Infomercial Stupidity: A Love Story In GIFs

indestructible snack tray

Whenever people ask me my guilty pleasure I usually say I don’t have one.  Not because I lead a virtuous and abstemious life– on the contrary, it’s because my basic organs of self-regard are so worn down that I feel no guilt no matter what kind of low-brow crap I’m indulging in.  However, I will admit the slightest bit of shame as I tell you this: I love infomercials.  When Ted goes out to exercise on weekend mornings and I am left alone, ostensibly to “be productive?”  That’s MY TIME, baby.  There are whole channels that show nothing but informercials on weekend mornings, and I just can’t get enough.  Yes, Cindy Crawford, I would like to know how I can look nicely tucked merely by rubbing grapefruit extracts on my face!  Indeed, Shaun T, your abs are quite impressive and do seem to the be result of some Insane working out!

One of the things I love so much about them, besides that they are so cheesy, is that they each tend to be a master-class on audience manipulation.  Having my roots in direct response, I love that stuff.  Deadline for ordering?  Classic!  Wait, now you’re doubling the value of the offer?  Good one!  “You could pay $200 for this in stores.” Oh, yeah, baby, way to frame that price high!  And one of my favorite parts is the bit at the beginning that shows The Bad Old Days, back before the soon-to-be-revealed Wonder Product was available, when we sat under boring plain blankets and chopped onions with a knife.  Man, life was so hard back then!

So imagine my delight to find this treasury of GIFs that captures all those moments of sheer infomercial stupidity.  Behold:

woman battles chair

You know, there’s a handy product for people who are frustrated by trying to open up folding chairs.  It’s called a regular chair.

kids can't pour milk

Hey, Mom, might be time to take the kids to the eye doctor.  Last time anyone saw aim that bad, Dick Cheney sent someone to the hospital.

attack of the killer spices

What’s that, Mom?  You’re too busy being attacked by…. um… pill bottles?  Spices?  Old film canisters?  I really have no idea what is raining down in this woman’s face, but she is not taking it in stride.

is it really that hard to open milk?

Ah, this poor dope can’t even get the milk open.  Kids, come help him out.

and the cheetos go flying

Not sure if the Wonder Product here is going to be a better snack bowl, a cordless phone, or an AbRoller for when he finally works his way through that torso-sized bowl of Cheetos.


Pans: explain them to me again?

Has this ever happened to you?  If so, you need The Amazing Napkin!  That’s right, The Amazing Napkin!  Order today and we’ll throw in one additional Napkin COMPLETELY FREE!

Uuuuugh, right?  Closing the washer lid is like SO HARD!!!

I don’t know how this woman envisioned her acting career playing out, but I bet in her ideal scenario it didn’t involve getting sprayed with chocolate milk while pretending to plunge a toilet.  I hope they got it in one take.

There’s more, so much more.  Click over if you want to get a small taste for how truly horrific life would be without the treats that infomercials provide.  Would you want to live in that filthy, disorganized hellscape?  I thought not.


Creating a Week Label in Excel

I just love Excel.  I remember when I was introduced to pivot tables—it was like the clouds of data ignorance had parted to reveal golden-robed angels singing of cross-tabbed insights.  And I wasn’t even drunk!  Except on the beauty of Excel, of course.

Just recently I was looking at some daily performance data, and I decided I wanted to group it by week.  To start I just applied the WEEKNUM formula:


which renders “6/22/11”, for example, into “26”.

This worked fine for grouping, but “26” doesn’t really mean anything intuitively to me.  When I wanted to figure out why the numbers jumped in a particular week, I had to go back to the daily sheet, find the week number in question, and see what the associated dates were—then I could say, “Oh, yes, 9/2, that’s when we had a piece run in the Wall Street Journal.”

So instead I decided to create a label that would display the first and last days of the week in question.  After a bit of tinkering I hit on using the WEEKDAY function, which delivers a number for the day of the week a date falls on.  I figured I could use that number to calculate how far from the beginning or end of the week the date is, then subtract or add the right number of days to deliver the two numbers. I used TEXT to make them labels:


This yielded an output like this:

Date Week
6/22 06/19-06/25
6/23 06/19-06/25
6/24 06/19-06/25
6/25 06/19-06/25
6/26 06/26-07/02
6/27 06/26-07/02
6/28 06/26-07/02
6/29 06/26-07/02
6/30 06/26-07/02
7/1 06/26-07/02
7/2 06/26-07/02
7/3 07/03-07/09

I formatted the labels to include the “0” in front of single-digit numbers because otherwise they don’t sort properly—October (10) comes before February (2).

Did I mention that I did all this on a Saturday morning?  And in fact considered it to be a bit of a treat to myself for doing some other work?  Yep, I party hard.

Beth, You Naughty Thing

Well. A sudden new entrant is taking the Beth Morgan scene by storm. Although Beth Morgan news tends to be dominated by cricket Beth Morgan, the chatter these days is about a very, very naughty Beth Morgan in Australia who approved controversial real estate developments in exchange for sex and cash. Beth! That is shocking! And I thought that porno Beth was bad for the Beth Morgan brand. This sounds like something soap opera Beth Morgan might do. I’m sure it’s been amusing to cricket Beth, who has been in Australia cricketing away while all the sordid details of naughty Beth have been making headlines there.

Update: Big shout-out to Sex & Cash Beth for causing an explosion of traffic to the blog!  As with the people seeking MILF Beth, I sadly don’t have much for you.  I’ve never even been in a position powerful enough that I *could* demand sex and cash from anyone.  Even with the husband it’s more of a negotiation than a demand.

Beth Morgan Video? Not Here.

Let me make this easier for all the people who’ve wandered by my innocent and family-friendly marketing blog off the search term “Beth Morgan video.”  I think you want this Beth Morgan (link very much Not Safe For Work).  I can’t tell you how little you’d like to watch a pornographic video with me in it.  Given the extensive body of work of that Beth Morgan I’m kind of surprised that this is where you’d end up on such a search, and sadly I have nothing for you.  Well, there’s this, but I had nothing to do with it.  It’s just cute.

Results Are In: Google Triples Site Traffic!

As a follow up to yesterday’s post about how (perhaps embarrassingly) excited I was to see that I had wandered onto the Google rankings, this blog tripled its usual traffic and tied one of its best days ever in terms of page views: a big 6!  I’m going to get some advertising going on this thing, and in about 1,000 years I can retire and live off the income.  However, I’m sure this is only the start of something bigger.  Just wait until I switch genders, then the traffic will come rolling in.

That’s It, We’re Exiting The SEM Business

For a while I thought Red Bricks could really make it in search engine marketing.  However, with the recent announcement that you can get SEM services through Sam’s Club I’m afraid we just won’t be able to compete.  I mean, if you can get bulk toilet paper, jumbo bottles of dishwashing liquid, and SEM all in one place… why wouldn’t you?