Slappin’ Your Troubles Away

ShamWow Vince and his trademark headset have returned, with higher production values and without those edits that remove more cola than the ShamWow does. Even though he’s tried to sell me a ShamWow hundreds of times now, I still can’t peel my eyes away from the screen each time that brilliant commercial comes on. Imagine the thrill I felt when I stumbled across Vince’s new commercial for the Slap Chop. I must have rewound and watched it at least a dozen times. Do they give out awards for this kind of stuff?

slapchopvinceAs with the ShamWow Vince works all the angles. His skill at product demonstration is undeniable. This time however, the Slap Chop’s features are almost beside the point. It’s a chopper and it’s handy. What works about this commercial is that builds on the qualities that make Vince great (attitude, bombastic mugging for the camera, humor and of course, the headset) while refining his technique and losing nothing of his original appeal.

While I don’t buy into the hyperbole that correcting my boring tuna (how did he know?!?) will lead to an exciting life, it does seem that the wiseguy Vince of the ShamWow ad is rapidly evolving. Vince put his toe right up to the line with the “you’re gonna love my nuts” joke, but it’s impact is softened by his goal of making “America skinny again, one slap at a time.”

The Slap Chop offers us our first glimpse of the wiseguy-philosopher. “Life’s hard enough as it is, you don’t want to cry anymore.” Not one to miss an opportunity, Vince is appropriately in tune with today’s tough times and he has exactly the product we need.

Billy Mays has jumped the shark, trying to sell everything from health insurance to hair dye (ok, I made that up).  If Billy and Vince were politicians, Billy would obviously be John McCain, representing the stale ideas of the past whereas Vince represents a bold new future, the Obama of TV pitchmen.

You know you’re arrived when you start inspiring parody. Here are but two examples.

When is Bill Hader going to do him on SNL?



Billy Mays look out!

Notwithstanding a childhood fascination with Mr. Microphone, I am seldom tempted to buy anything pitched to me on TV. Until recently that is. I have to admit that I am bowled over by the ShamWow.

It’s because of Vince Offer, Shamwow’s appropriately named pitchman. This guy has got to have Billy Mays crapping in his pants. Seriously, the kind of stain that would withstand even the combined power of Kaboom and Oxyclean. Vince can sell. He’s so engaging that I stop what I’m doing and watch him every time he’s on my TV.

Lanky, sporting a cheesy headset and bad haircut, my first thought was “what a mook.” He’s the douchebag who tried to sell me stolen speakers in the grocery store parking lot. But Vince quickly won me over with his sly, street-smart confidence. It’s like he’s letting you in on a secret.

Billy Mays, with his eerily neat brown beard practically screams at you, imploring you with earnestness to see the beauty of his product. Vince knows the angles, he makes the product sell itself. Yes, he’s a huckster and yeah, the ShamWow is probably a piece of junk. But now I feel like such a schmuck for throwing my money away on paper towels. Vince made me want a Shamwow by insinuating that I’m an idiot for believing I can live without one.