The “father of the infomercial” is back, and he’s online.
Kevin Harrington helped launch the long-form ad staple in the early 1980s with Quantum International. He later formed HSN Direct, a partnership with the Home Shopping Network.
This time it’s Reliant, a sleepy Salt Lake City development company Harrington bought last year and moved to Tampa, Fla., where he’s been hawking computers and other gadgets on the tube ever since.
“We’re using television to drive Web sites,” Harrington said. “That’s the new side to this business.”
Reliant’s current formula: find innovative new products that look marketable. Tout the product in infomericals, including a Web address for purchase. After the ads play out, move the item to the shopping networks. The final resting place is the firm’s Web site ( through eternity, or until manufacturing ceases.
Reliant’s current hot ticket is Pest Offense, which emits an electromagnetic frequency to keep bugs at bay. The firm said it is moving 35,000 units per week.
“New products are still exciting to me,” Harrington said, “but the old side of the business continues.” –T.W. Siebert