HI CONSUMERISTS, LAURA NORTHRUP HERE FOR THE BILLY MAYS TRIBUTE POST! Billy is no longer with us, but his oeuvre remains. Let’s take a look back at the ads, products, and gentle self-mockery that made Billy a master among pitchmen.
I hadn’t seen most of these commercials, since I own and obsessively use a Tivo. Did we miss your favorite ad or clip? Share it in the comments.
|Arguably, Orange Glo was his breakout product. Here’s a two-minute version of the infomercial in all of its cabinet-dunking, floor-polishing glory.|
|WOW, A YARD SALE! Watch Billy save an entire yard full of abused furniture in this Orange Glo spot.|
In this Orange Glo outtake, Mays falls over while simulating "years of wear and tear damage" on a hardwood floor with a sander.
|KABOOM! And the soap scum is gone. How many people can radiate this much joy while cleaning a shower door?|
|Infomercial products find a need that people didn’t previously realize they had, then fill it for $19.95. In the case of the Oxi Clean detergent ball, that need was the desire not to measure and pour laundry detergent for months on end.|
|Big City Sliders: Cook tiny burgers on your stovetop for some reason.|
|Samurai Shark – Let’s be honest, this product is way less cool than the name sounds.|
|We can’t forget Mighty Putty.|
|He also pitched a very timely product—low-cost health insurance.|
|One of the reasons that I found Billy Mays tolerable is that he was willing to poke fun at his image, and even at his profession. Pitching baking soda as if it were a new miracle product always made me smile.|
|His series of ESPN 360 ads are also great self-parody. Here, the service is a typical infomerical miracle product that finds a need, then fills it. That need? Watching sports.|
|Or, watching sports while on the run from Japanese gangsters.|
|Finally, Billy pretended to work in an office for a day for an Electronic Retailers Association awards sketch. Too funny. (Check out the outtakes, too.)|