The Exercise Infomercial Phenomenon -
It all started with Jane Fonda. She started an industry with a simple video tape that included a 30 minute beginners program followed by a 60 minute full workout. For Jane it formed the nucleus of an empire that included books, audio recordings and fitness salons that are still in existence today. More importantly, capitalizing on Jane’s success, her workout tapes were followed quickly by everybody with a cut chiseled physique or a machine to help you work off those extra pounds and bring out those abs which quite unbelievably is bigger today than it was yesterday but not as big as it will be tomorrow.
Like they say in the record biz, the hits just keep on coming. Everybody has jumped into the market through the years: Chuck Norris, Lou Ferrigno aka The Hulk from the TV show, even Governor Arnold tried his hand at it. Models, celebrities and just plain folks with a machine have created exercise infomercials and you can count on one thing – more are coming soon to a TV channel in your house.
There’s Pilates, aerobics, toning, step dynamics, yoga, stretch, even specialty exercise tapes for pregnant women, women who have just given birth, women who are thinking about getting pregnant, kids, seniors – and that’s only a small fraction of what is available. Right now there are over 700 titles currently available and at one time or another all of them were presented to the public as an infomercial.
Some exercise infomercials utilized a new form of advertising called the hybrid infomercial. In the hybrid infomercial the product is available immediately as a direct response item and at the same time the item is available in retail stores. Here the infomercial is serving a dual purpose – to make a profit for the manufacturer immediately with credit card phone orders and by creating a brand name identity for the product available in the retail marketplace. With so much product available in today’s infomercial exercise tape market, it’s difficult for any one tape or exercise machine to make a profit for its manufacturer. By utilizing the incredible power of infomercials to reach a wide public base and selling them as a direct response item and a retail item simultaneously, manufacturers have learned how to profit from infomercials even though the market may be oversaturated.