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.