Ronco

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For other uses, see Ronco (disambiguation).
Ronco
Industry small appliances
Founded 1964
Founders Ron Popeil
Headquarters Chicago, IL, United States
Area served Worldwide
Products Stainless steel Rotisserie, Veg-O-Matic, Kitchen Knives
Website www.ronco.com

Ronco is an American company that manufactures and sells a variety of items and devices, most commonly those used in the kitchen. Ron Popeil founded the company in 1964,[1] and commercials for the company's products soon became pervasive and memorable, in part thanks to Popeil's personal sales pitches. The names "Ronco" and "Popeil" and the suffix "-O-Matic" (used in many early product names) became icons of American popular culture and were often referred to by comedians introducing fictional gadgets.

History[edit]

In the beginning, the company chiefly sold inventions developed by Popeil's father, Samuel "S.J." Popeil. Products include the Veg-O-Matic and the Popeil Pocket Fisherman, a product manufactured by S.J. Popeil's company. During the 1970s, Ron Popeil began developing products on his own to sell through Ronco. In August, 2005, Popeil announced his sale of the company to Fi-Tek VII, a Denver holding company, for $55 million. He was expected to continue working with the company as spokesman and product developer, but sold the company in order to have more time with his family. Fi-Tek VII changed its name to Ronco, and maintained the right of first look for Popeil's future inventions.

Ronco used to hold the trademark on the phrase "set it and forget it",[2] used in the commercials for the Showtime Rotisserie Grill. The phrase has gone on to be used in popular culture, including an episode of the comedy news program The Daily Show that reported on a Senate debate over catchphrases for summarizing positions on war in Iraq.

On June 14, 2007, Ronco filed Chapter 11 in U.S. bankruptcy court. Paperwork filed showed that Ronco creditors, the largest of which is Popeil himself, were owed US$32.7 million.[3]

In 2011, CD3 Holdings, Inc., a consumer products company, acquired Ronco.[citation needed].

In 2014, Ronco Holdings was purchased by Infusion Brands and merged with As Seen On TV. They launched the Ronco Ready Grill in hopes of revitalizing the brand name.[4]

Awards[edit]

  • The Ronco Inside-The-Shell Electric Egg Scrambler, from 1978, won 84th place in Mobile Magazine's Top 100 Gadgets of All Time.[5]
  • Consumers Digest Award "Best Buy in Rotisserie" Dec. 2010[citation needed]

Records[edit]

Ronco, like its rival K-tel, is also known as a record label, mostly issuing compilation albums created for TV advertising and licensed from the major record labels. In the United Kingdom, its first album was 20 Star Tracks, released in 1972. It issued three number one albums, the That'll Be the Day soundtrack in 1973 (which was removed from the chart while at number one as TV-advertised compilations were banned from the chart), Disco Daze and Disco Nites in 1981, and Raiders of the Pop Charts (released at the end of 1982, topping the chart in 1983). Its then-novel marketing techniques made it a major force until the emergence of the Now That's What I Call Music albums and their imitators, after which Ronco rapidly disappeared from the UK album market in 1984 when its parent company went bankrupt. Many of its UK ads in the 1970s and 1980s, whether for its kitchen products or albums, featured the voice of Tommy Vance.

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