A good TV infomercial is an audience eager to spend its money to buy the next great, must-have product. But what's behind the claims? A good pitch does not make a good product. And as we've learned, hype often outstrips reality with many As Seen on TV products.
Still, it's the possibilities that draw us in -- the idea that someone has come with something that will make our lives easier or solve some common problem not adequately addressed by any product sold through the normal retail channels.
So, here at WalletPop.com's Consumer Ally we've taken to trying out As Seen on TV products and giving our impressions of their real-world performance. Some actually do largely live up to the billing. We're happy to tell you when they do and honestly tell you when they don't.
And don't forget about cost. As Seen on TV items often seem priced right until you add in the shipping and handling -- which can be as much as the product itself. That has made As Seen on TV products more attractive and increasingly available at mass market retailers including Target and CVS where shipping and handling costs are removed from the equation.
Here are some hits and misses from the As Seen on TV world as seen by our reviewer Lisa Kaplan Gordon, with their "Buy-o-meter" rating on a scale of 1 to 5:
Perfect Brownie Pan
Would you pay money for brownies that seemed more like store-bought than homemade? Is it possible to have a brownie that's too perfect? This contraption really works, but is a bit too small.
Bumpits Hair Volumizing Inserts
If you need to make your hair bigger, could this product be the trick to looking more like Snookie and less like Ms. Flathair? It seems to be.
Living Well with Montel HealthMaster
Can it be all the many things the infomercial claims? Is this the kitchen tool to replace all kitchen tools? Nah. It's really pretty much just a blender.
Jack LaLanne Power Juicer Express
More and better juice than other juicers? Use whole fruits and vegetables? Does it live up to the hype? We think so.
Wow. A gadget that can channel your cell phone through your car's sound system. Not quite. Good idea. Inconsistent execution.
Can a grill scrubber with water in its handle that turns to steam on a hot grill really be that much better than regular grill brushes? It certainly seems that way. Score one for the inventors.
It's a miracle! A small curled up piece of wire that replaces the plumber! Not really. It is a curled up piece of wire, but it won't replace the plumber.
Shark Steam Pocket Mop
We've really come to appreciate the power of steam and the Shark Steam Pocket Mop can really make it a lot easier to clean without any stinky chemicals.
Good? We think so.
Sunglasses that are in hi-def? Is that possible? Not really. But the amber color does have some pluses and, of course, some minuses.
Fix It! For Wood
A miracle fix for scratches and gouges on wood? Can it be? It creates the illusion of a repair on some items. That's about it.
Deals or duds? As Seen on TV reviews from Consumer Ally