The Infomercial Trap

As a personal finance expert with 20 years of experience in advising working people, entrepreneurs, and families, I’ve seen it all. And let me tell you, infomercials are a treasure trove of, well, not-so-treasured items. You might think, “Surely I’m too savvy to fall for these tricks,” but we all have our moments of weakness. So buckle up, and let’s dive into the wacky world of infomercials and discover the 5 crafty ways they sell us on their literal garbage.


1. The Art of Storytelling: Hitting Us Right in the Feels

Infomercials are like modern-day snake oil salesmen, but with a 21st-century twist. They know how to spin a tantalizing tale that tugs at our heartstrings, making us believe we absolutely need their product.

  • Relatable anecdotes: “Meet Jane, a busy mom of three who was struggling to find time to mop her floors…”
  • Dramatic transformations: “Look at how our SuperMegaUltraCleaner turned this filthy kitchen into a sparkling oasis!”
  • Life-changing promises: “With our product, you’ll have more time, energy, and happiness!”

Takeaway: Don’t be lured by the siren song of infomercial storytelling. Remember, these products are often too good to be true.

2. Limited Time Offers: Creating Urgency Like There’s No Tomorrow

FOMO, Infomercial, financial decision, finances

Infomercials prey on our fear of missing out (FOMO) by bombarding us with limited time offers and exclusive deals. They create a sense of urgency that makes us think we must act now or risk losing out forever. This is one of the things that make the Fry Meme so relatable.

  • Countdown timers: “Order in the next 10 minutes to get this amazing deal!”
  • Bonus gifts: “Call now, and we’ll throw in a second item absolutely free!”
  • Discounts: “For a limited time only, we’re slashing our prices in half!”

Takeaway: Resist the urge to act impulsively. If the product is genuinely worth it, you’ll likely find similar deals later.

3. The Power of Testimonials: Everybody’s Doing It

Infomercials know that we’re more likely to trust real people who have tried their products. They pack their ads with glowing testimonials that make it seem like everyone and their dog is jumping on the bandwagon.

  • “Average” people: “I used to hate vacuuming, but now I can’t live without my RoboVac 3000!”
  • Celebrity endorsements: “If it’s good enough for [insert C-list celebrity here], it’s good enough for me!”
  • Before and after shots: “Just look at the incredible results from using our Miracle Hair Growth Serum!”

Takeaway: Take testimonials with a grain of salt. They’re often cherry-picked or even scripted to show the product in the best light.

4. The Illusion of Value: A Deal So Good, You Can’t Refuse

Infomercials are masters at making their products seem like the deal of the century. They inflate the perceived value of their items to make us feel like we’re getting a fantastic bargain.

  • Comparisons: “Our product does the same thing as this $200 gadget, but for a fraction of the price!”
  • Bundling: “Get our entire 10-piece set for the low price of just $49.99!”
  • Lifetime guarantees: “Our product is so durable, we’re offering a lifetime guarantee—you’ll never need to buy another one!”

Takeaway: Remember, a deal is only a deal if it’s something you truly need or want. Don’t let the illusion of value trick you into buying something you’ll never use.

5. The Subtle Science of Repetition: Brainwashing Us One ‘But Wait, There’s More!’ at a Time

Infomercials are notorious for their incessant repetition. They know that the more we hear something, the more likely we are to remember and believe it. By the end of the infomercial, we’re practically chanting their slogans in our sleep.

  • Catchphrases: “Our SuperDuperAbs machine will get you the six-pack you’ve always wanted—guaranteed!”
  • Benefits: “This product is eco-friendly, easy to use, and saves you time and money!”
  • Calls to action: “Don’t wait; call now to take advantage of this amazing offer!”

Takeaway: Be aware of the power of repetition and its ability to sway your decision-making. Try to tune out the noise and focus on your own needs and financial goals.

The Bottom Line: Don’t Be a Sucker for Shiny Garbage

Infomercials can be entertaining, but they’re also carefully designed to exploit our weaknesses and make us believe we need their products. By being aware of these 5 crafty tactics, you can keep your hard-earned money in your wallet and avoid falling for literal garbage.

Remember, the best way to make smart financial decisions is to take a step back, do your research, and consider your needs and budget before making a purchase. Don’t let a catchy jingle or flashy gadget derail your financial goals. Stay strong, my friends, and keep that remote control handy for the next time an infomercial tries to seduce you.