Snake Oil is a new show on Fox where contestants have to guess which products are real and which are made up. Despite its proven effectiveness, Wear A+ has attracted attention from some quarters for being a slightly unconventional device (one satisfied customer even used the word “cartoonish” to describe their first impression!), so it’s no wonder that Snake Oil’s producers considered the product ideal for the show’s format.
Respiray’s CEO, Karl Annus, recently made the trip to Atlanta, Georgia to present Wear A+ on Snake Oil. We caught up with Karl upon his return to the office to find out about his experience on the show. Now, we’re excited to offer you a sneak peek behind the scenes of the new gameshow that’s set to take the States by storm!
How did the opportunity to appear on Snake Oil come about?
I actually met the producers at CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas back in January. They visited Respiray’s booth at the expo as they were interested in Wear A+, and we talked about our company and the product. At that point I actually had no idea they were looking for products for a new show, but then in the springtime they sent us several messages and we realized that they were very keen. In all honesty, in those early days we still thought it was some sort of scam or a sketchy pay-to-play offer!
It must have felt like being a contestant on the show, trying to work out if they were for real or not?
Yes! When they first approached us they were being very secretive about how the show works, which channel it airs on and who’s responsible for its production, so even when they reached out to me personally I must confess I still had my doubts. It all started to feel a bit more real once we’d completed the first round of casting and drawn up contracts with Fox and the production team though – that was when we knew they were definitely serious.
How much did you actually know about Snake Oil before you went there?
I knew what the basic idea was, but I didn’t know much about the format. I also knew a bit about the background of the producers – for example, they’ve worked on a number of other top-level TV shows like The Masked Singer, I Can See Your Voice, America’s Most Wanted and multiple shows with Gordon Ramsay including Kitchen Nightmares.
What was the biggest surprise for you?
Even when I was at the studio recording the episode, I had absolutely no idea which companies were real and which weren’t. Before I went there I was certain I’d be able to easily differentiate the real products from the “snake oil” but I was actually wrong in most cases, which shows that they really did a great job of creating the fake ones!
Did you see any other interesting “products” while there?
One that particularly grabbed my attention was Vaportini, a product that enables users to enjoy the flavors of alcoholic spirits by inhaling them rather than drinking them. Although the idea sounded great and the physics behind it made sense to me, I couldn’t be certain whether it would actually be real or not. It turns out that it is, and I have to say it’s the one product I saw on the show that I’d really like to try out and see how it works. Another memorable one that surprisingly turned out to be real was Mouser, which is cat food made from minced mouse meat. Mouser’s ad clip was hilarious and the product itself is definitely something new and unique in the market!
Why was Wear A+ a good fit for the show, and why did you choose to appear on it?
In reality, I knew very little about the show’s format until I was actually in Atlanta shooting the episode, so they were the ones chasing us and not the other way around – they obviously felt that Wear A+ was the kind of product that could be easily mistaken for a fake concept! As an early-stage start-up, it’s super important for us to spread our message in any way we can and to get the product seen by as many people as possible – incredible opportunities like this don’t pop up every day, so it was a no-brainer for us when it came along.
How do you think appearing on Snake Oil will benefit Respiray?
As the show has millions of viewers, many new people will get to discover how Wear A+ can benefit them, which is great for them and for us. They will also see the validation that Wear A+ is the real deal and not a “snake oil” product! Ultimately, we hope that we’ll be able to convert all this extra brand awareness into more sales.
What was the reaction to Wear A+ from the people you met? Did the contestants guess correctly that Wear A+ is a real product?
Overall we received a very positive response, and many of the people who saw Wear A+ agreed that there’s a real need for such a product. If you want to find out how the contestants guessed you’ll have to watch the show here!
How was the experience of being in an American TV studio and appearing on the show?
I have to admit, I was seriously impressed by the production quality. Everything was done to a highly professional level – each little detail was taken care of, and everything worked out exactly as planned.
What was it like meeting presenter David Spade?
He was a great guy, really down to earth. You could see that he actually wanted the contestants to win and he was trying to help them as much as he could. He also had a great sense of humor off-camera, which helped everyone to stay relaxed and enjoy the experience.
Finally, how can we see you and Wear A+ on Snake Oil?
The episode first aired on Fox on November 15th 2023, but you can still catch it online.
Curious about Wear A+? Find out more about the air purifier.