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After a while, someone at Media Corp came across Bibbo's blanket and sent a link to Pardo.
"When I first saw it, I thought it was a unique product, which is one of the most important things," Pardo says. "Like most people, you get a chuckle out of it. I didn't think too much of it to begin with, to be honest, but once we put it out there and the data came back, at that point you take emotion out of it and go by results."
After Media Corp signed on to market the blanket, Pardo quickly dropped the price. (Adjusting price points is common once Media Corp gets hold of a product.) Then he found a manufacturer that could produce a cheaper version of the blanket more efficiently.
The next step was the commercial. Airtime isn't terribly expensive, as long as you don't specify a time slot and stick with smaller basic-cable networks, like SOAPnet and the Game Show Network. Media Corp shot the spot in its Overland Park offices, using the company's receptionist as a wife who can't make it through another night next to her gaseous husband. The Better Marriage Blanket saves the day, of course; the last shot is of her sleeping soundly, a smile on her face.
The commercial aired in some smaller markets, but its real impact was online: It racked up 800,000 views in four days on YouTube. Over the next week, the blanket was being discussed by experts on CNN and joked about on Howard Stern. Bibbo even went on Today.
When an infomercial says to act now (supplies are limited!), it's not always a gimmick. Media Corp produced only a few thousand blankets to sell because sales for new products are usually modest. The company quickly found itself turning away credit-card orders.
Still, Bibbo has yet to make his money back. He's $70,000 in debt from production of his fart-absorbing linens. "Everyone assumes I'm rich. ... That's not the case at the moment," he says. "You'll know I've made money if you see me in a new truck."
He could be shopping for one soon. Because of the explosion in interest — almost entirely thanks to social media — Pardo expects retail outlets to start carrying the Better Marriage Blanket before the holiday shopping season.
"I don't want to sound too vulnerable," Bibbo says, suddenly sounding like a guest on CNBC. "But, yes, we are hoping for a good fourth quarter."
There's a stockroom in the basement of Media Corp's offices, where products that didn't sell go to collect dust — exercise machines; inventive range finders for bowhunters; even an "80-Hour Energy Spray," in a small bottle, that groggy users apply just below the tongue and wait for liftoff. The products spill over the edges of cardboard boxes that are stacked on shelf after shelf.
It's possible that versions of the Better Marriage Blanket, now retailing for $29.95 for the smallest mattress size, could end up here. But Media Corp has found success with inventors with far less exposure than Bibbo.
Todd Wikstrom is one. At 50, Wikstrom half-jokingly tells friends that he's working on a book called "50 Failures," with a chapter for every invention that bombed before he and Media Corp struck gold with the Microwave Caddy.