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An infomercial is a broadcast advertisement filling an entire program slot, often repeating the same body of content several times. It is often listed in program guides as "paid programming".
Infomercials (although not named that until much later) originated in radio at least as early as 1950, before television displaced it as the primary home entertainment medium. Two products advertised in 15-minute radio infomercials were:
- "Pro-Tam", guaranteed to melt off the pounds if you sprinkled it on your food. It was hawked in a Q&A format which mimicked a popular general interest program, The Answer Man. It was simply a protein powder.
- A product claimed to prevent hair loss. Listeners were urged to avoid alcohol-based hair products ("If alcohol could grow hair, a lot of people I know would have fur-lined stomachs") and use a substance produced by "the animal that grows hair most like humans do: the sheep." The product was lanolin.
- Video news releases (VNR)
- Doreen Carvajal, "Is It News, Ad, or Infomercial?", Indiana University School of Journalism, viewed March 28, 2004.
- Ridiculous Infomercial Review, viewed March 27, 2004