Even if you’ve never ordered from a TV infomercial, chances are you still have a favorite product.
Maybe it’s the Perfect Polly, the life-like singing bird made from plastic. Or Sauna Pants — shorts with sewn-in heating elements. Or the Air Curler, a device that attaches to a blowdryer to spin your locks “just like a cotton candy machine.”
They’re all classics, and they help the “As-Seen-on-TV” industry rake in billions of dollars every year.
“The good and bad of infomercials is they’re done in a year or two at the most,” said Bill McAlister, the president of Top Dog Direct, the company behind hit products like TagAway skin tag remover and Mighty Putty.
To search for fresh ideas, Top Dog recently invited inventors to pitch their ideas to the company. At a speed pitch event in Boca Raton, Florida, dozens of inventors showed up, hoping to get their product on TV and share in the profits. Ideas ranged from exercise machines to kitchen gadgets to fashion accessories.
Kathy Biondolillo pitched her invention, Panties with Pockets. It’s underwear with pockets, for women to store necessities.
The judges loved Sleeves 2 Go, created by inventor Susan Costanza. They snap onto a bra to add flattering sleeves to dresses.
“There’s three things you need [for a successful product],” McAlister said. “It has to be demonstrative. It has to hit the right price point, and it has to solve a problem.”
Credit: Bradley Blackburn and Sebastian Perry