In a world where crushed M&Ms become whole and people walk backwards gracefully, Billy Mays is known by millions as Syam Yllib, He Who Balks Tackwards. This is the YouTube world of Alex Connery, who has given us a gift of hundreds of commercials and clips that are reversed to run backwards. Exactly why he’s created these turned-around videos is a mystery, but he’s obviously taken a lot of time and care to create this huge collection, so why not enjoy some?
Billy Mays Impact Gel in reverse is replete with shots of people moon-walking backwards. You’ll be struck by how much Billy’s voice sounds like a Swedish pitchman. Or should we say ″Pitch människa″? If you don’t recall what it sounded like originally, you can check it out on our Top 20 Billy Mays Commercials page. Continue reading →
Watching him in action in this video, you can see where Vince Offer gleaned much of his humor, if none of his bombast. Al Spino, the original pitchman for ShamWow, was a mentor not only to Offer, but also to the late, great Billy Mays and a slew of other industry big-mouths. On March 12, Spino, who was featured in the 1999 documentary Pitch People, left this world at the age of 78 to hawk As Seen on TV products in the great infomercial in the sky.
“Life’s a pitch!”
Fellow pitchman Andrew Sullivan posted this memorial on his Facebook page:
“Al Spino, my friend and one of the greatest pitchmen ever passed away today at 78 years of age! Al You are a legend, you will be missed, I love you! Thanks for all the one-liners and laughs. RIP my friend and go and find Billy and bally a tip! Life’s a pitch!”
Those petitions for pay on the new crop of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.com seem hip and modern, but they’re really just something with which American consumers are all too familiar: the infomercial.
Chances are, without the carnival barking and zany antics of showmen like Ron Popeil and Billy Mays, the slick revivalists of the long-form commercial would still be going the traditional route of snagging dollars to launch their weird products. After all, the twenty- and thirtysomethings hawking things like the Duo Coffee Steeper likely grew up on a steady diet of “set it and forget it.”
“What’s more, the form of these short Kickstarter films genuinely mimics those of their ’90s predecessors,” writes Cale Guthrie Weissman at Pando Daily. “Someone’s talking into a screen, there’s an issue to be solved, they provide a kitschy and inoffensive way of presenting the issue and its solution. Honestly, the only main difference between most of these videos and late-night infomercials is the wardrobe, and the feigned live audience.”
As the crowdfunding model becomes more mainstream, it’s only a matter of time till there’s barely a difference between what the hip young things are putting before our eyes, and the commercials of their forebears, those master petitioners who invented the cornball pitch.
GripGo suction mounts your cell phone in a convenient location on your dashboard or windshield for safer use while driving. Great for making handsfree speaker phone calls or using your smartphone as a GPS navigation system.
Jordan Pine reviews As Seen on TV products and commercials on his website The SciMark Report. Jordan thinks the GripGo spot is “just about perfect,” and I agree. David Jones is a pleasant and effective pitchman. There are two effective demonstrations, one involving a bowling ball. This commercial really reminds me of Billy Mays’ 2009 classic spot for the Jupiter Jack, down to the “be there in 5 minutes” call from the office. So I’m thinking the producers were just a teensy bit influenced by the earlier work.
Time passes so quickly – it’s hard to believe that this is the third anniversary of the death of Billy Mays. We still miss him, and wonder what he would be pitching today, if Death had not taken him at the top of his game. We’ll never know, so let’s console ourselves with a survey of “Every Product Billy Mays Ever Pitched” from the folks at MentalFloss (or check our Top Ten Billy Mays Commercials). As devoted Billy Mays fanatics, we think they may have missed couple, but we applaud their efforts anyway – and we’ll close IN ALL CAPS TO HONOR BILLY’S UNIQUE PITCHING STYLE. GODSPEED, BILLY!
Some folks call it BILLY MAYS MEMORIAL CAPS LOCK DAY, some call it BILLY MAYS REMEMBRANCE DAY, but we all TYPE IN CAPS TO HONOR BILLY’S UNIQUE PITCHING STYLE. LOVE IT OR HATE IT, PUMP UP THE VOLUME OR HIT THE MUTE BUTTON, WE CAN ALL AGREE THAT BILLY MAYS CONVINCED MILLIONS OF PEOPLE TO BUY THE PRODUCTS HE PITCHED. HE WAS A FULL-VOLUME PITCHMAN, AND A STAND-UP GUY, AND THAT’S WHY TODAY WE SHOUT OUT IN ALL CAPS.
After last week’s return to the Discovery Channel schedule, PitchMen is back this week with another new episode, The New Gun in Town. Here’s the episode description:
Sully and assistant Kennedy head to a Chicago home and houseware convention to hear some sometimes crazy pitches for the “next big thing”, including an easy stringer and a tater tornado. Then Sully heads to the circus to test a revolutionary new needle.
From the description, it appears the three products featured in this episode will be EZstringer, Boardwalk Tater Tornado and One Second Needle. It’s interesting to note the return of former MTV VJ Kennedy, who first appeared in last week’s episode. Is the show being revamped to add Kennedy as Sully’s permanent sidekick? Could it be an attempt to add missing pizzaz to the struggling show with a known personality who won’t be perceived as a replacement for Billy Mays? It will be interesting to see how this plays out. We just hope that more new episodes air in the coming weeks.
The New Gun in Town airs Tuesday, January 25 at 7PM E/P.
Season two of PitchMen follows Anthony “Sully” Sullivan as he attempts to pick up the pieces and continue making inventors’ dreams come true after the sudden death of his longtime friend and pitch partner, Billy Mays.