TODAY   |  December 28, 2013

The making of an infomercial: Watch a plane get pulled by putty

Experts say gimmicks only go so far when customers are shopping for a product, but that doesn’t stop the people behind the infomercial. TODAY’s Janice Lieberman reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the secrets of late night infomercials. are those products really worth more than entertainment value? consumer correspondent janice lieberman got a behind the scenes extreme.

>> i know they get you. over the top extreme selling infomercials seem unreal and even rigged. we were given filming access to one commercial right in the heart of mohave desert .

>> it's amazing mixing the power of air and water can do!

>> sthey sure do get your attention.

>> it has the strength to pull this 80,000 opinion hound tractor-trailer.

>> reporter: companies are pouring millions of dollars into the making of a spot that will hopefully make them millions.

>> and action.

>> the way we look at it. we need to sell a million units to break even . we sold 27 million sticks before. this product is much better and stronger. i love the purple. kind of pops on tv.

>> reporter: so how do you make an info smer halls about putty interesting and how do you prove its sticking powers are powerful? nationally, you have to pull a 747 in the middle of the mohave desert .

>> high production, information, is definitely not the future. the reality is we need tos plain stops and simple stops to believe it.

>> reporter: it's a 40,000-dollar gamble for a 30-second commercial.

>> if you can't do it in the parking lot of the federal trade commission you don't do the demo.

>> reporter: is it just entertainment or do people real believe it and buy it?

>> it has entertainment value but the entertainment value has to be real and the product has to really work and that translates into sales for us.

>> reporter: is this demo real?

>> what we did we hooked up the hook to the tow bar . two plates of the putty. what we do now is lift this up to look -- we want to see the line of the chain, is it straight?

>> come on!

>> come on, baby. can you move it?

>> reporter: no.

>> this happens to be a product that has strength. one of the things we want to do to tell people if it's strong enough to pull 300-ton pound 737 you can use it in your home.

>> reporter: just eight seconds of this video, but will it fly with consumers? they are banking on it. it's do or die! how mighty is mighty putty .

>> it has the strength to pull this!

>> reporter: the makers hoping this proof will "stick" with the consumer bringing in mighty bucks for mighty putty . experts say that only go so far when it comes to selling a product. the product has to perform but this was something to see. putty pulling a plane in the most javy desert. this was really an -- usually.

>> but it was real, you saw it?

>> it was not rigged. it was real.

>> that is cool. sometimes the commercials aren't what they appear to be.

>> according to the ftc, if they can't do it, then