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MikMak Reinvents the (Comedy) Infomercial

An iOS shopping app using video in a whole new way

by David Graver
on 02 June 2015

One percent of our gross GDP is attributed to sales from infomercials—a market of 250 billion dollars. Most sales are conducted through the big three producers, and the word itself has gained a negative, sometimes laughable connotation. And yet, in many ways, they work. Not only did Rachel Tipograph, founder and creator of MikMak, learn this—she thinks she can reinvent it. And if MikMak's initial content is any indicator, Tipograph has succeeded. MikMak is the first of its kind; a mobile video shopping platform featuring original comedy content as the impetus for sales.

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The origins of MikMak stemmed from Tipograph's time as the Global Director of Digital & Social Media at Gap. There, she explains, she tasked herself with the question: "How do I drive sales on the internet, not annoy people and increase a brand's health and relevance?" This led her down various rabbit holes of information. "Regardless of who you are on the internet, you are going to fall into the same traps to make a sale online," she explains to CH. "It's promotional emails and retargeted advertising to everyday people—and they are the most annoying things, but they happen frequently enough that enough people use them as triggers to purchase an item." This isn't what Tipograph wanted.

Tipograph dug into web video. She found that professional content generally far surpassed user-generated content, except under two circumstances: comedy and extreme sports. On TV, an area she was familiar with she noticed that "The Super Bowl spot never ends with a bumper." But in the world of infomercials, there was a call to action. With all of these moving parts—mobile-ready comedy content and an infomercial-like point of sale—Tipograph founded MikMak, an app that pairs comedy with products she believes in.

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Tipograph enlisted Eric Ornstein, former lead global buyer at Fab.com, as MikMak's VP of Merchandising. Regarding what they stock, Ornstein explains, "We all know that there are a lot of products out there in the world and a lot of products that don't need to be told through what we are doing. That's one of the first questions we ask ourselves, 'Does this product truly require video?'" All of MikMak's products are under $100 and they sell nothing that's sized. There's an emphasis on accessories and beauty products, as well as items with a novelty factor that actually warrant consideration.

The MikMak app is free to download and contains exclusive content and an array of gift-able items.

Videos and screenshots courtesy of MikMak

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