Next week, direct-response marketing juggernaut Telebrands will roll out a new ad campaign for Jupiter Jack, a tiny gadget intended to turn your car radio into a giant cell phone speakerphone. The star of the spot is recently deceased pitchman Billy Mays.
Why run the spot? For starters, both Telebrands and the Mays family know that Billy would have wanted it that way.
“We struggled with this decision,” [Telebrands CEO A.J.] Khubani tells DailyFinance. “There’s no precedent, and we really don’t know what’s going to happen. There could be a tremendous backlash.”
There’s a lot at stake. The new infomercial will air in “every market in the country,” Khubani says, and Tellebrands spent millions on the airtime. The spot has been tested in several markets, on a very limited basis, in the weeks before Mays’s death. “We’ve been watching the results, and they haven’t gotten worse or better, which means people are buying the product because they like the product,” says Khubani. “Quite frankly, I think it’s the product that’s going to carry the day, although Billy Mays certainly enhances it. Still, we’re taking a big gamble on using a spokesman who’s not with us.”
How will you react upon seeing a new Billy Mays spot? Fear of zombie pitchmen? Happiness at seeing him still on the air, doing what he loved?