In case you missed it, Darren Rovell just proved once and for all on CNBC that the ShamWow really does absorb like crazy, as advertised. Don’t worry. We’ve embedded the clip below for you to view (over and over and over again, if you’d like). Rovell’s demo capped CNBC’s ridiculous “As Seen On TV” tournament, where they matched various products up against each other. Among them: The ShamWow, Girls Gone Wild DVDs and of course our favourite, the Snuggie — that blanket with sleeves.
But actually, the tournament isn’t so silly. It’s not an accident that these products have recently become pop culture phenomena.
Adage reported yesterday that while the economy is slowing, the Snuggie has sold some 4 million units! And it’s not a coincidence:
The timing worked well on many fronts for Snuggie. With conventional advertisers pulling back, remnant time for direct-response ads has swelled. And because apparel and other consumer-product sales are down, plenty of idle Chinese factories are eager for business.
Ads tout the Snuggie as a way to cut heating bills and let folks curl up on the sofa with their hands free. With a growing number of consumers hunkering down and looking to save money, two Snuggies and two book lights for $19.95 is starting to look like a pretty good deal.
12 months ago, there’s no way the Snuggie could’ve advertised heavily on CNBC, because all the spots would’ve been taken up by men in suits standing on the top of skyscrapers, with dramatic music and talk about “bold strokes”. But that’s dying by the wayside, leaving lots of room for Snuggies (and fresh catheters and lots of other less-than-aesthetically ideal products). But that’s how capitalism is supposed to work, and how economies recover. As economic inputs like factory space and advertising get cheaper, new products find their way to market that previously couldn’t have. Eventually, we’ll see this play out everywhere, not just with weird blankets, but across all kinds of products and industries.
CNBC by running its tournament is basically offering an ode to this new crop of remnant, bizarre direct response advertisers. But don’t worry, eventually the Snuggie makers will be so rich they’ll find some overpriced asset management firm to invest their money, with promises of even greater riches, and the cycle will begin again.
Ok, now here’s that video of Darren we promised you. Hmm… perhaps it explains why sales of paper towel are down.