The 10 Most Successful Infomercial Products of All-Time

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Infomercials have been around almost as long as TV has existed, and though they be cheesy or grating at times, they absolutely work, and the format has spawned an industry that boasts over $150B in revenue each year. It’s time to take a look at the most successful infomercial products of all time, and understand how each has found so much success. There are a few trends here including fitness, food and comfort, and it goes to show which types of products succeed the most with infomercial sales.

[Photo via Getty Images]


10. Thighmaster (Total Sales $100M)

Half of all the products on this list are fitness-related in some form or another. There’s nothing like sitting on a couch to make you feel like you’re being lazy, and should order a fitness product to keep you in shape. The beauty of the Thighmaster was that you could stay on your couch and use it, as it required you to be sitting most of the time anyway. This was the grandfather of many home fitness products, many of which you will see on this list coming up.

[Photo via UBC]

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9. Sweatin’ to the Oldies (Total Sales: $200M)

In addition to fitness products, ie. a physical object to help with fitness, there are also fitness programs. One of the first and most well known was Sweatin’ to the Oldies led by the indomitable, enthusiastic Richard Simmons. The program was a massive hit in the ’80s, and more than 20 million people would go on to order the program and get in shape with Simmons. He had many other fitness programs, but Oldies was Simmons’ most famous and successful endeavor.

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8. Snuggie (Total Sales: $400M)

Sometimes the simplest of concepts can spawn a hundred million dollar product, even if it seems ridiculous on the surface. The Snuggie sold itself as a revolution in comfort, but it’s really just a blanket with sleeves. But it found success because most people watching were sitting on their couch with a blanket, and having sleeves could be seen as something that would directly benefit their (couch-based) mobility. It’s also something that could easily be bought as a gift, as someone of any age or background can enjoy a product that’s simply, undeniably comfortable, however goofy it may be.

[Photo via Snuggie]


 7. Ped Egg (Total Sales: $450M)

At its core, the Ped Egg is a relatively gross idea for a product, a device that scrubs away dead skin from calloused hands and feet, but it found success all the same with a relatable concept and a low price of only $10. The ease of use, cheapness and what apparently is an overwhelming need for such a device led to the massive success of the Ped Egg, which has racked up $450M in sales during its infomercial-led lifetime.

[Photo via Ped Egg]

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6. Total Gym (Total Sales: $1B)

We turn back to physical fitness with the Total Gym, a complex piece of equipment that promised users a total gym experience with one product. It was transformable into any number of positions, which did deliver on its promise, but mostly it was helped by its recognizable frontman. Chuck Norris led the Total Gym to huge sales around the world, and the fact that it was an expensive  piece of equipment instead of a $10 Ped Egg allowed it to rack up over $1B in sales around the world.

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5.  Showtime Rotisserie (Total Sales: $1.2B)

When compiling this list, I was frankly surprised not to find more food-related products, as they are usually heavily featured in infomercials. But only two made the list, and the Showtime Rotisserie was one of them. The tiny rotisserie oven has sold over 2.5M units around the world and made its creator Ron Popeil a very rich man.

[Photo via Showtime]


4. Bowflex (Annual Revenue $193M)

We’re now shifting from total sales to annual revenue, which changes the metrics of the list a bit, but it seems as if a running income is better than total sales, so these products are higher up. One of them is yet another home gym system, the famous Bowflex which uses bending metal to get its customers in shape. Over 2.5M Bowflex machines have been sold, even as it faces increased competition from other fitness programs and products that are cheaper. And the company is still growing, even debuting all the way back in 1986.

[Photo via Bowflex]

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 3. George Foreman Grill (Annual Revenue: $202M)

The other major food competitor on this list is the George Foreman Grill, and its appearance here will likely not surprise very many people. There was a time where literally everyone owned a George Foreman (and for many, that time was college), as it allowed for easy grilling in a small space, something that few other products have been able to replicate. With a great product and Foreman as its pitchman, over 100M grills have been sold to date.

[Photo via Getty Images]

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2. P90X (Annual Revenue: $400M)

The mother of all in-home work out programs, P90X is a massive cash cow for its parent company, Beachbody, and its pitchman Tony Horton has become practically a household name with a tough program that emphasizes both strength and flexibility. He’s also come out with P90X2, and P90X3 was released just last year. The workouts have been reduced from an hour to thirty minutes to better reflect changing, time-sensitive trends in the world of fitness.

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1. Proactiv  (Annual Revenue: $1B)

If you’ve ever wondered how Proactiv manages to attract so many different A-list celebrity spokespeople like Jessica Simpsons and Kanye West, the answer is A) their anti-acne product does work for many people and B) they have billions of dollars to pay these celebrities with given how much Proactiv brings in. You may see their commercials all the time, but you likely don’t have any idea just how well the face wash system sells. Acne is an eternal problem for teenagers and adults alike, so it’s no surprise a well-marketed system like this does so well with its infomercial pitches.

[Photo via Getty Images]

Written by Paul

Paul lives in New York with his beautiful and supportive wife. He writes for Forbes and his work also appears on IGN, The Daily Dot, Unreality Magazine, TVOvermind and more. It's a slow day if he's written less than 10,000 words.