Infomercial – Definition

Cite this article as:"Infomercial – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated October 4, 2019, last accessed December 4, 2020,


Infomercial Definition

An infomercial refers to a long-form video advertisement which is usually portrayed as a standalone program to pitch a product or service to the public. The term infomercial is gotten from “information” and “commercial,” and they’re sometimes referred to as paid programming and teleshopping in some European countries. Infomercials generally last longer than a basic commercial as it goes into details about the offerings of a company or a particular product. This in turn allows it to provide a viable call-to-action (a sentence that urges readers or viewers to purchase a product or employ a service). In most cases, infomercials are televised and there is always a constant request during the runtime to either visit a website or call a toll free line which would lead you to the point of sale of the product.

A Little More on What is an Infomercial

infomercials basically started in the 1980s in the United States and it came became a famous advertising technique due to the lifting of restrictions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the amount or volume of commercial contents that could be featured on television channels. infomercials usually appeared during the night and morning, as this helps the advertising firm or entity ton save cost, especially when the featuring channel is widely popular. The Federal Communications Commission also requires any infomercial lasting more than 15 minutes to declare to viewers that it is being used as a platform for paid advertising. Simply put, it must reveal to the viewer that a commission would be earned anytime they purchase the advertised product via the link or the toll free line provided. infomercials are also seen as advertisings that holds false claims, exaggerations and sensationalism. Most products being advertised during infomercials are said to be fraudulent, especially the ones related to weight loss and penile enlargement for males.

Features of Infomercial

As a long form of commercials, infomercials mainly capture the viewer or succeed in leading them to purchase the advertised product by appealing to their interests or capturing their viewpoints. Most infomercials would pressure a viewer into calling a toll-free line by use of different phrases or terms like the famous “limited offer,” or things like “don’t keep the operators waiting,” “call now,” “limited space” “offer ends before midnight,” etc. These advertisements can be run in shorter or longer segments, they generally needn’t be up to 15 minutes. infomercials which uses shorter time frames usually run from 2 minutes to 4 minutes, and are mostly outlined in series. That is, different infomercials advertising the same product play back-to-back for 2-4 minutes each. For infomercials running on a longer timeframe, a 30 minutes advertisement is not unusual. Sometimes, infomercials can run for as long as an hour, but these types are usually featured from 2am to 6am. infomercials are usually the programs that have taken over dead-air time (the time where a TV channel would close for the day), and they most certainly will contain a call-to-action. It is an unwritten rule.

Examples of infomercials and Major Users

infomercials are used in publishing and advertising products that qualify for the “As Seen On T.V” rule. Some major examples of such commodities include Ginsu knives, ShamWow towels, and the famous Flowbee vacuum haircutting tool. More often than not, infomercials are used to sell health supplements and dietary products. It isn’t unusual to see an infomercial for memory improvement kits, fitness equipments, weight loss, and even so-called sexual improvement tools. In rarer cases, religious groups and politicians make use of infomercial, but most do it at any time apart from the popular dead-air time period.

References for “Infomercial › Definitions › Marketing

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