No TV programming is more unforgiving than the infomercial.
If your television spot doesn't move product, you're deader than a rotisserie chicken. If it does, you get to fight another day, then another day after that, until demand dissipates.
The more a company spends to promote a product, the more successful that product is. We have compiled a list of the 10 most successful infomercial products over the past 12 months, based on media budgets provided by Jordan Whitney, a Tustin, Calif.-based research firm company that tracks infomercials.
1. Bowflex Home Gym, distributed by Bowflex
The No. 1 infomercial product claims it allows you to do everything from bench presses to squats to leg curls, all in the comfort of your own living room and all with one machine. The show hits the sweet spot of instant gratification (see results in just six weeks!), with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee and scores of glistening hard bodies.
2. Carleton Sheets Real Estate Tutorial, distributed by American Marketing Systems
Andy and Donna from Missouri attest to making $2,800 a month the old-fashioned way: Carleton Sheets' "real estate money-making system." Carleton has been stoking million-dollar aspirations since 1986.
3. Proactiv Solution Acne Treatment, distributed by Guthy-Renker
What do you get when you mix repulsive acne pictures with the exquisite Vanessa Williams? An info-winner. "Having acne is a drag," the former Miss America says. Info-shoppers concur.
4. Showtime Rotisserie Pro Electric Rotisserie Oven, distributed by Ronco
Ron Popeil claims to have sold more than 2.5 million Showtime Rotisseries, making the oven the most successful product of his 40-year career. There's something about the TV pitchman of the century and gyrating poultry.
5. Ionic Breeze Air Purifier, distributed by The Sharper Image
In the war against allergens, the Ionic Breeze is ready to rumble. The breeze machine is said to use "electrostatic precipitation" to zap dust, pet dander and pollen out of the air.
6. The Firm Body-Building Videos, distributed by GT Merchandising
The Firm is the only top-10-selling infomercial that doesn't have a pitchman. The workout tapes, which promise to slenderize your body, apparently speak for themselves.
7. Walk Away the Pounds for Abs Weight-Loss Program, distributed by Unlimited Energy
"Put on your sneakers and start walking your way to a healthier you!"
8. Gazelle Freestyle Home Exercise Machine, distributed by Fitness Quest
With the Gazelle Freestyle — and a truckload of Rogaine — you too can be like buff, pony-tailed infomercial pitchman Tony Little. The 46-pound foldable home-exercising unit promises five fat-burning workouts in one.
9. Total Gym Challenge Home Gym, distributed by American Telecast
An entire gym rolled into one machine? Hard to believe. But somehow Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley make it all seem so very possible — and affordable ($1,379.30).
10. Foodsaver Food Vacuum Packaging Machine, distributed by Tilia
The Foodsaver keeps food fresh by sucking the air out of containers and keeping it out. The seemingly magical sucking system will set you back $129.99.
For more, go to Forbes.com..