“Hi Billy Mays here!” If you live in the United States, chances are you have see his commercials or heard his unique voice somewhere. Oxi-Clean, Orange Glo, and KaBOOM are just some of the many products you probably have in your home! I know my mom’s tried a few of his products before. In fact, I just saw a tub of Oxi-Clean sitting above my washer. His voice is strong and powerful, yet so authentic and sincere. This guy should have been #6 on the 5 Most Persuasive People on Planet Earth. What the hell is it about Billy Mays that makes you want to run, not walk, to buy the products he sells?
1. He Grabs Your Attention With His Excitement
Of course you’re going to pay attention to someone who’s screaming at you. Billy Mays is practically screaming his lungs off when he’s talking to you. The energy and enthusiasm Billy has during his infomercials is contagious. People love to buy when they’re excited!
2. He Believes in His Products
You can tell by the way Billy speaks and moves his body around, that he believes in his products 100%. Billy would swear on his mom’s life if you didn’t believe the Oxi-Clean can remove the dirt and stains from your clothes.
3. Dudes Got Sex Appeal
Billy’s target audience are mainly women. If you ask a women to describe Billy, you’ll get answers like rugged, man-ly, and confident. 3 traits that make women go “hmmm”.
4. He Actually Gives a Damn
When Billy Mays is talking during his infomercial, you can tell by the tone of his voice that he actually cares you wear clean clothes. It’s because he cares so gosh darn much, that you instantly believe that he’s doing you a favor by introducing that product in your life.
5. He Creates Major Urgency
If you don’t call right now, you can never have this products again. The alternative version is that if you don’t call right now, you won’t get all these amazing extra gifts for free.
Billy Sells His Products Everywhere he Goes
Billy Mays Sound Bites(Billy Mays Ring Tones Anyone?)
A New Reality Show Called: Pitchmen
Billy Mays and Anthony Sullivan have an interesting show called, “Pitchmen” coming out on the Discovery Channel this Spring. I think Billy is an phenomenal sales person and we can all learn a lot. You can also follow Billy Mays on Twitter.
**UPDATE** Billy past away on June 28, 2009. RIP Billy Mays
Billy Mays doesn't care about anything he is pitching. He is a paid actor. Give me a break. Yes he is skilled. A skilled hustler.
As far as the public can see he does 😉 Even though he gets paid 30k for a 2 minute pitch.
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Something to add about the context of his ads. I could be mistaken but he is the only household cleaning advertisement that shows a male in an authoritative position. Every other commercial is a woman being empowered by the product and the man of the house being a bumbling idiot. I'm not trying to play a sexist card, I just feel it's different, which makes it interesting and therefore noticeable.
Yeah, you are right, he is one of the few if not only dominate male selling household products.
Man, if you're as persuasive as this macho nuisance on steroids, I'll stop following you on Twitter and I'll stop reading your blog. This guy looks like some individual living in a setting from the Idiocracy movie or something.
Actually, Billy does care about the products he pitches. Maybe you should watch “Pitchmen” to get an inside look at things. If the product doesn't work, solves a problem and has mass appeal, he won't sell it. Hustler? People need to make a living somehow, and the people he's selling the products for have spent thousands developing the product. They come to Billy because they know he'll do a great job in selling it for them. The products are useful; therefore, people buy them. Maybe I'm wrong here, but isn't that how direct marketing is supposed to work?
Lol…Valdimir, It's fine if you don't like this guy, a lot of people don't! He's just a very unique character who's good at what he does. Even if being good at what he does is because of his unique personality, he's used it successfully enough to make it big time. He gets paid 30k for 2 minute infomercials! It's crazy, I know! No, I don't in all act like him, but I do admire his ability to show energy and enthusiasm at a whole other level!
