Do you know those infomercials that present some new product that is supposed to make your life easier, but the demonstrations they give for how hard it was the old way are totally overblown to the point of being inaccurate and comical?

For instance, picture someone drenched in sweat struggling to remove bubble gum from their driveway with a jackhammer in the middle of a hurricane while the neighbor's dog is chewing on their leg - the old way, then a quick spray and wipe with a big smile on a beautiful, sunny day - the new way. The words hokey and gimmicky come to mind, but those don't quite capture it. I'm looking for a word to describe the sales pitches that make you scoff, regardless of the potential efficacy of the product being peddled.

  • 1
    "snakeoil" comes close – ottodidakt Dec 17 '15 at 4:21
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    @ottodidakt I think the OP is asking more about the nature of the sales pitch itself rather than the nature of the product. Snakeoil would be a fake product, but in the example OP gives, the product might be genuine. – Munir Dec 17 '15 at 4:41
  • Yes, I'm looking for a way to describe the pitch itself, especially for the type of shameless, or ignorant, assertions made by the salesman that would lead one to believe that either the salesman assumes the mark is an idiot or the salesman doesn't know much about the product they are trying to sell. If you need more clarification please don't hesitate to ask. – brock Dec 17 '15 at 4:49
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    Would you accept hype? – deadrat Dec 17 '15 at 5:29
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    "But wait! There's more! If you call within the next fifteen minutes, we'll also include a combination colander and spaghetti drainer absolutely free! Now how much would you pay?" – Mark Hubbard Dec 17 '15 at 6:47

Perhaps you can term those ads as spurious

spurious (adj.)

not genuine, authentic, or true; not from the claimed, pretended, or proper source



Say what? Remove bubble gum with a quick spray?! Totally spurious!

Update 1

Even absurd will fit the description well.

absurd (adj.)

utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false



Look at all the absurd claims that these tele-marketers are making about the bubble gum removing spray!

  • Absurd could work, but in referring to the unbelievable exaggeration of how bad the "old way" is, I'm trying to capture the brazen misrepresentation of some action that the audience members all clearly know to be less dramatic or troublesome. – brock Dec 18 '15 at 2:04

demonstrations they give for how hard it was the old way are totally overblown to the point of being inaccurate and comical?

I would call that hyperbole:

exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.—OED

  • +1 for focusing on the core idea I was getting at, but the activity I'm referring to is meant to be taken quite literally. It's just not believable. – brock Dec 18 '15 at 1:58
  • I guess you could say that those pitched are over the top. – ralph.m Dec 18 '15 at 3:33

You could consider using bogus which means the following:

Not genuine or true (used in a disapproving manner when deception has been attempted): Elderly people are being warned to beware of bogus callers following an attempted burglary in Sutton.

[Oxford Online Dictionary]

Or sham might be appropriate:

something that is not what it appears to be and that is meant to trick or deceive people.


  • I hereby deem shamwow as the word the OP is looking for. – Mazura Dec 18 '15 at 23:14

Another way to describe shameless assertions would be bald-faced:

shameless and undisguised; bare-faced

(Oxford American Dictionary)

In the context of a shameless oversell, you could say the salesman's claims were bald-faced.

  • This is very close. I don't like it, but it's probably the most correct description for what I'm getting at. Darn it, I was hoping to learn a new word today! – brock Dec 18 '15 at 2:06

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