Ronco, the appliance company and infomercial leader known for items such as the Veg-O-Matic and the Pocket Fisherman, holds a place in everyone’s heart.
The company that’s kept you glued to the television in the wee hours of the morning since the 1960s now has a new offering -- its stock. On March 30, Ronco announced it is going public through a Mini-IPO (also known as a Regulation A+), with an estimated valuation of more than $110 million, according to MaketWatch.
Ronco dominated late-night television for decades by offering out-there kitchen appliances with entertaining, suspenseful sales tactics. The company has lost momentum in recent years, but it’s still creating new product lines. Now, Ronco is using its signature upselling tactics to persuade people to buy its stock. It’ll even throw in a countertop rotisserie oven for individuals who buy more than $5,000 in shares.
Many of the company’s iconic appliances and sales slogans are the work of its founder, Ron “Ronco” Popeil. Often referred to as the “Godfather of the Infomercial,” Popeil set the stage for this new sales method, paving the way for others such as Billy Mays and Vince “ShamWow Guy” Offer.
In honor of its recently announced IPO, check out these eight fun facts about Ronco and Popeil.
1. Popeil created some of the infomercial world’s catchiest slogans such as, “But wait, there’s more”, “Now, how much would you pay?” and “Set it and forget it.” He also coined the term “As seen on TV.” Many of these lines were unscripted and improvised.
2. Ronco’s first television infomercial was for the Ronco Chop-O-Matic.
3. The popular Veg-O-Matic is so iconic, it now has a place in the Smithsonian. Saturday Night Live also did a spinoff of the popular product, the “Bass-O-Matic.”
4. The company launched in 1964, and by 1969, Popeil’s personal net worth exceeded $1 million.
5. The 1970s Ronco invention, Mr. Microphone, was considered the first karaoke machine.
6. There are some Ronco products you’ve probably never heard of. The Homewriting Analysis Kit and a Subliminal Message Tape to help people quit smoking never picked up in popularity.
7. The Pocket Fisherman became such a hit that Popeil named his two boats after it -- Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman I and Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman II. Popeil’s father, who was also an inventor, came up with the idea for the compact fishing rod.
8. Many of the most popular Ronco items are still available today, including the Veg-O-Matic, the Pocket Fisherman, the Food Dehydrator and the Showtime Rotisserie.