June 29, 2009

A Tribute to Billy Mays.

Billy Mays has been entertaining millions on national television since he first sold OxiClean and Orange Glo on HSN in 1996. Since then, no one has had as great an impact on advertising as Billy Mays. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Billy and to his family and friends. All who knew Billy personally know that he was a great pitchman, perhaps the best we'll ever know, not because he was loud or because of his signature smile but because Billy was a great person. I first met Billy at an OxiClean advertising shoot in 2005. I last saw him at the Response Expo in San Diego in May, 2009. When he was swarmed with friends and fans, he yelled my name to catch my attention and gave me a firm handshake and a smile. Billy was a genuine friend, even to those that came across him only a couple of times each year. Thank you Billy for your inspiration, not only as a pitchman, but as a true friend. Out of the highest respect to Billy, I'd like to share some of the best spots Billy ever did. They portray only a small part of his huge personality. Hopefully, you'll get a glimpse into his energy, his eagerness to help others and his honesty.

TV will never be the same!

June 28, 2009

Billy Mays dies at age 50

Shocking and sad news for all of us. Billy Mays has died at the young age of 50. He leaves behind a legacy that will be remembered for generations to come. My condolences to his family and all who knew this iconic figure and great man.

Details of his passing are still sparse, but FOXNews posted what information we do know a few hours ago.

'Infomercial King' Billy Mays Found Dead in Home - Celebrity Gossip Entertainment News Arts And Entertainment - FOXNews.com
'Infomercial King' Billy Mays Found Dead in Home - Celebrity Gossip Entertainment News Arts And Entertainment - FOXNews.comPosted using ShareThis

June 26, 2009

Interview with an infomercial king

Telebrands CEO A.J. Khubani gave an extensive interview to USA Today regarding the DRTV industry and how inventors can reap huge rewards by bringing their products to Telebrands or a similar company for nationwide marketing. The interview gives a great behind-the-scenes look into the fast-growing infomercial world. A.J. reveals that his private company spent over $300MM on television advertising last year, more than nearly all major consumer product companies. With that advertising spend, you can estimate Telebrands revenues at $750MM to $1 Billion, including retail and international. Wow!

The great news is that if you have an invention of your own and can't get an audience with TeleBrands, it only costs a few thousand dollars to work with a proven advertising producer and get your product on national television. If it makes money, TeleBrands and their counterparts will be knocking down your doors to license your product. I've had a few friends go this route with great success. The producer I know best is Harvest Group in Colorado (www.harvestgrowth.com), but there are a few others as well.

You can read the full USA Today front-page article HERE.

Or see A.J.'s interview below:

June 23, 2009


Cozy. Interesting product. Huge offer! ...that makes for a powerful combination. It's certainly not as entertaining of a product as the Snuggie, but I can see myself using the Cozy more frequently. If the Cozy is truly as relaxing as these actors make it appear, I will use one for those office cat-naps I take all too often.

I'm not sure I've ever seen an offer quite this extensive...for $19.99, they somehow give you a stuffed neck pillow, an inflatable travel pillow insert, a Cozy "arm hammock," a fleece blanket, a fleece scarf, an eye mask and a travel case. I recently purchased a neck pillow in the airport for $20 by itself!

June 19, 2009

Comfort Wipe. Funniest ad of the year?

Comfort Wipe. Intrigued? One of my all-time favorite lines from any movie is in Adam Sandler's Big Daddy, when the little boy gets all excited and exclaims "I wipe my own A#@, I wipe my own A#@!" That is a monumental achievement in a child's life. The first wipe. For parents, it's an even more monumental occasion since it's the last time they will have to wipe their bums for them. Over the course of several decades, though, wiping your rear gets less and less exciting. I must say that I actually don't even enjoy the experience any longer. However, I do look forward with worry and anxiety for the day that I will no longer be able to wipe myself. For those that are getting closer to that undesireable destination, there's now a product that promises to give you a few extra days of control...a few extra days where you can still wipe yourself without help from the attending nurse. I guess for even a few extra days, I would pay anything. Yes, this is a REAL product...check out their website.

June 18, 2009

Pitchmen - Green Now

Pitchmen - Green Now. Love it! Last night on The Discovery Channel's Pitchmen, Billy Mays and Anthony Sullivan pitched a new product from Allstar Marketing (from Snuggie fame...) called Green Now! The crux of the idea is that you can spray paint your lawn to look green even though it isn't really green. For those of us born without a green thumb, this product is perfect. And it looks like it actually turns your thumb green when you use it, just as would an aerosol can of spray paint. The secret to Green Now! is that is also includes a fertilizer in its formulation so you not only fix the immediate problem, but you help to grow new, "real" green grass where the brown spots once were. Sign me up!

Upsells. You know when you call in, the companies always try to sell you complementary stuff that you really don't need, but they are at prices so compelling, you can't pass them up, right? Well, with Green Now, everything is different. Take a look at these perfectly completmentary products.

If you like spray on grass, you'll LOVE spray on hair!

If you are still on the phone, then you'll definitely LOVE spray on abs!

June 9, 2009

Kevin Trudeau - infomercial scam artist or hero?

Kevin Trudeau. He's good. He's very good. There's just something about the way he pitches a product. I want to believe him. I want to like him. Even though he's been "busted" by the FTC several times for fraudulent advertising claims. In 1995, I purchased a product off of TV for the first time, Kevin Trudeau's Mega Memory. It was a series of cassette tapes that promised to improve your memory...who doesn't need that! Overall, it seemed like a pretty good system. I listened to the entire program. I filled out the entire workbook...and it seemed to work pretty well. It was basically a summary of all the standard memory tricks for remembering people's names, etc., but it worked as well as any other system, I imagine.

Well, after being banned from the air waves - a ruling came down several years ago that Kevin couldn't sell anything on TV with the exception of books (huh?). Rather than being beaten down by this hurdle, he went on to sell millions of copies of "Natural Cures They Don't Want You To Know About." This was followed up by his smashing success, "Debt Cures They Don't Want You To Know About." Next came "The Weight Loss Cure They Don't Want You To Know About." You get the idea. I've heard from a very reliable source on YouTube that he's ready to launch one of the following as his next big success:
  • Federal Stimulus Package Cures They Don't Want You To Know About
  • Global Warming Cures They Don't Want You To Know About
  • Cures For Infomercial Scams I Don't Want You To Know About

It's easy to judge Kevin Trudeau. I wrote him off years ago when I first heard about his chastisement from the FTC. However, a recent ruling came down against him for $37MM in response to supposed fraudulent claims made in his "Weight Loss Cure"advertising. Read his bio on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Trudeau), and you're sure to come to the same conclusion...BUT, watch this video of a recent "television" interview and you may change your mind...a great example of just how convincing he can be...even when you want to hate him...

There are several more videos in the long interview...I just wanted to give you a small taste here...

June 5, 2009

Shark Tank - new reality show for entrepreneurs

Shark Tank. A new reality show is coming our way this fall. If you like the Discovery Channel's Pitchmen, then you'll love Shark Tank! It's not a new concept. Actually, it looks like an exact copy of the BBC's Dragon's Den. However, since we get all of our best shows from the U.K. (The Office, The Office, and a few others...), I have high hopes. Also, with Survivor's and The Apprentice's Mark Burnett as the executive producer, we're sure to have compelling content.

Shark Tank is essentially a forum where inventors pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors in an attempt to convince these millionaire investors to share their own money to launch the entrepreneurs' dreams. The panelist that is sure to capture our attention is Kevin Harrington. As the founder of OmniReliant Holdings, Kevin has been a mainstay in the DRTV industry for years. You may remember it was his brother that funded the Dual Saw on Pitchmen a few weeks back.

Check out the trailer for the show:

...and compare with the U.K. version, Dragon's Den:

June 3, 2009

Pitchmen - iCan Health Insurance + Awesome Auger

Pitchmen, June 3, 2009. Nothing really new this week. Did Billy Mays and Anthony Sullivan run out of new product ideas? We've all seen both of the ads they focused on during Pitchmen today, iCan Health Insurance and Awesome Auger. Both great ads, and the Awesome Auger continues to be a huge DR hit as we roll into the summer months. I'm starting to question the results they claim on Pitchmen...each week, they seem to have one monster hit, but I haven't seen many of them show up on the rankings, or show up often on my television for that matter...So I'll just give you my raw opinion of the ads.
iCan Health Insurance: Pure genius. Getting Billy Mays involved in an insurance ad was a very creative idea. We have so many insurance options, and most of us are hesitant to trust a brand we're not familiar with. iCan smartly linked up with Billy to bring credibility to the company. Also, the positioning of the ad is ideal for our economic times...healthy insurance for everyone. I haven't seen this ad show up in the rankings, but I'm sure it will be a continued success if the business that backs it up is legitimate...or until our U.S. government starts to provide free insurance to everyone...

New Awesome Auger: Seasonal products don't work on DR. Power tools cannot be successful in a 2-minute infomercial. We've heard claims like these before, and, frankly, I'm surprised Billy took on this product in the first place. However, ever since its first airing, the Awesome Auger has been a steady hit each summer, and 2009 appears to be no different. Is it Billy's attention grabbing personality? Is it because of the powerful demos that make it look like your household drill can rip up even the toughest problems in your backyard? I'm not sure, but this is certainly one of those ads you can't turn off when it comes on. Expertly done, and very compelling...not that I'll ever buy an Auger, but I still love the entertainment value of the ad...

June 1, 2009

Wonder Vase

Wonder Vase. Cool idea. In a nutshell, Wonder Vase is a moldable plastic flower vase. If you want a beautiful vase to show off in your home for years to come, this is not what you're looking for. However, giving flowers isn't just about beauty. When you're looking for a fun way to display flowers, you've found it in the Wonder Vase. This is the ideal vase for "crafty" moms or kids. You can really have fun with it. I don't think they captured the "fun" aspect enough in their infomercial, so I don't believe it will ever be a hit, but if they tweaked the spot to focus on how Wonder Vase helps you to interact with your flowers and enjoy them more as an "experience" then it could be a real winner. Also, you don't always need 20 uses for every product...the travel idea...I just don't get it...