The Ultimate Sales Promoter

By: Matt Montgomery


As we begin to discuss the role of sales promotion in marketing this week, its only fitting that I mention one of the greatest sales promoters of all time; Billy Mays. Mays, a television direct-response salesmen, has gained a cult hero following among many television viewers in the United States and Canada for his high-energy, impassioned sales pitches and supple beard. Over his career he’s promoted a wide range of products including the Awesome Auger, the Big City Slider Station, Kaboom!, Might Putty, Orange Glo, and of course, the infamous OxiClean.

His commercials with OxiClean was the first thing that came to my mind when attempting to think of a sales promotion example. I’m sure nearly everyone has seen the imfamous OxiClean commercials, but its interesting to look back at the advertisement that started it all; circa 2001, here is the first ever OxiClean commercial:

Billy Mays’ incredible work aside, we see an incredibly high level of sales promotion going on in this ad. Lets take a look at all these deals:

  • $40 price tag cut to $19.95
  • Squirt bottle and Super Shammy for free
  • Free bottle of Orange Clean
  • Call in the next 20 minutes and upgrade your 2.5 lb tub of OxiClean for a 6 lb tub
  • ALL FOR JUST $19.95!!

These promotions are what separates the products on direct-response television to regular retail items. The promotions are all well and good, but do they actually work?

Well considering Billy Mays and his partner in crime Anthony Sullivan are responsible for $1 billion in sales for the products they promote, Id say yes:]

Part of this success in the direct-response sales industry is the current economic downturn. In tougher times, people are constantly looking for ways to save money and the sales promotions offered through many of the commercials headlined by Billy give people a chance to get the most bang for their buck.

Unfortunately the direct-response television industry lost one of its biggest money-makers with the untimely death of Billy in 2009. While he can no longer be the face of infomercials everywhere, Billy Mays leaves a legacy that will be tough to match by salesmen in the industry for years to come.

His incredible passion for sales promotion and savings will be missed.


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