We’ve all found ourselves watching infomercials late at night or on weekend days when there is nothing else is on. While most are compelling in their own way, some manage to hook viewers more than others — no matter how unnecessary or laughable the product might seem.
From skincare systems to kitchen gadgets to workout routines, some products have spurred millions of people to pull out their credit cards and pick up the phone.
Click through to see the “As Seen on TV” products that are the most lucrative of all time.
- $697 million in revenue in 2017
Remember Marie Osmond and her 50-pound weight loss? The celebrity spokeswoman not only endorsed the brand, but also kept the weight off with NutriSystem. Millions of other people wanting to shed pounds have also used NutriSystem weight management system. The company’s market value is estimated at $1.11 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- $500 million in sales as of 2013
The Snuggie is one of the most successful infomercial products, even if the commercials did give people a good laugh. The cheesy ads worked to the company’s benefit, though. Snuggie sold over 30 million units as of 2013, just five years after its launch, despite not even being the first product to feature a blanket with sleeves. It did, however, have the best sales tactic, and the revenue to prove it.
Showtime Pro Electric Rotisserie Oven
- $1 billion in lifetime sales as of April 2018
It appears that many households really did “set it and forget it,” as more than 2.5 million Showtime Rotisseries were sold, according to Ron Popeil, the infomercial products icon and founder of Ronco Inventions. The rotisserie oven brought in $1 billion in lifetime sales, Popeil told the New York Post. The oven makes easy weekend meals even easier.
Despite big sales figures, the Showtime Rotisserie Oven couldn’t keep Ronco Inventions afloat — the company filed for bankruptcy for the third time in April 2018, the Post reported.
George Foreman Grill
- 100 million grills sold as of 2015
George Foreman, two-time world heavyweight boxing champion, got the deal of a lifetime outside of the ring. Although he initially signed on to earn 45 percent of the profits in return for the use of his name, by 1998 the grill had sold more than $200 million worth of units, and the maker of the grill opted to buy out their spokesperson instead. Foreman earned $137.5 million for his endorsement, plus an additional $11 million for grill-related TV appearances. “Big George” tried to parlay that success into other products, including a line of frozen meats, but they’ve flopped in comparison.
- $700 million in sales as of 2012
When P90X, the “As Seen on TV” workout routine featuring Tony Horton, debuted in 2005, it wasn’t an immediate success. In fact, it took 22 tries to get the infomercial just right. The work was worth it though, as P90X has been one of the top 25 most popular infomercials for several years since its launch, according to Infomercial Monitoring Service, a company that gauges the success rate of infomercials. As of 2012, the product had raked in over $700 million in sales.
- $1 billion in sales in 2015
Proactiv has more than 20 million customers worldwide. Since the late 1990s, the skincare kit has had many celebrity spokespeople including Alicia Keys, Jessica Simpson and Julianne Hough, and you can’t have big names without making a lot of dough to pay them. In 2010, the product was paying $13 million to $15 million annually to spokespeople, including Justin Bieber — which no doubt added millions to the popstar’s net worth.
The original creators, Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, launched their own Rodan + Fields skincare line, which had $626.9 million in revenue in 2015. The brand does not rely on infomercials. Rather, the company uses a “social commerce” model, in which independent entrepreneurs use social media to sell products directly to consumers.
- $450 million in sales as of 2013
TV viewers loved the PedEgg, despite the fact that it’s basically a pocket-sized cheese-grater for your feet. The PedEgg seemed to fascinate rather than repulse infomercial viewers, who have been impressed with its skin-softening ability. Over 50 million of the devices have been sold since 2007.
If you’re buying too many products late at night, follow these tricks to curb your shopping addiction.
- $300 million in revenue per year
If you’ve watched any television at all over the last year or so, then you’ve likely seen an ad for MyPillow, the $40 pillow that claims to adjust to fit you and help you get a better night’s sleep. The company — which has spent over $100 million on infomercials — has sold 30 million pillows as of 2017, according to the CNBC.
The Hair Club for Men
- Sold for $210 million in 2005
The Hair Club for Men aired its first infomercial in 1982, and you might recall the famous tagline: “I’m not just the president of Hair Club for Men, I’m also a client!” The company gave men with thinning hair — or not-so-great combovers — a chance to have a full head of hair again with a transplant. The company has changed hands several times since it launched, and expanded its services to women and even children. According to Entrepreneur magazine, the company treats 50,000 clients each year.
The Bowflex Workout Machine
- $71.6 million in sales in the fourth quarter of 2017
When it comes to “As Seen on TV” exercise equipment, the Bowflex workout machine is probably the most well known. You might even be one of the 2.5 million Americans who own a Bowflex home fitness machine. The “no-weights, just resistance” system of cables and straps promises to deliver amazing muscle-building results — and folds up in a cinch. One of the brand’s most popular infomercials featured a 50-year-old grandmother who claimed the machine kept her looking far younger.
- $1.2 billion in sales to date
The Total Gym workout tool was initially used in rehabilitation centers, but its creators realized it had broader uses and introduced the machine to TV audiences. Nearly two decades have gone by since it first began being advertised on infomercials, and it’s now in over 4 million homes, and the company has racked up over $1.2 billion in sales.
- $200 million in sales as of April 2018
Suzanne Somers’ 90s infommercials for the ThighMaster fitness tool were mercilessly spoofed on late-night television, but the “Three’s Company” star is laughing all the way to the bank. The ThighMaster has brought in $200 million in sales over the years, Forbes reported.
Although Somers struck gold with the ThighMaster, her attempt at getting into the restaurant business was not as successful.
First State Quarters of the United States Collector's Map
- $180 million in sales as of 2010
The state quarters map was marketed to coin collectors and non-collectors alike as a way to display the first editions of the state quarters. The map was sold for $29.95, and had brought in $180 million in sales as of 2010, The Seattle Times reported.
- $150 million in sales as of 2010
Dog and cat owners have shelled out millions for Pedi Paws, a device that can be used to gently trim their pet’s nails using a spinning emery wheel. The tool retails for $19.95, and it’s brought in $150 million in sales as of 2010, The Seattle Times reported.
- $150 million in sales as of 2013
The delightfully 80s infomercial for AmberVision sunglasses promised to improve vision by blocking blue rays, as well as to protect eyes from sun damage by blocking UV rays. The sunglasses were sold for just $10 on TV, and were eventually brought to retail stores too. In total, the aviator-style one-size-fits-all shades have reached $150 million in sales as of 2013, ABC reported.
Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting of this article.
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