Decades before the late Billy Mays started his pitchman career, Ron Popeil was pioneering the “As Seen on TV” product market. Popeil, born in New York City in 1935, was the son of inventor Samuel Popeil, who created the Chop-O-Matic and it’s ultimately more famous relative, the Veg-O-Matic. Ron started out selling these kitchen wonders and other gadgets invented by his father in live demonstrations at stores in the 1950s. He had a knack for it and sold thousands of units. I actually remember the pleasure as a youngster being taken by my grandmother to see Popeil give his famous demonstration of the “Veg-O-Matic.” For the time, the product was truly innovative and provided a great deal of flexibility over anything else on the market.
By 1960 the Popeil-coined name “Veg-O-Matic” was on its way to becoming a household word. And, on November 15, 1960, the family received a trademark registration for it. To go along with the catchy name, Popeil used and popularized the catchy slogan: “It slices! It dices!” Around that same time, Popeil realized there was a huge potential for marketing his products on television. He created the Ronco company and developed TV “infomercial” versions of his product demonstrations. Some featured him doing the same kind of pitches he’d used in stores. Others were voiceover style demos. In the 1960s and 1970s, spots featuring Popeil and other Ronco ads sold millions of dollars worth of products. If you were around at the time, you may have bought something from Ronco, as I did. It was a wide choice of products, Mr. Microphone, the Ronco Bottle and Jar Cutter, the Buttoneer, the Pocket Fisherman, the Smokeless Ashtray, the Salad Spinner, or the famed Veg-O-Matic. All useful products for doing very mundane tasks easily.
I admit that I bought a few Ronco gadgets myself. I also admit that I can never think of the Veg-O-Matic without also thinking of one of the greatest Saturday Night Live faux ads, Dan Aykroyd’s 1976 “Bass-O-Matic” sketch. It’s a hilarious send-up of Popeil-style demo ads, and fantastic execution of comedy at its finest.
Roll forward to today, and we have KickStarter. KickStarter and early TV have a lot in common looked at in a historical perspective, but that is for another story. The story today is about Tom Dowler, and his MultiPlate. Please don’t let Dowler’s Popeil-style sense of humor in his presentation fool you. While a Ron Popeil he may not be, his MultiPlate is the real deal. I have one coming now myself, as his project has now passed the necessary 100% mark. If your shooting run and gun documentary or doing small corporate type productions as Tom Dowler is, you may want to consider ordering one from the initial production run for yourself. My own research on this subject has convinced me The MultiPlate is the perfect system for my professional needs.
To get your own MultiPlate, for the next seven days place your order here: http://www.kickstarter.com