Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ron Popeil, Veg-O-Matic and Pocket Fisherman Promoter

How much money would you want to bet that Ron Popeil, the master of late-night TV commercials for products like the Veg-O-Matic, is still hawking his products? Wait, don't answer yet!

Yes, the man who created those ads filled with such urgency is still at it, promoting the many products sold by his old company, Ronco Inc., even though his family sold the company years ago. I remember seeing those commercials on late-night TV, during intermissions between the horror movies I loved as a kid, selling things like the Smokeless Ashtray, the Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ. and other amazing conveniences we never knew we needed.

These Popeil commercials have had a big impact on how products are promoted... and even on some budding businesspeople (a marketing CEO writes in the Jan. 27 New York Times about how seeing a Pocket Fisherman ad on TV led him to a career in direct marketing).

There was a book written about the Popeil family's beginnings and success in direct marketing, called "But Wait! There's More!" (listen to an audio story about the book). Ron Popeil also has his own book, called "The Salesman of the Century."

The Popeil style was also lampooned and parodied many times, perhaps most famous in Dan Aykroyd's Saturday Night Live commercial for the made-up product "Bass-O-Matic," a blender than could turn whole fish into a pureed drink.

Can Ronco still be success at selling on TV, and online? Hell yes... Set it and forget it!

No comments: