One of the great pleasures we've enjoyed over the years was the Discovery Channel's Pitchmen, which featured TV's legendary salesmen Billy Mays and Anthony Sullivan as they searched for newly invented products that they could feature in the kind of 30-minute infomercials that often populate very late-night television programming.
While many of the kind of products that are often presented in that kind of advertising tend to be somewhat offbeat or don't have great reputations for quality, Sullivan and Mays' Pitchmen was fascinating to watch from both the perspective of the stories of the inventors and inventions they were evaluating and also from their make-or-break business assessment of what makes for a successful product, where even the best laid plans for a seemingly compelling product was no guarantee of success. In a lot of ways, Pitchmen was Shark Tank before Shark Tank, but better because it never got mired down in that big broadcast network show's Queen for a Day-type pleading.
We were recently taken back to those days because of a story at Core77 featuring an inventive design solution to the problem of how to protect what's yours inside a refrigerator, which linked to the following vintage two minute-long ad from 2010 (the best part is when the bear makes its appearance!)
The best way you can tell if a product is successful is if it's still being sold, years after it was first pitched to the public!