Ronald M. “Ron” Popeil is an American inventor and marketing personality, best known for his direct response marketing company Ronco. He is also well known for his appearances in infomercials for the Showtime Rotisserie (which included the famous catchphrase: “Set it, and forget it!”). He also well known for using the phrase, “But wait, there’s more!”
Popeil was born in New York City in 1935. He learned his trade from his father, who was also an inventor and salesman of numerous kitchen-related gadgets (including the Chop-O-Matic and the Veg-O-Matic) to major department stores. The logistics of selling the Chop-O-Matic caused a problem that marked the entrance of Ron Popeil into television. The Chop-O-Matic was so efficient at chopping vegetables that it was impractical for salesmen to carry all the vegetables they needed to chop. The solution was to tape the demonstration. Once the demonstration was taped, it was a short step to broadcasting the demonstration as a commercial.
Ron initially operated as a distributor of his father’s kitchen products and then later formed his own company (Ronco) in 1964. He continued as a distributor for his father and later added additional products from other manufacturers.
Popeil received the Ig Nobel Prize in Consumer Engineering in 1993. The awards committee described him as the “incessant inventor and perpetual pitchman of late night television” and awarded the prize in recognition of his “redefining the industrial revolution” with his devices.
Some of the products associated with Ron Popeil include:
- Chop-O-Matic: a hand food processor
- Dial-O-Matic: successor to the Veg-O-Matic
- Popeil Pocket Fisherman: a small fishing pole
- Mr. Microphone: a short-range hand-held radio transmitter that would broadcast over an FM radio
- Inside-The-Shell Egg Scrambler
- Six Star 20-Piece Cutlery Set
- Showtime Rotisserie: a small rotisserie oven designed for cooking smaller sized portions of meat such as whole chicken and lamb
- GLH-9: hair in a can (Great Looking Hair Formula #9)
- Smokeless Ashtray: a device which used an integrated fan to draw smoke away from the materials in the ashtray
- Electric Food Dehydrator
- Ronco Popeil Automatic Pasta Maker
- Ronco Rhinestone Stud Setter
- The Cap Snaffler: bottle opener