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Karma Chameleon Telephone: See Boy George Himself Sell a Singing Plastic Reptile

I don’t know how I missed this for so many years, but in 2003 someone made an infomercial for the Karma Chameleon telephone, a phone featuring an animated chameleon that sings the 1983 Culture Club hit whenever someone calls. Best of all, the infomercial features none other than Boy George himself hawking this novelty:

Like Mr T’s endorsement of the Flavorwave Oven, this is another instance of a 1980’s icon reduced to ransacking his decades-old pop culture persona to peddle a product. But at least the Flavorwave Oven didn’t mock Mr T’s life’s work every time someone used it.

Other than the desperation that must have led Boy George to agree to this, the most appalling thing about the Karma Chameleon phone is that it costs $69.95—and this outlandish price is touted at length as some sort of selling point! “Don’t expect to pay $120 or $100.” I wasn’t, thanks.

Although the Karma Chameleon telephone infomercial looks more like a comedy sketch than a real advertisement, the product was real. You can read this article about it from Entertainment Weekly, find it for sale on Ebay, and watch this video of a man’s Karma Chameleon phone in use.

If the Karma Chameleon phone seems like a joke it’s because it did start out as a joke. The Karma Chameleon phone was first created as a prop for this funny BT (British Telecom) television commercial:

The BT advert (as they say in the UK) was promoting free evening and weekend calls and not selling the phone at all. Nonetheless, many in Britain wanted the Karma Chameleon telephone and it was soon put into production. The infomercial was an attempt to introduce this novelty item to the US market, but without the prior publicity generated by the BT commercial the overpriced phone with a reptile singing a 20-year-old pop tune promptly failed in America.

A red, gold, and green thank you to TheOldOakSyndicate for letting us know about the Karma Chameleon telephone infomercial!

Comments

  • 6 Responses to “Karma Chameleon Telephone: See Boy George Himself Sell a Singing Plastic Reptile”

  • I felt sorry for Boy George doing this commercial…until I realized that anyone who willingly goes around dressed like that is beyond humiliation.

    Comment by euGene on June 5, 2013 at 2:58 pm

  • Those stoned frat boys in the beginning of the infomercial would probably beat up Boy George if they ever met him.

    Comment by bookendz on June 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm

  • Wow. Talk about desperation. Then again since he took a pounding on that play he & Rosie O’Donnell backed, he could probably use the coin. As I understand it now he’s flat broke. Even still though no matter HOW bad I was off financially I don’t know if I could ever lower myself to do this.

    Comment by Kyle L. Varnell on June 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm

  • 1:02 “LARGE BOTTONS”

    Comment by Tim H. on June 5, 2013 at 9:48 pm

  • LOL! Good catch, Tim!

    Comment by Paul Lucas on June 6, 2013 at 1:19 pm

  • BUT THE CORD IS GREEN PEOPLE!! GREEEN!

    I never knew I needed this phone. Wonder if it can work with Drama-Tel?

    Comment by Frau on June 19, 2013 at 8:01 pm

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