Have you ever heard of Max Appel? Somehow I didn’t think so.Okay, so how about Billy Mays?Who is Billy Mays? He’s the breaded man who will sell you your grandma’s girdle for the amazingly low price of just $19.99. But wait! There’s more. If you call the number below right now, he’ll include a second girdle absolutely free. All you have to do is pay separate shipping and handling.Max Apple is the founder of OrangeGlo International. Max was sincerely convinced that his company manufactured some of the most revolutionary cleaning products ever produced. The problem was how to market these products. Sure he could try to convince Wal-mart and other store chains to carry his products. But would good would that do? If no one had ever heard of Oxiclean, house wives across America would reach right past it for a product they recognized.So Max did the only thing he could think to do. He took to spreading the word through home shows across America. During that effort, he chanced across Billy Mays (an unknown pitchman) at the 1993 Pittsburg Home Show. And the rest, as they say, is television history.Max recognized a raw talent in Billy. And thus was born the soon to be King of Direct Response Marketing.Billy debuted as the bearded pitch man for Oxiclean on the Home Shopping Network in 1996. OrangeGlo sales sky rocketed. In 1998 Billy’s infomercials for Oxiclean, OrangeGlo, Orange Clean and Kaboom pushed annual sales upwards of $12 million. By 2002, the company boasted an estimated $330 million in sales and was named among the top ten fasted growing privately owned companies in the U.S. by Inc. magazine for two years in a row.Billy’s pitch for OrangeGlo meant with such phenomenal results that the company was soon bought out by Church & Dwight Co. makers of products such as Xtra and Arm and Hammer laundry detergent, Nice’N Fluffy fabric softener, Arm and Hammer, Close-Up, and Aim toothpastes, Trojan condoms, and First Response and Answers home pregnancy and ovulation test kits.OrangeGlo products now enjoyed the prestige of sitting on super market selves across America along side the same products that would have erradicated its market share just a few years earlier. Wisely, Church & Dwight decided to retain Billy as the front man for their new product line. To date, Billy has sold over $500 million dollars worth of OrangeGlo products.Mays, now a mutli-millionaire, could have stop there. But, of course, he didn’t. Mays went on to become the CEO and founder of Mays Promotions Inc. based out of Odessa Florida. His services became highly sought after. He went on to pitch a plethora of “As Seen On TV” products until he screamed his way into becoming the reigning king of the two minute infomercial.In May 2008, Mays became the official spokesman for the first company offering affordable health insurance for the uninsured, iCan Benefit Group LLC. In December of 08, TV spots of Billy doing a parody of himself began airing promoting ESPN’s online service ESPN360.In February 2009, Billy Mays announced that Shamwow was a rip off of one of his pitch products, Zorbeez. Mays publicly challenged Vince Offer (of Shamwow fame) to a pitch off between the two products. Popular mechanics compared the two products on absorbency alone. Shamwow was declared the winner. No decision was rendered on personal sales pitch ability.On April 15, 2009, the TV series Pitchmen debuted on the Discovery Channel. Pitchmen is a reality based program costarring Billy Mays and former pitch rival Anthony Sullivan (Swivel Sweeper, Stick Up Bulb, Smart Chopper). The show’s premise is based on finding the next “Big” As Seen On TV product.The Pitchmen begin by allowing potential candidates for the next as seen on TV promotion to pitch their must have inventions. The pitchmen then analyze the product to determine if it meats the following criteria; Is there a problem? Will this product solve that problem? Is the solution of this problem significant enough to justify a consumer purchase to rectify the problem? And last, but by no means least, is there a WOW factor? Will this product make the purchaser wonder why he or she didn’t think of that as they pick up the phone and dial the 1-800 number?Pitchmen then takes you step by step through the process of bringing the next as seen on TV product to fruition. They cover the entire gambit, from market and cost analysis, to contract negotiation and the mass manufacturing of the product. You watch the bloopers and outtakes as the infomercial sharpened into a finely honed pitched designed to make you pull your credit card out of your wallet and pick up the phone. Then you see the results of the manned sales staff taking orders from a viewing public determined to solve a problem they didn’t even know existed just two minutes before.So, if you have invested virtually every moment of your spare time trying to solve a problem that nobody in America even knew they have, to the point of having no life, no husband or wife and no kids, there may still be hope.You could turn the channel on the TV and watch as Billy Mays says, “Billy Mays here for,” the product you mortgaged your house for in hopes of turning your dreams into a reality.
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