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The Shake Weight Hits $40 Million In Sales
CNBC.com | August 20, 2010 | 03:43 PM EDT

Call it this year’s Snuggie. The Shake Weight, thanks in big part to the sexual innuendo associated with its ad, is the “As Seen On TV” product of the year. Fitness IQ, which makes the weight that now comes in men’s (five pounds) and women (2 ½ pounds) versions, says it has sold more than two million of them in less than a year. At $20 apiece, that’s $40 million in revenue.

The key to success, it seems, is to make a product that has some benefit, come up with an infomercial that’s funny and viral and then bring it from television to retail. While the real Shake Weight commercials have been viewed on YouTube more than 10 million times, it’s the parodies, both on the site and on television, that have made the product impossible to ignore. How many times does Saturday Night Live spoof a product and use the product’s real name? Click here to see what SNL did with the Shake Weight.

Fitness IQ’s founder and Chief Executive Johann Verheem told me that the lewd nature of the spot is obviously key to making people watch.

“In direct response television, we’re always looking for ways to stop the channel,” Verheem said. “It definitely stops the channel."

The free advertising got even better this week as the New York Jets ordered 100 Shake Weights. The fun was captured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” a program that takes viewers inside the team’s practices and games.

The Shake Weight was on the screen for one minute and 15 seconds and was mentioned seven times, according to Eric Wright of Joyce Julius, a sponsorship evaluation firm. That was worth $224,750 in equivalent advertising time, Wright said.

Verheem said that the men’s version of the weight was only introduced two months ago and the company has already sold about 500,000 units. He expects to sell 10 million of them before its time is done.

Whether that happens or not, this product will forever be in our “As Seen On TV” Hall of Fame.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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