Alzheimers, Infomercials, Ron Popeil and Emotional Marketing

I spent Christmas with my mother-in-law. In the early stages of Alzheimers, she has trouble remembering recent people, interactions, trips and happenings. But one thing she remembers clear as a bell, something that shocked the heck out of me…

Do you study infomercials?

You should. (If you think they are “beneath you” … consider the “you should” recommendation doubled.)

SIDEBAR: Some of the smartest marketers on a planet are behind them. I should probably explain what I mean by “smart marketer.” There is no shortage of “marketers” who claim smart-ness because of how new and innovative their ideas are. To me that ain’t a valid measurement. When I say “smart marketer” I mean people who have overflowing bank accounts at the end of each month as a result of the marketing they do, not talk about.


Ron Popeil is a brilliant guy. His book, Salesman of the Century, is a must read for both direct marketing, sales and entrepreneurship lessons.

His “smart-ness” was hammered home (again) by my mother-in law. See, she has one of those rotisserie ovens good ‘ole Ron sells on TV.

She loves it, which wasn’t a surprise.

The surprise came when, after my wife challenged this Alzheimers-riddled woman on one of the finer points of cooking with the oven … my mother-in-law explained it away … in a flash … with a rousing chorus of:

“You just set it … and forget it.”

Now, if you haven’t watched the infomercial, you might not know that “set it … and forget it” is a U.S.P. of the product. It’s repeated dozens of times throughout the commercial.

My mother-in-law didn’t stop there. She then started the mantra again…

“You just set it…”

…and waited for us to answer the call.

My mother-in-law who can’t remember who she dined with last week, can still remember … clear as a bell … the U.S.P. of a product she bought on television. There are a handful of reasons for it, but that aside … that is some powerful, powerful stuff.

It begs the question:

“What is your U.S.P. … and is it communicated powerfully and emotionally enough that your customers can recite it, verbatim, in a flash?”

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