 30 years she looks practically the same) to Leandro Carvalho’s (I have no idea who he is but he’s very enthusiastic) Brazilian Butt Lift, which finally answers that burning question of why everyone from Brazil has such a firm hiney.
In 1990, before anyone ever heard the name Kardashian, I purchased a mini stair stepper promoted by Bruce Jenner. It looked like a wonderful piece of exercise equipment and sure enough, I stepped my way to the nightly news for three weeks until it started to leak grease all over my carpet. By then, the little stepper was making a high-pitched, whining noise. It sounded like I was killing a cat. I wrote Bruce an angry letter complaining about the poorly built stepper and wondered how an Olympian could ever promote such a piece of junk. Needless to say, he never wrote back. As I learned later, his wife Kris had negotiated the deal. So, in a way, I was an early-adopter of the Kardashian business model. No comment.
Next, I fell victim to a very senior Hugh Downs. This was well after his retirement from the prime time news magazine 20/20. He was promoting a two-volume edition of alternative medical treatments. The pitch: cures the pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to know. As a healthcare administrator and part-time hypochondriac, I couldn’t resist. At 2:00 a.m., I placed my order. When the books arrived, they were essentially bundled scientific research papers. Pretty much unreadable to even a guy who had a B.A. in Biology.
Clearly, our defenses are down when we can’t sleep. Lately, I’ve found myself mesmerized by the ads promoting prostate health (it’s my age), the perfect cup of coffee (single serving vs. full pot), and age spots (I don’t have them, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from being concerned). I miss the days of Bowflex and Richard Simmons when the infomercials were awe-inspiring and entertaining. And though I love Valerie Bertinelli—I’m not sure listening to her marvel at how manageable her hair is with WEN is quite up to the same standard. But still, I sit and watch, all the while wondering if infomercials will someday be the only source of information for our buying decisions. It could happen. Just consult George Orwell or Ray Bradbury. Better yet, watch Youtube.
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.