Infomercials Revisited: Perspectives of Advertising Professionals
An infomercial can basically be described as a program-length paid advertisement that promotes an organization's product or image through information and persuasion (Balasubramanian, 1994). Usually a direct response element is associated with infomercials (for example, an 800 toll-free telephone number) that interested viewers can call to order the item being advertised or to seek additional information (Weinstock, 1993). There has been a relatively steady rise in infomercial popularity since the mid 1980s. Until that time, infomercials were rare due to the 1973 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines that prohibited lengthy commercials (that is, one hour of programming could contain no more than 12 minutes of commercials). Yet in 1984, these guidelines were revised. At that same time, the cable industry was starting to grow and provided an alternative to network television for advertisers (Grover, 1990). This also contributed to the steady increase in infomercial popularity among advertisers.