#133 Blog Post - Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Posted by Denny Hatch
THE ULTIMATE TV INFOMERCIAL FOR
THE GREATEST NEW KITCHEN GADGET!
What triggered this post was Emeril Lagasse jumping out of my giant TV screen with one of the most alive, fun-filled half-hours I have spent in the past 18 months.
Even with progress in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic—coupled with the sunny optimism of the Joe Biden team and his giving financial help and hope to the poorest, hungriest and most desperate of Americans—I still wake up most mornings with a renewed sense of dread. On my worst days—for the first time in my life—I pop an anti-anxiety pill.
May God bless Emeril, his amazing pasta making machine and the joyous half hour of entertainment he supplied. Emeril's effervescent enthusiasm is contagious as he—and his buoyant sous chef Kimberley Locke of American Idol—showed me how to create dazzling epicurean masterpieces in minutes. And for a fraction of what we are paying now.
How about this for starters: you can make a pound of pasta (enough for a dinner of 8) in four minutes for 54¢! That's the same glorious pasta served in three star Michelin restaurants across the world. With this machine you can instantly produce all kinds of noodles and pasta: penne, spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle, udon noodles, angel hair, fettuccine, lasagna. Plus... chopped meat, grated cheese, fruit and vegetable juices and frozen yogurt and gelatos.
A Memorable Encounter with Emeril
Back When We Were Both Starting Out
When Peggy and I took over Target Marketing magazine—on life support in 1993—we saved it by hiring Barry Futtersak, an old-time magazine space salesman to generate advertising revenue. Barry's MO: "Never take 'no' for an answer." In other words, "Do not leave a meeting without an order."
For two years Barry and I took endless trips around the country talking to potential advertisers and tracking down stories for the editors—many of which I wrote.
Barry was also a world-class bon vivant. He knew American cities inside and out—the good hotels, the new "in" restaurants and the very best jazz joints and after hours clubs.
That first year Barry and I fetched up in New Orleans having made a lunch date with a young woman whose name and product are long lost in the mists of time. Still vivid in my brain was the lunch we had at the hot new restaurant in town—Emeril's.
Barry Young Emeril Emeril's New Orleans
Emeril Lagasse was an oh-so-young dynamo who happened to be in the foyer when we entered. He greeted us, seated us, handed us menus and tore off to work the kitchen and work the room.
Following a truly memorable meal, when we were leaving I noticed in the entrance a table with copies of his just published New NEW ORLEANS COOKING.I bought one and asked Emeril to autograph it to our prospective client, which he did—and added a sketch of himself in his high white toque. What an ebullient guy, marvelous chef and sheer delight! (Our young guest was thrilled with the book and became a long term advertiser!)
The TV Infomercial: It's Come a Long Way, Baby!
Before our quick tour of the delights served up by Emeril in his extraordinary advertorial, let me to share with you the very first advertorial in television history. First aired in 1950, it stars William G. "Papa" Bernard, inventor, founder and CEO of the Vitamix food processor. (Running time: 27:29.) You can give it a couple of minutes and get the idea or...
... if you're like me—a sucker for stunning sales pitches—you'll be riveted by Papa Bernard's presentation and want to savor more of it. You'll discover it contains the DNA of its thousands of offspring programs that have been produced, shot and aired over the past 70+ years. It's a gem!
Now... to Emeril's Marvelous Infomercial That
Includes Live-Action Gourmet Cooking Lessons!
Shrimp Dish Spinach Taglietelle Pasta Primavera
• The advertorial starts with a quick, powerful two-minute commercial for all the amazing benefits of his pasta machine.
• Just as you are getting a bit bored with the pitch, Chef Emeril starts creating the shrimp dish at left. He shows you exactly what he is doing. You see the various ingredients being combined, the cooked pasta from his machine is added and a fabulous gourmet meal has been concocted in just a few minutes. It's a dazzling performance!
• Emeril said the shrimp dish (you see it here before the pasta is added) would cost $20 or more in a restaurant—$160 for a party of eight. The eight servings created here with pasta from his machine can be created for a total of $10!
• After showing you how to make a couple of more recipes, the two-minute commercial is repeated. And before you know it he's the gourmet teacher again showing you how to make more spectacular pasta dishes.
• Among the marvelous recipes you'll learn how to master (with or without his machine) by watching this video:
— Pasta pesto
— Marinara sauce
— Mac & Cheese using freshly made noodles
— Fettuccine with prosciutto and cheese
• Quite simply Emeril is giving you a real deal—making you an expert chef—whether or not you buy his pasta machine.
• The one word that describes Emeril and his infomercial: "Mesmerizing!"
• I urge you to watch it. Cook from it. Exult in it!
• You'll love it! Guaranteed!
Takeaways to Consider
• In the 800 years of Direct Marketing, only two long-form advertising platforms have been devised: the full-dress direct mail package and the infomercial.
• The 30-minute infomercial originated with Vitamix in 1949-50.
• A recent blog post described two of the greatest modern masters of the infomercial: Billy Mays and Ron Popeil.
• Emeril gives away live-action cooking lessons—taking the advertorial into fascinating new territory!
P.S. A Personal Confession
Okay, I have not yet ordered my Emeril Pasta making machine (even though it not only makes world-class pasta, but apparently does everything a modern food processor will do at a fraction the cost of my Cuisinart). I would have gone for it in a nanosecond if we still had our house with the big kitchen. Alas, we downsized to a two-bedroom apartment with a tiny galley kitchen and minimal storage areas already stuffed with stuff. We simply haven't the space for another kitchen appliance. But I'm seriously thinking of it!
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