Great input Alan! I agree, all the products he sold so far do exactly what he sells you on. My favorite was the Hercules Hook 🙂
I love that guy. I watch his commercials like people watch tv shows.
haha I agree with you Andrew, he's very entertaining! I'm always quickly sold on his products too 🙂
I never heard of that one. My favorite is Mighty Putty. 🙂
I hear him talk about that one all the time, but I never used it. The hooks are amazing. They can hold so much weight compared to a thumb tack or something. I have my snowboard hung up on a wall with 2 hooks of those hooks. I think each hook can sustain about 40lbs.
Ahh… I think I know the hooks you're talking about now. I didn't remember what they were called. Yes, they are pretty amazing.
Nice post – love him or hate him, AJ has a point, he's communication is memorable – that's why he makes 30k in 2 mins and it's also why we are discussing him. Read everyone's comments – He is the brand name and face for all these products just mentioned. Those marketers know what they are doing.
We can definitely learn something from this guy – whether we love him or hate him.
I just saw the news that Billy has died. This is very sad, and I know he'll be missed by many. I don't think you'll find another pitchman as good as Billy was. Looks like Anthony Sullivan will be taking the spotlight now. This is just hard to believe after all the other star deaths that have happened recently.
Wow. a lot of comments. Spot on, AJ. Awesome article. I like how you observed and quantified persuasive techniques related to appearance (sex appeal) as well as belief (trust in the products) and techniques (urgency). I referenced in Cialdini's six laws of persuasion and saw this is an even more interesting insight where the law of “scarcity”, “liking” (sex appeal and targetting women, and charisma) are massively persuasive as well. very cool observations. Thanks!
Okay, I have different insights and reflections after observing the youtube clip. insanity + persuasion + obsessive sales + a seemingly inexhaustible amount of charm and charisma and sexual energy = Billy mays. He looks like Steve Tarrant a captain I met on SEA semester out of woods hole. AJ, you should scrutinize what he accomplished there! He created allure, and appeal with his charisma. He negated and nulled the uninterested buyers (the blonde woman who said “I like my last name”) he interjected scarcity like you said and special deals. I don't think this guy could NOT sell his products if he tried! He clearly has a VERY “always on auto-pilot” sales mental program. it was interesting the “pulling” body language used by the three employees at the end of the clip. Billy Mays looks like a very effective persuasive and sales person, but I am glad I am not billy mays.
I also watched his Discovery Channel show Pitchmen and found him to be a genuine character. They will be paying a tribute to him next Thursday night.
There still planning to air that show?
wow…I want to watch it!
yeah cool show title! Sounds interesting! I thought about pitching a script, but am not interested in film. What's pitchmen about? People who professionally sales pitch? Sounds interesting! Interesting to see all types of sales!
I would love to have that gig 🙂 The show is about 2 pitchman, the late Billy Mays and Sullivan (from the UK) who take other people's products and sell them. Supposed to be on the Discovery channel
Yah, he has truly made a powerful impact with everyone on this planet.
I never seen Anthony Sullivan pitch, but I guarantee it's not as unique as Billy.
Thanks for the references 😉
lol. Yah, I bet he is on autopilot, but that video was him joking around. Him being like that all the would undoubtedly be annoying
I've only seen one of his pitches before in an actual commercial, and it doesn't have the same vibe as Billy's. Billy certainly received a higher response from his pitches, and they proved that during the one episode of Pitchmen when they both pitched the same product and compared the results over a week or two.
Oh man, I wonder if it's on Hulu. Yah, Billy had much more energy & enthusiasm. He calls it “projecting” his voice, not yelling
You can look and see. I've personally never been on Hulu before. Yes, I agree… it's apparent that Billy was passionate about it. “Projecting” is a very good word to describe his voice. He had a voice of authority and power, which is why his commercials pulled so well.
This was an awesome case study! Billy Mays really was an insanely gifted marketer. The guy could sell milk for higher prices.
Interesting overview article.
so there is issues. i visit your blog more in the future. good luck.
so there is issues. i visit your blog more in the future. good luck.