Every few years there’s a homewares fad that gets everyone talking, and more often than not, reaching for their wallets. Spruiked via TV commercials, these items made their creators millions and became pop culture icons in the process. Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
Who didn’t love a bedazzled outfit?! The Bedazzler is a small machine resembling a stapler that can attach rhinestones, beads and studs to clothing; creating a glitzy, over-the-top look that was tacky, yet amazing! Originally pushed by endless TV advertising, the Bedazzler has shown remarkable resilience; although the fad died out decades ago you can still purchase them from retailers such as Kit Kraft. Get bedazzling again!
Anyone who watched TV in the mid 2000s would find it hard to forget Vince Offer, the high energy spruiker for the Sham Wow (a super absorbent cleaning cloth based on a chamois). His over-the-top style made his adverts standout and the Sham Wow was a huge success. Offer’s up-front salesmanship made him as famous as his products but his star would fade after an altercation with a prostitute in 2009. By 2012 he was back spruiking and he remains active to this day; you can visit the Sham Wow website to purchase this legendary cleaning cloth.
For a brief period, there was no escaping the Snuggie; the combination blanket/dressing gown whose star ascended via endless TV advertising before disappearing from our screens almost overnight. There was no denying the attractiveness of this invention; a perfect companion to a cold winter’s night on the couch. The good news is it still has a cult following around the world with a range of Snuggies (including the newer children’s line Snuggie Tails) available from the official Snuggie website.
Billy The Big Mouth Bass
There was a short period of time when Billy The Big Mouth Bass (a wall mounted, animatronic singing trophy fish) was the pool room item to have. Even Queen Elizabeth II had one next to her piano. The fad was never destined to last and Billy (plus Travis The Rainbow Trout and about 10 other variations) was soon consigned to the dustbin of history though not before making a lot of money, singer Al Green has said he made more in royalties from his song sung by Billy than from his actual records! Never fear though, everything gets a second chance and Amazon, they have a brand new, Alexa enabled, Billy waiting to be purchased here.
George Foreman Grill
Another legend of direct marketing is former boxer, George Foreman and his world-famous grill. Originally conceived as a fajita-maker the grill went through a few changes before it ended up with George’s smiling face on the box. Using a double-sided cooking method and unique fat-draining system and with marketing powered by TV commercials featuring George’s likeable pitching; the Grill was an instant hit and it’s believed that Foreman made close to US$200 million in royalties from this unique kitchen appliance, which is still available from the George Foreman Grill website.