Whether it was a Ginsu knife, George Foreman Grill, Tony Robbins' motivational book, kitchen device by Ron Popeil, or any of the countless other famous products that have been marketed on infomercials over the years, admit it: you or someone you know has bought one—and you're not alone. Last year, one out of every three Americans picked up the phone and ordered a product from a television infomercial or home shopping network, and in But Wait . . . There's More! journalist (and infomercial addict) Remy Stern offers a lively, behind-the-scenes exploration of this enormous business—one that markets the world's most outrageous products using the most outrageous tactics.
Don't let the kitschy exterior fool you: behind the laughable demonstrations, goofy grins, and cheesy dialogue lies an industry larger than the film and music industries combined. The first book of its kind, But Wait . . . There's More! exposes the never-before-told story of the infomercial and home shopping phenomenon in all its excessive glory and its meteoric rise to become one of the most profitable businesses in America.
Along the way, Stern details the history behind the classic products and introduces readers to some of the most famous (and infamous) pitchmen and personalities in the business, including Tony Robbins, Billy Mays, Ron Popeil, Tony Little, Suzanne Somers, Kevin Trudeau, and Joe Francis. He also presents an in-depth look at the business behind the camera—the canny sales strategies, clever psychological tools, and occasionally questionable tactics marketers have used to get us to open up our wallets and spend, spend, spend.
Stern's eye-opening account also offers a penetrating look at how late-night television conquered the American consumer and provides insight into modern American culture: our rampant consumerism, our desire for instant riches, and our collective dream of perfect abs, unblemished skin, and gleaming white teeth. Both a compelling business story and a thoroughly entertaining piece of investigative journalism (with a touch of muckraking and social satire), But Wait . . . There's More! will ensure that you never look at those too-good-to-be-true deals the same way again.
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Remy Stern is a former editor at Radar and currently the editor and publisher of the Web site Cityfile.com. He has written for numerous publications in the past, including New York magazine and the New York Post. His lifelong fascination with infomercials has led him to buy, among other things, a pasta machine, a vegetable juicer, and a set of booklets and VHS cassettes that assured him he'd be a millionaire in thirty days or less. He lives in New York City. This is his first book.Review:
“[An] entertaining portrait...Mr. Stern is at his best when he confronts the real stars here: the infomercials themselves...But Wait...There’s More! is well worth your time.” (Wall Street Journal)
“One of the most interesting industry portraits to come along in a while.” (USA Today)
“[An] intelligently composed exposé, an impressive work of contemporary history, full of wit.” (Dallas Morning News)
“[A] lively exposé. . . . Stern is the perfect host to this slightly seedy world, well-informed and ‘transfixed by the zany nature of it all.’” (Publishers Weekly)
“In his addictive take on the gimmickry that is direct-response TV, Remy Stern explains why we buy into products with false promises and celeb spokesmen with even falser tans.” (Advertising Age)
“A wholly fascinating account of a wholly fascinating industry.” (Robert B. Cialdini, bestselling author of Influence)
“Nothing is more joyously, or obnoxiously American than the infomercial. This is a book for everyone who is, or once was, a late-night TV junkie.” (Paco Underhill, author of the national bestseller Why We Buy)
“Act now and read this book. It slices and dices the world of infomercials-humorously detailing their meteoric rise as icons of Americana.” (Edward Ugel, author of Money for Nothing)
“I avoid late night TV like the plague-and Remy Stern explains why, wonderfully, in But Wait...There’s More!” (Michael Gross, author of Rogues' Gallery and 740 Park)
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