Billy Mays: Pitchman or Genius?

225px-Billy_Mays_headshotIt has been a sad week with the passing of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and now Billy Mays. While Mays never had the celebrity status that the others did, he was a celebrity in his own right. 

Known for being the screaming face of “As Seen on TV” products like OxyClean, Orange Glo, and other cleaning, home-based, and maintenance products, Mays was a marketer’s best friend. The in-your-face approach worked so well that Mays has been able to move hundreds of thousands of units of product, regardless of whether or not they actually worked. Most recently, he had moved to prime-time with pitch jobs for ESPN 360 and even starred in his own show “Pitchmen” on the Discovery Channel.

Every marketer dreams of having a front man like Billy Mays. A person, whose approach to selling product resonates with the consumer, makes the product memorable and brings an extreme ROI to any campaign. Others have tried to match his success (think ShamWow), but none have come close. While many have though Mays’ abrasive, loud style was annoying, no one can dispute the sheer success he had seen over his career.

Around the world start-up, potential As Seen on TV manufacturers are mourning the loss of the man that could make them millions. I suspect that some will attempt to mimic his style, (but doubt that anyone will succeed) Mays provides us with a great case study on how personality and presentation can really sell any product, regardless of their effectiveness.

Posted by: Lauren

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