Canadian Infomercial Giant Targets Primetime TV Brands

Thane Direct

But wait! There's more! Thane Direct is moving from celebrities to popular TV shows and their producers to sell product by the truckload.

TORONTO — If you've battled insomnia, you know Amir Tukulj — not personally, but you've likely seen his infomercials produced in Toronto by Thane Direct and hosted by Cindy Crawford, Melissa Rivers and Mr. T. as they demonstrate and pitch beauty, health, fitness and food preparation products such as Slim N Lift, Magic Bullet, Swivel Sweeper, H2o Vac and the 9 Minute Marinator.

But now, Tukulj, who as Thane Direct chairman and CEO operates home shopping channels in the U.K. and the Middle East, sees a whole new market opening up as primetime TV shows become brands and their producers look to sell product by the truckload.

"Out of a TV series, a global brand can be created," he told The Hollywood Reporter about merchandise sales revenue opportunities.

We're no longer talking D-listers selling kitchen appliances late night or on weekend mornings.

Thane Direct is targeting primetime TV brands, piggybacking on their celebrity cast and websites to sell product via well-honed direct-response campaigns.

Tukulj points to UFC and how it exploited its fan base to sell T-shirts, hoodies, skull caps and other apparel, or the TapouT apparel line subtly creating one-hour infomercials for primetime TV.

"It's immersive advertising in the show, to the advantage of the producers to integrate the pitch inside the show," Tukulj explained.

He sees the increasing convergence of the traditional 30-second commercial and the infomercial in brand integration as allowing Thane to partner with a broadcaster, a TV star, or an indie producer, to create a product and a direct-response campaign that generates additional revenues.

Of course, piggybacking on a TV brand can be both a soft or hard sell.

"It can be as subtle as using cookware in a show or going as far as to say, 'I'm using a new set of cookware and I'm showing you, but when you get some time, go to a website and buy the cookware,' " he insisted.