Kevin Trudeau: The King of Public Relations via Infomercial

The art of fighting without fighting…the art of selling without selling.

—Kevin Trudeau

In a matter of twenty-five years, Trudeau built an infomercial empire that advertised and promoted his books, and making millions in the process. Many of the books contained unsubstantiated claims teaching millions of Americans, desperate to solve their own health and life issues, a cure for whatever ailments they suffered from.

If you were a night owl flipping through the channels on your television during the nineties and millennium, you might have caught any one of these infomercials. While you might have found the infomercials a bit corny, millions of customers around the world bought his books and believed his message!

Some of his most infamous books were the Natural Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About, a book that sold more than five million copies, and The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. Of the works he authored, these two drew the most criticism from medical professionals and from the authorities.

So, how was Trudeau able to sell books with unsubstantiated claims to so many millions?

Trudeau pretty much mastered the art of selling his ideas without selling. Now, some people would look at some of his claims and laugh at the ludicrousness of selling books that made some of the most outlandish statements, statements that include:

  • That sunscreen was associated with skin cancer. Instead, sunlight was the cause.
  • That AIDs was a hoax.
  • That other sexually transmitted diseases could be treated with natural cures.

Trudeau’s books challenged conventional wisdom regarding modern medical practices and was so successful at doing so because he tapped into human desire to make life more pleasurable. By offering consumers a simple answer to some of the most complex human issues, problems that usually take a long time to resolve, he hooked the viewer and then ultimately made the sale.

…But, was Trudeau’s advertisements any different than many of the other products featured during these late night spots used to eat up television time?

No, they are all similar in theme to the tease, please and seize strategy, where the ad presents a problem the consumer may or may not relate to, then the audience is instructed on solving the problem, and finally, they pull audiences in with another pitch.

In fact, some experts say many of these ads play on our emotions by tapping into the pleasure-seeking neurotransmitter dopamine, also responsible for being the source of addiction.

Ironically, public opinion regarding Trudeau is mixed with many of the complaints about his company being that it failed to honor payments and return refunds, and the claims made in the books were false. So, technically, he was not doing anything during these infomercials but selling a product that many apparently felt had value.

People love to buy, but they hate being sold.…

—Trudeau

Ultimately, Trudeau was right about being sold on a product or service, especially when his answer was not the cure for whatever ailed the person.

Consumers became increasingly angry! In fact, at some point, his claims were so unbelievable that medical experts and the public at-large focused enough attention on him that the authorities soon investigated.

In the end, he was ordered to stop promoting his books on late night infomercials, and when he did not stop this promotion, he faced a series of charges. In 2014, he was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for claims he made in Weight Loss Cures.

Trudeau, PR king or infomercial swindler?

You could argue that a lot of what Trudeau did to sell books was based in public relations activities. He took a powerful medium, the infomercial, and used it to promote books that sold millions to consumers. In addition to his various public appearances, these activities, ultimately, garnered the trust of his customers, public relations at its finest.

But he also took millions of dollars from the public and sold them dubious claims about products to solve serious health issues, a public that you belong to.

Simply put, to many, he probably was both.


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