The Cool New Ad Vehicle Is the Infomercial

If the above headline made you instantly cringe, I feel you. When I sat down at PSFK‘s Designing the New Shopper Experience conference in New York City on Oct. 20 to hear someone named Rachel Tipograph talk about how cool infomercials are, I wasn’t expecting the ick factor I associate with stilted-feeling QVC segments to go away.

But Tipograph, the founder and CEO of video shopping network MikMak, has achieved the impossible: She’s made infomercials cool. Really cool.

MikMak takes the basic premise of the infomercial—selling products through taped or live segments with a host—but turns it on its ear by injecting hip humor and one-click checkouts into its 30-second mobile-friendly spots. A lot of the company’s videos—which are openly and obviously pushing product—are so funny and/or clever, you’d want to watch them anyway. 

The idea is pure catnip for millennials, who respond to (and share) video content like crazy. “It’s QVC for the Snapchat generation,” quipped Tipograph, who was the youngest-ever executive at Gap when she served as the company’s global director of digital and social media at 24.

When Tipograph was brainstorming MikMak, she thought, “How do I do video commerce that does not annoy people?” She said she knew infomercials were a $250 billion industry and that short videos were becoming a big craze online. But how to marry the two?

“I couldn’t understand why people in my industry weren’t talking about infomercials,” she said. “Then I thought, this idea of infomericals…it just needs to be packaged entirely differently. We needed to make super-short videos that were shopable—the Internet is about the attention economy.”

At its heart, MikMak “is an entertainment company,” she added. And that ethos is evident in the reams of share-worthy segments the company has created for brands including GE and beauty label Red Flower.

Check out the first-ever video MikMak created—a hip, cheeky intro to the mobile shopping platform here.

(Photo courtesy MikMak)


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JCK Senior Editor

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