Monday, November 10, 2008

Billy Mays, and Sham Wow.



It is probably bad form to spend a week with the monks and then, first day back, write a post on my favorite TV pitchmen, nevertheless . . . a few posts ago I mentioned my appreciation for the work of TV pitchman Billy Mays whose most recent ad is for a slider-type hamburger pan. If that sells I'll stop eating hamburgers, but who knows. Mr. Mays made advertising news recently (NYTimes) by working his on-camera magic for a health insurance company. The verdict still out on that one.

Billy Mays got his start on the Atlantic City Boardwalk selling a portable washing device. Today, after promoting dozens of products on TV, he is one of the few infomercial salesmen who has promoted a product so successfully, that it is sold in retail outlets. That product is Oxy Clean.

My latest, favorite infomercial guy is Vince in the Sham Wow ad. To demonstrate the ShamWow, Vince pours a liter bottle of Coke onto a small carpet, then absorbs the liquid back into the shammy, and proves its super-sponge like powers by wringing the Coke into a glass bowl. Amazing. There is something about watching a cloth absorb, then release-through-wringing that is appealing to me. Vince is a kind of pitchman for the GenX crowd. He is fast-talking, hip, and even a little self aware. At one point in the pitch he speaks directly to the camerman, "see that cameraman, what do you think of that," he says as he wrings out the liter bottle of spilled coke from his super absorbent shammy. If I needed a super absorbent cloth I would buy. Absolutely.

My TV watching will be cut by about 75% now that the presidential campaigns are over. I do try to watch Office, and an occasional Survivorman ( I read yesterday he was quitting, by the way) and then in a few weeks there will be 24. Can't wait for that. But that is about it. So Billy and Vince, et. al., are just going to have to make it without me.

13 comments:

Travelista said...

What was your week with the monks all about? Just curious. BTW this is Josie from EatThisFortWorth, I'm automatically tagged with my other blog when I leave a comment.

I'm not familiar with Sham Wow, but Billy Mays deserves a place in history (I love being annoyed by him)

Francis Shivone said...

Josie -- thanks, I didn't know that the Travelista and the ETFW blog were from the same person. Now I do.
As to the monastery, I spend 4 or 5 days once a year with a few guys I have known for many years. St Meinrad's Archabbey in Indiana is a Benedictine order monastery which anyone can visit. Beautiful place and great people to learn from.
Ciao.

Andrew said...

I almost bought the ShamWow...

Becca said...

Every time the Sham Wow commercial is on the kids go crazy-I really have thought about buying one. As for OxyClean-the spray is the best stain remover I have ever used. I buy 2-3 bottles a month.

Francis Shivone said...

Andrew -- if I even thought I needed one I'd buy. I did a little research on the product and the conclusion was that if you dampened it a little prior to using it worked great.

Becca --
OxyClean: Really.
Kids: Now I can picture that and that is funny.

whoisjake said...

I've seen the commercial a few times, but seems more like an east coast thing ;)

Who hasn't seen good ol' Billy Mays... he's starting to sell everything!

My favorites are probably the Bullet blender and the LifeAlert (who doesn't like that one)

Francis Shivone said...

I think there is a little eastcoast in Vince. And in Billy Mays. The one infomercial I love to hate is the hand blender with the lady smoking the cigarette. I think that is the bullet blender????

whoisjake said...

I hate to leave free links for this product, but:

http://www.buythebullet.com/

Lizzie said...

Becca got me started on the oxi clean spray and it is the best. I spilled half a starbuck's hot chocolate on myself the other day and I was sure the shirt was done. The oxi clean took it right out, it's amazing.

I actually own the magic bullet blender. In fact I am drinking my morning protein shake right now that I made with it. I bought it at cosco and I love it!

Francis Shivone said...

Wow. Real testimonials. And here I was just poking fun. Thanks Liz.

Francis Shivone said...

Andrew -- your mother and I laughed hard imagining you sitting in front of the TV while considering a call to the ShamWow folks.

netmw said...

I found my ShamWow at Harriet Carter.

ShamWow said...

Thanks for the nice stuff. It must be so so cool.