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Way Back Wednesday: An Homage to Billy Mays

Posted by Nicci | Posted in Cleaning Aids, Household Products, News, Way Back Wednesday | Posted on 30-06-2010

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While this doesn’t go “Way Back,” we here at Seen On TV Express would be remiss if we failed to acknowledge the first anniversary of the death of Billy Mays, one of the leading pitchmen for infomercials and as seen on TV products.  Monday, June 28, 2010, marked one year since the passing of arguably the best television pitchman of this generation.

Billy Mays is perhaps best known for promoting Orange Glo International’s line of cleaning products, which includes Orange Glo, OxiClean, and Kaboom!  After he began selling their products, Orange Glo International saw a marked increase in sales, despite his loud, abrasive technique (which led one Chicago Tribune writer to proclaim the anniversary of his death “ALL CAPS DAY”).  Because of his success, Mays became highly requested as a pitchman for as seen on TV products such as Mighty Putty.  He was so successful that he became founder and CEO of Mays Promotions, Inc.

At the time of his death, Billy Mays was starring with his colleague Andy Sullivan in the Discovery Channel series PitchMen, which chronicled their efforts at direct-response marketing.  Originally titled But Wait . . . There’s More, the series aired a special tribute to Billy Mays after his death.  The series was renewed for a second season with Billy Mays III stepping in for his famous father.

Mays was found dead in his home on June 28, 2009, at the age of 51.  Early speculation tied his sudden death to a head injury Mays suffered during a flight, but the autopsy results concluded his cause of death to be hypertensive heart disease.  Although the initial autopsy found evidence of cocaine in his system, a subsequent autopsy ruled that cocaine was “not a significant contributing factor” in his death.  The release of the toxicology report disappointed Mays’ family and friends.  According to his longtime friend AJ Khubani, CEO of Telebrands,  Mays was “the model of a responsible citizen.”  Pallbearers at his funeral wore khaki pants and blue shirts to mimic the “uniform” Mays was known for wearing during his infomercial sales pitches.

Despite the controversy surrounding his death, Billy Mays will always be remembered for his boisterous personality and energetic sales technique as one of the greatest television pitchmen of our time.

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