Yes, the title is as accurate as it is titillating.
Since the beginning of TV Shopping, the format has always been a host and/or a guest demonstrating a product and giving random sales information, how many sold, how many remaining, they’re closing the mines (lol), etc. With the exception of Evine Live and their After Dark show, no channel has tried to evolve and improve on that paradigm.
Evine Live’s After Dark gives real world sexual advice about the products on their show. I even heard the words “oral sex” more than a couple of times on the show when describing a product that simulated the motion of a tongue. This is an amazing step forward in the industry. No other channel had the courage to approach the problems many Americans have with sexual fulfillment. Granted, they are still using the “host/guest” approach, but they are venturing into new territory as far as TV shopping is concerned. Sure beats the “go the website for my sticky buns recipe” schtick.
I maintain this is just the tip of the iceberg (or penis, c’mon, you were thinking that). If I were still in the industry, I would put together a panel than would be charged with creating new and innovative ideas for product presentations. Not just sexual related products, but the whole spectrum of retail goods. Shop at Home sort of did this when exploring additional streams of revenue before I got there. Sadly, all they wound up with were some commercials for Cajun seasonings and side dishes.
I maintain that paranormal-related products, i.e., UFO’s, ghosts, psychics, conspiracies, etc. would be a huge winner on late-night TV Shopping. The channel could interview authors while selling books, offer videos and other related products. Big audience for that type of merchandise and live TV offers the devotees an opportunity they couldn’t get online.
Are there better ways than the “host/guest” format to effectively sell a product? QVC took a major leap forward when they had their 50 in 50 Tour back in the 1990’s. Finding the Top 20 entrepreneurs in each state, doing the show live from that state and having the product’s creator as the guest for their product was way ahead of the curve. Unfortunately, there is so much money at stake these days that the newly merged QVC/HSN juggernaut is most likely reluctant to rock the boat. Hey, good for them! Look how well that steadfast attitude worked for the railroads and even video rental stores.
One product from QVC’s 50 in 50 tour, a how-to-play-the-harmonica set, broke the paradigm. The creator of the set gave out harmonicas to dozens of audience members (might have been over 100) and taught them to play in a matter of minutes before the presentation. He showed the proof of his product when these former non-musicians showed that they could make real music after just a few minutes of instruction.
I am often approached by vendors to represent guitars they are trying to sell on TV. I suggested to one that they get it on late at night and I would give a couple of minute tutorial on how to play some cool beginner stuff while selling their guitar. Since they would be presenting it on either QVC or HSN, they said the channel would never allow a few minutes of their airtime to be wasted like that. Sad, because I did this once on QVC in the late 1990’s and the guitar sold out in minutes.
A panel of industry experts to forge the future of TV Shopping. Spending a little money to make a lot and ensure the future of an industry. Or, they could just hand the keys over to Amazon right now.
© 2018 Steve Bryant – No portion of this or any blog can be reproduced or copied and posted on any online site or read aloud on any audio or video media without the express permission of the author.