ShamWow and the Art of the Pitchman
“You’re gonna be in a great mood all day cuz you’ll be slapping your troubles away with the SlapChop.”
You’re gonna be in a great mood all day if you watch Vince Offer hawking crappy products that you know are crappy but seem like a great idea at 2:00 in the morning.
Vince Offer, aka the “Slap Chop Guy,” aka the “ShamWow Guy,” has a rags to riches backstory. The Israeli-born pitchman started with very little; in 1999, he was struggling to finance his movie (The Underground Comedy Movie — also crappy) and started selling products at weekend flea markets.
He made enough to distribute his movie, but that turned out to be secondary. Offer found his calling. Infomercials. The format wasn’t new — the first one aired in the 1940s — but thanks to pitchmen like Offer and Billy Mays, the infomercial became a fixture of late night television.
How did he do it? How did he turn a rag and a kitchen utensil into a successful career?
With ridiculous passion. Offer manages to convey incredible excitement for the most basic products. Combined with the gift of gab, the ability to speak off the cuff, skill in connecting with his audience, and, of course, cheesy double entendres (“You’re gonna love my nuts”), he made you believe in the magic of mundane. And people bought it. They happily shelled out $19.95 — and sometimes got a free second set or a Graty as a bonus.
Offer is truly fascinating to watch. And while your products and services are certainly not in the crappy category, you can learn a few things from the pitchman. Excitement. Passion. Emotion. Connection. This is what people buy.
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