July 14, 2005
And If You Call Now ...
Great Ask MeFi question: Why are infomercials so darn addictive?
Most of us have been pulled in by an early-morning infomercial at some point, right? I remember being up late one night as I was packing up my dorm room after my junior year in college, when the infomercial for Nads came on the TV. Drawn at first by my incredulity that anyone would actually name a product “Nads”, I quickly got sucked in by the fun Australian accents, the video (shown over and over) of a wife waxing her husband’s back hair, and the infectious exuberance of the product demonstrators. (“I got Nadded!” one of them squeals.)
One of the staged scenarios for the infomercial features a group of ladies cheerily talking eyebrow waxing over cocktails around a picnic table. One of them mentions that Nads is organic, and another wonders aloud what it would taste like. At that point the lead product demonstrator whips out a spoon, grins conspiratorially at her tablemates, and digs right in to the tub of bright green hair removal cream.
The next day, I was telling all my friends about this amazing show. Most of them couldn’t wait to see it, and one of them had caught it too. The next night, we waited for “Nads” to air again, and this time we were ready with a tape in the VCR. That summer, we watched “Nads” over and over. It was great.
To this day, when I see Nads available for sale in any drugstore or supermarket, I feel a tiny frisson of delight.
The last best infomercial I saw was for a ceramic hair straightening iron, which proves that you don’t even have to have any shred of consumer interest in the actual product to find its infomercial fascinating.
Last year, NPR took a look at the infomercial in honor of the genre’s 20th anniversary.
Update: More highlights from the Nads infomercial, which posed as a show entitled “Worldwide Health and Beauty Discoveries.” Ha! I love it! I got Nadded!