Sunday, June 28, 2009

Celebrating a Week of Death

This is a reprint of an earlier post. Billy Mays died on Sunday. I hate to see someone die prematurely, but I sure am glad if it will end the screaming commercials. I am sitting in my big recliner, with a 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 Ann Coulter, 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. There are others waiting in the wings just as Billy took over from Popeil(The pocket fisherman). There is Shamo and his rags and also that English fellow. Since you dislike Ann's voice so much, you might try reading her book, Guilty, Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America.I promise you will not fall asleep as you do watching baseball.Ann is a #1 New York Times best selling author.

  2. Obviously I have listened to Ann Coulter if I know how horrible her voice is. The woman is insane and spouts insane things all the time. I find that far right conservatives are less likely to listen or read anything that they might not agree with. That's why they have Fox news, to constantly reinforce their thinking. Lately it's the righties that have been whining about being "victims".

    By the way, I actually like the Shamwow ads. They're funny, even if he doesn't intend them to be.

  3. You go, Alan!!! Ann Coulter ranks right up there with the Billy Mays voice of irritation, plus she's LOONEY!

  4. The Discovery Channel has been airing the show Pitchmen for the last few months which featured Billy Mays and Andrew Sullivan. Besides being very entertaining, you got to know what Billy Mays really was like when he was not yelling at you to buy crap you did not need. Too bad Billy past he was a decent guy, who helped people get their ideas to market. RIP. P.S. Hamms tasted good on hot summer days when you were 10 years old stealing a sip from dad's open can. Paul