In 1991, former Three’s Company actress Suzanne Somers became the spokesperson for the ThighMaster, an exercise product designed to shape one’s thighs. You put it between your knees and squeeze. It was advertised as very easy to use – you can watch TV while exercising with it. Almost 25 years later and it’s still a hot commodity. Now it comes with a built-in vibrator — ThighMaster Vibratro (two AA batteries required). And yes, Somers is still the spokesperson.
What is now known as the ThighMaster was originally marketed by Joshua Reynolds, heir to the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company fortune. (He also sold a lot of Mood rings in the 1970s.) But it was marketing guru Peter Bieler who turned the ThighMaster into a household name. Bieler licensed the product from Reynolds, which meant Bieler had the exclusive rights to sell it and paid Reynolds royalties. When they launched the product in 1991, within 18 months they sold six million units. Somers subsequently bought the rights to the ThighMaster. She’s now worth about $100 million.