From Ginsu to Shake Weight: Evolution of the product demo

You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; you’ll want to know how you can create videos like the ones shown. Don’t worry; there are six tips to help make that happen.

This well-known advertisement for the Ginsu knife first appeared in 1978 as a televised version of the door-to-door sales pitch. It reached millions of television viewers in the U.S. and fueled sales tom something approaching 3 million Ginsu sets from 1978 to 1984.

Though some successful product demos still hold to the formula set by Ginsu back in the 1970s, many of the most successful examples have evolved to feature specific viral video traits such as celebrities, humor, cleverness, shock, or “how-to” themes. Others have become nearly unrecognizable as product promotional videos.

Here are some examples:

Shake Weight.

Sigh. How do I even begin to describe this video? On the surface, it’s a very formulaic, straightforward product demonstration, but it has gained so much notoriety in popular culture.

The video is wrong in so many ways that I can’t even allow myself to describe it other than to reiterate: So. Wrong. (But so right at the same time.)

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.