Infomercial icon Ron Popeil, the man behind the slogan ‘But wait, there’s more!’ passed away at the age of 86.
Popeil, widely regarded as the father of the TV infomercial, died Wednesday at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Both an inventor and a marketing icon, Popeil was something of a pioneer when it came to direct-to-consumer marketing – his face and name became synonymous with the products he sold for over three decades with a fortune estimated at $200 million.
Some of Popeil’s slogans will live on, including: ‘But wait, there’s more!’, ‘Set it and Forget it’, ‘Less Shipping and Handling’.
Ron Popeil, the father of the infomercial and creator of such items, including the Pocket Fisherman, Hair in a Can, and Set it and Forget it’ Rotisserie, has died aged 86.
The Showtime ‘Set it and Forget it’ Rotisserie grossed over a billion dollars in domestic sales and shattered sales records on retail networks like QVC
Under his company RONCO, which he founded in 1964, Popeil sold a wide variety of products, including: Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone (a karaoke machine), the first music compilation record collections, Hair in a Can, The Pocket Fisherman, Inside the Eggshell Egg Scrambler and the Rhinestone Stud Setter later called the Bedazzler.
All items considered innovative were archived by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC
Popeil started with just a small table on Maxwell Street in Chicago, selling kitchen products, but he had a knack for sales pitch and immediately connected with the public and potential buyers from all demographics.
His pitches at Woolworth’s flagship store #1 in Chicago became must-see live entertainment with hundreds of people flocking to see him at work.
Can hairspray is a hair styling product where an aerosol spray is applied to balding areas of the scalp to create artificial hair that covers that area
GLH, is still for sale today and was one of the products that Ronco developed in the 80s
A perfect gift for any fishing enthusiast, the As Seen on TV Ronco Pocket Fisherman includes all fishing accessories such as a hook, swivel, practice plug, weight and float to ensure a good catch
The Pocket Fisherman was invented in 1963 by Ron Popeil’s father and went on sale in 1972
Popeil shone on the airwaves in 1959, bringing captivating pitches with him.
His first infomercial was for the 1959 Chop-o-Matic classic vegetable cutter, which sold two million units.
It was the beginning of what would become hundreds of products, all marketed to a worldwide TV audience, especially late at night.
His popular infomercials led him to make dozens of cameos in TV shows and movies.
In addition to connecting with the public, Popeil was incredibly adept at identifying a need for a product that consumers might not have known existed and would then adapt and engineer it to make it more customer-friendly.
If he wasn’t improving the items already on the market, Popeil would invent his own, including: Popeil’s Pasta Maker and Food Dehydrator.
If Popeil appeared on home shopping channels, his products would sell quickly
The Showtime ‘Set it and Forget it’ Rotisserie was its most successful product, earning over a billion dollars in record sales on home shopping channels.
Popeil’s focus on kitchen products is said to come from his own upbringing, where he did not grow up in the traditional family structure and was sent to boarding school from the age of three.
He saw food as a way to bring families together and wanted to create products that were both easy to use so that families could come together through cooking.
But for all his success in business, Popeil’s pride was for his family and close friend who he would call “The Rontourage.”
He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Robin, his four daughters and four grandchildren.
Ron Popeil will be seen in Los Angeles, California in March 2020. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Robin, his four daughters and four grandchildren