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Bionic Alert: Geriatric Actor Lee Majors Sells Geriatric Product to Geriatrics

Lee Majors’ latest infomercial sells a product called Bionic Alert…which seems a little familiar:

Needless to say, this product is a rip off of Life Alert. Compare the Bionic Alert commercial with the original Life Alert ad (back when it was still named Life Call):

If you go to the Life Alert website, you will see that “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”® is a registered trademark, so Bionic Alert doesn’t directly copy that iconic line. However the phrase “I’m having chest pains” is word for word that same line used the Life Alert commercial.

Previously, Lee Majors appeared in the Bionic Hearing Aid infomercial, so he may be developing a brand around the “bionic” label.

The Bionic Alert infomercial is part of an subgenre of infomercial I like to call Geriatric Actors selling Geriatric Products to Geriatrics.

Everyone who produces a TV commercial would like to score a major celebrity endorsement, but big stars cost big money. So marketers of products sold to the elderly realize that they can get someone who used to be a big star 30 or 40 years ago to appear in their TV commercials for relatively little pay. These sort of ads typically run during the mornings and afternoons on cable networks and small local stations.

A whole generation (or two) has no idea who these actors are, but in the minds of senior citizens these people are still major celebs.

Senior Citizen TV Viewer: Look it’s Lee Majors in a commercial for Bionic Alert!

Adult in His Late Twenties: Who’s Lee Majors?

Senior Citizen: He was the Six Million Dollar Man!

Adult in His Late Twenties: What’s the Six Million Dollar Man?

Senior Citizen: He was the Fall Guy!

Adult in His Late Twenties: What’s a fall guy?

Another example of this phenomenon is Henry Winkler (“What’s a fonzie?”) endorsing reverse mortgages, or Robert Wagner (“What’s heart to heart?”) endorsing the Light Relief pain reliever device—that is until Light Relief suddenly dropped him because they were afraid he murdered Natalie Wood.

An even older example is Art Linkletter, who had his heyday in the 1960s, making commercials in the 1980s for the Contour Chair.

Comments

  • 2 Responses to “Bionic Alert: Geriatric Actor Lee Majors Sells Geriatric Product to Geriatrics”

  • It’s particularly upsetting to see Henry Winkler selling reverse mortgages when you’re watching Happy Days. (Thanks for that, MeTV!) However, having already seen Jamie Lee Curtis calmly eating digestive yogurt in a commercial during the movie “Halloween,” I’m getting used to it.

    Robert Wagner is in another ad that’s still running – I think it’s another one for reverse mortgages.

    Comment by Julie on February 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

  • these actors are not appearing in these commercials to rip off the eldlery,they appear because the elderly identify with them,being from their own generation.it’s as simple as that.many of the products that the people advertise actually work.many of them work for some but not everybody.infomercials are too many in numbers imo but i’d never claim that these stars are there in order to rip someone off.these stars by the way are still stars.henmry winkler still does tv as well as many others from 25 and 30 years ago plus.jamie lee Curtis needs to do another Halloween btw..she’s still physically able imo and still has the looks.(I suppose Michael Meyers does too however)I am surprised however,that many people tend to write so negatively of all infomercial products.i believe most do what the product company claims it does,although liken products that are less inexpensive can often times be found in the retail stores.

    Comment by Dennis Teel on January 27, 2013 at 5:39 am

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