Saturday, March 22, 2008

Is The Drinking Age Six Years Old?

I am sitting in my big recliner, with a pre-season baseball game on the television and I am dozing off. The only thing that would make me fall asleep faster is if Jack Brickhouse were still alive and doing the play by play. With the steady drone of the banal voices that pass for announcers these days, lulling me off to dreamland, I am suddenly jolted back into consciousness by one of the most hideous sounds known to modern America. No, not a speech by George Bush, it's that ubiquitous shill, Billy Mays.

You know the guy, he screams out of the television set at you, demanding that you buy whatever crap he's selling today. This time it's 'Kaboom', some kind of cleaning fluid that apparently will clean anything. Hopefully it will clean up the stain I left in my pants after he scared it out of me. My first response to a Billy Mays commercial is to hit the mute button, but this time both the remote and the cat that had been snoozing on my lap, went flying across the room when I was startled by "HI!! I'M BILLY MAYS.", bellowing out of the TV. By the time I found the remote the offending commercial was gone.
I don't know what marketing geniuses have determined that screaming at prospective customers is an effective device for selling products, but it must work. Why else would every other commercial on cable television feature Billy Mays screaming at me to buy Oxy-Clean or some kind of crazy folding ladder. What ever happened to the days of catchy little jingles and animated scrubbing bubbles.

When I was a kid, I particularly liked the Alka Seltzer commercial with Speedy. He was cute, and his song was catchy. The commercial that I think was the most effective back in the 1950's was the Hamm's Beer commercial with dancing bears out in the forest. It literally made me want to go get an ice cold beer, and I was only six years old. When I was finally old enough to actually drink beer, I discovered that Hamm's sucked, but at least that commercial got me to try Hamm's Beer once. That's better than Billy Mays, I won't ever buy anything he advertises. He gives me a headache.


  1. All I have to do is hear the first two or three beats of that drum and I know what is being advertised. I don't understand why, when they have a funny commercial show, they are always from another country. The good old US is just to uptight to laugh at itself or god forbid, go a little naughty. Oh well, I guess the sheep keep buying so the wolfs keep selling.

  2. As I said before...You need to get a job writing for some mag or newspaper Alan. This stuff is funny.

  3. I agree with Garet. You do have a way with words. It is funny but TRUE! Thanks for the laughs Alan.

  4. Okay, talking about irritating commercials....maybe you haven't seen the newest Harry Caray impersonator shilling for AT&T. I couldn't stand the real Harry and this is just torture. Makes me want to cut my landline! The irritation factor may make you remember the product....but only so you DON'T buy it!!

  5. That must be a local ad, it's not running in Florida.
    I actually loved Harry Carey, he made boring games interesting. He was really good teamed up with crazy Jimmy Piersal doing Sox games.
    I also really like Harry's daughter, Mariah.

  6. Oh, My, Gahd!!! I agree with you completely, Alan. I do exactly the same thing when BILLY MAYS comes on TV. Hit the mute button. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who can't stand this guy.

    Obnoxious doesn't describe him well enough, but that's what comes to mind. I sure as hell don't buy any of his products.

    We still have the Pillsbury Dough Boy....."hehehe"

  7. Sometimes I just want to throw that Pillsbury Doughboy in the oven and bake him.