Author Information

Bligh MacDonald


Few forms of media are so derided as the infomercial. It seems to ooze tackiness and low production standards, coupled with shameless pandering and questionable selling points. Still, the infomercial, or “direct-response” commercial, can be an astoundingly effective selling tool. In this age of ubiquitous mass media, infomercials for products such as the “Snuggie” and the “Shake Weight” have used their inherent “butt-of-joke” qualities to make millions and to attain cultural icon status. For this project, I researched the infomercial as a genre in an attempt to explain its success and rhetorical appeal. I then applied my analysis to the writing, production, and activity-tracking of my own infomercial. The results may offer insight into the rhetorical strategies of rapidly-evolving new media genres and American pop-culture commerce.

Note on the Author

Bligh MacDonald is an English major. This paper was presented at the 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

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