"This business has legs": how I used infomercial marketing to create the $100,000,000 Thighmaster craze exerciser : an entrepreneurial adventure story

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John Wiley, May 14, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 206 pages
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The marketing genius behind the ThighMaster exerciser tells the story of his wild ride across the informercial frontierYou're channel surfing and an ad catches your eye. It might be Nordic Track exerciser or Hooked on Phonics program or ThighMaster exerciser--any one of a thousand products that have sold millions and made millions more for entrepreneurs and investors.In 1990 Peter Bieler, a video producer and former Procter and Gamble marketing executive, decided to leave his corporate job and become an infomercial entrepreneur. The result was a breathtakingly successful campaign for an exercise device called the ThighMaster exerciser which generated sales of $100 million. This book is a highly entertaining account of Bieler's wild ride across the infomercial frontier.In 'This Business Has Legs' Peter Bieler explains everything you need to know to succeed in direct response television while regaling you with stories of some of the most astonishing characters to be found in a business narrative.There's the Swedish fitness guru who runs the most famous celebrity health spa in California; the chubby knife pitchman from New Jersey with the magic fingers; the Wall Street refugee who became a new age entrepreneur; and the sharks who swarmed and tried to eat the infant company. But there's more here than just a good read. Today, infomercials are a billion dollar business, where small entrepreneurs rub shoulders with corporate giants such as Microsoft, Procter and Gamble and Ford. And nobody knows more about direct response television than Peter Bieler.Do you need to have a background in advertising or video production to be successful in this business? (Not if you have this book which steers you to the right service and supply companies.)Why should corporate executives advocate using direct response in their marketing mix? (This book explains how direct response is fully accountable advertising, and analyzes how major corporations can use it to introduce new products.)How much does it cost to hire a star spokesperson? (Less than you think, if you structure your deal correctly. Peter cast Suzanne Sommers.)How much funding does an independent entrepreneur need to get started from scratch? (This book includes a discussion of start-up business plans.)Where do you find good products to sell? And how do you choose correctly? (Guidelines included)This book is packed with resources and behind-the-scenes tips and tricks. 'Peter's Rolodex,'a special feature at the end of each chapter, lists key contacts and companies.PETER BIELER (Los Angeles, California) has sold his stake in Ovation, the company that sold the ThighMasters, and now owns a consulting company that advises clients on the use of infomercials. SUZANNE COSTAS (New Rochelle, New York) is a contributing editor at Bloomberg Personal and was associate editor at Worth.

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Contents

A Hollywood Adventure
9
An Irresistible Product
63
A Virtual Start Up
105
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

\PETER BIELER has sold his stake in Ovation, the company that sold the ThighMaster Exercisers. He now owns a Hollywood-based advertising agency that specializes in infomercial marketing and another company that funds infomercial media purchases. SUZANNE COSTAS is a contributing editor at Bloomberg Personal and was an associate editor at Worth magazine. She divides her time between New Rochelle, New York, and Boston, Massachusetts.