Infomercials are a hotbed for wellness products, and no one knows this better than Kevin Harrington. Since the 1980s, Harrington has been instrumental in the launch of more than 500 products. He currently serves as the chairman of the board of directors for As Seen on TV, Inc. and is a business executive for Celsius Holdings, Inc., a health-beverage company based in Boca Raton. He spoke with PBI.com about trends in the wellness sector.
PBI.com: How did you first get started in the infomercial industry?
Harrington: I'm a serial entrepreneur for many years back. Thirty years ago, I saw that when cable first launched many of the channels went dark at a certain hour. I went to my cable company and said 'Why don't you have anything there?' And they said, 'Because programming costs us money and we just can't afford any more.' So, I started providing them programming of products and giving them a percentage of the sales. I was one of the original pioneers of infomercials.
What portion of the products you work with fit within the health, fitness and wellness sector?
It's probably a good 25 percent. Health, wellness and fitness are very demonstrable; that makes for a good infomercial.
How have you seen consumer interest in health, fitness and wellness products evolve over the years?
We see the trends. Right now, [it is] the trend of eating better and understanding what you're consuming. More and more companies are providing better quality meals on the run. It seems like more and more grocery stores are catering to 'hey, come down and pick up your meals for the week, and they're healthy.' I'm seeing that across the board. I think as time goes, [people will be paying more] attention to what they're eating and putting into their bodies. It certainly has been a good thing for our industry to see this happen.
How does this apply to the beverage industry?
There are more and more healthy products in the retail shelves of the beverage industry, and I think calorie count is one of the things you're seeing and better ingredients. You also see more juicing places around. My wife goes to the juice bar around the corner and buys three or four of these juices that last her three or four days. There's just a much more heightened awareness to what you're consuming and making sure that it's good quality and not too heavy on the calories.
What qualities do you look for in a successful wellness product?
The first thing I look for: Is it mass market? Number two: Does it solve a problem? Number three: Is it unique enough such that there's nothing that solves the problem in a similar fashion? Number four: Is there a magical transformation that can occur with the product? If you look at a lot of the fitness products and fitness programs, that's what they're selling is a magical transformation. The last thing, and this is important, is we look for something that is proven. Everything that we do is fully documented and proven with clinical studies or third-party documentation.
How do you see the fitness and health sector growing in the coming years? Do you feel its hit a ceiling or do you see it growing exponentially?
I don't tend to use the word exponentially but I see it growing on a pattern over the next number of years. I believe people are more focused on getting in shape.