I have done a few pieces where I have written about an interesting idea in TV which is then taken to its extreme, and I suppose that this is another example of that. When Price-Drop TV launched in 2003, I remember that they ran a promotion saying that any item that they sell could go down to just £1! (plus the p&p of course!) But I don’t ever remember this happening in the early days.
A while later, they launched a special feature called the Megadrop, where they said that selected items would be guaranteed to go down to £1. I remember watching a lot around this time because I really wanted to see this happen as I thought that it would be an exciting moment. The presenters insisted that they hadn’t been told which of the items that they were going to sell would be a Megadrop, and when it finally happened, I noticed a few things.
Firstly, there was the response from the presenters. This was rather amusing, and I remember that their responses ranged from total disbelief to just squealing with shock. Also, when there was a Megadrop, there was a huge demand, with hundreds of people phoning in and the item selling out in seconds. And, in those days, it did seem that there were some really good bargains, with several items that had a decent value going for £1.
It seems that Price-Drop won an award for this innovation. I’m not sure what it was exactly but I remember that they described themselves as “award-winning” for many years after. So I thought that was all rather good. Not long after this, when Bid relaunched their format and had falling price auctions too, they decided to introduce their equivalent of Megadrops, and this made me realise something.
We would now see how some of the presenters on Bid including dear old Peter Simon and Andy Hodgson would respond to all of this happening. I wondered if they would get really overexcited too, and they didn’t let me down. First of all, there was Peter. He would usually respond to a Megadrop by clapping his hands, endlessly shouting “it’s a pound!” and then running around the studio.
He would also compare the price to other things, saying things like “for the cost of three large oranges, you just got this!”. He would even occasionally lapse into his famous “no… is that right?” routine. Andy Hodgson was equally enjoyable. He would also get very overexcited by all of this. He couldn’t believe how the price could go so low, it was just so naughty.
The novelty begin to wear off after a while though, a lot of items that weren’t of much value often went down to £1, it was very unlikely that they would’ve lost money on any of them. And not long before they went off air they even struggled to sell out Megadrops which really showed what position they were in by that point. But to once again create something really exciting and silly in the world of shopping TV channels was a great thing for Bid to do.